Understanding the potential and promoting accountability
Law enforcement, academia, private sector and security specialists from across the globe gathered this week in Singapore to take stock of the future of security and policing challenges at the third biennial INTERPOL World. On the margins of this three-day event, the UNICRI Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics and the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation convened the 2nd Global Meeting on Artificial Intelligence for Law Enforcement from 2-4 July.
During the meeting, participants dived deep into four AI technology domains examining their relevance for law enforcement. These were: audio processing to, e.g., detect the unique harmonic patterns in voices and build models of skeletal structures and approximate height and weight of suspects via communication devices; visual processing to, e.g., detect and identify listed faces in crowded spaces; resource optimisation to, e.g., support decision makers with planning and scheduling optimal patrol routes for police; and natural language processing to, e.g., detect and extract information from texted-based or visual evidence/intelligence.
The ethical, legal and social implications of the use of AI by law enforcement were also discussed as a central theme of the meeting, with the importance of concepts such as fairness, accountability, transparency and explainability being underlined on several occasions. It was seen that social acceptance by the public is essential and that, if not lawful and trustworthy, the use of AI by law enforcement can very much undermine the fundamental principles of law, such as the presumption of innocence, privilege against self-incrimination, and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Irakli Beridze, Head of the UNICRI Centre for AI and Robotics, observed that, since the 1st Global Meeting in Singapore last July, “a lot of progress has been made with respect to AI and law enforcement. We have noticed an increase in law enforcement’s interest in AI, with a number of States exploring promising new concepts through pilot projects, as well as a maturity with which these agencies are approaching the inherent ethical, legal and social challenges that go with its use as well as an openness to collaboration.”
During the meeting, UNICRI and INTERPOL jointly announced that following the feedback received from law enforcement, they will explore the development of a set of guiding principles for the use of AI by law enforcement. The development of these guiding principles will feature prominently during the 3rd Global on AI for Law Enforcement, which will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands, in the Summer of 2020.