Major funding for flagship research project on AI in law enforcement

Major funding for flagship research project on AI in law enforcement

An Aberdeen academic is part of a UK-wide research team which has received major funding from Responsible AI UK (RAI UK) to investigate the future use of probabilistic AI in law enforcement.

The Northumbria University-led multi-disciplinary project will see Dr Elizabeth Tiarks, lecturer in the School of Law, join colleagues from Glasgow, Northampton, Leicester and Cambridge universities, alongside a number of law enforcement, commercial technology, third-sector and academic partners.

Entitled PROBabLE Futures – Probabilistic AI Systems in Law Enforcement Futures, the four year initiative is one of only three RAI UK Keystone projects and has secured funding of £3.4 million (80% FEC).

Dr Tiarks said: "Our multi-disciplinary project will explore probabilistic AI in law enforcement, considering both the benefits to law enforcement bodies and also concerns about decision-making based on probabilistic AI and the potential cumulative effects of multiple AI systems feeding into each other.

“I will be contributing my practice experience as a criminal barrister and my research expertise in AI in criminal justice and predictive tools used in sentencing."

PROBabLE Futures was one of a series of breakthrough AI projects awarded a share of £12 million to address the challenges of the rapid advances in artificial intelligence. The projects cover the health and social care sectors, law enforcement and financial services.

Funding has been awarded by Responsible AI UK (RAi UK) and form the pillars of its £31million programme that will run for four years. RAi UK is led from the University of Southampton and backed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through the UKRI Technology Missions Fund and EPSRC. UKRI has also committed an additional £4m of funding to further support these initiatives.

Professor Gopal Ramchurn, CEO of RAi UK, said the projects are multi-disciplinary and bring together computer and social scientists, alongside other specialists.

He added: “These projects are the keystones of the Responsible AI UK programme and have been chosen because they address the most pressing challenges that society faces with the rapid advances in AI.

“The projects will deliver interdisciplinary research that looks to address the complex socio-technical challenges that already exist or are emerging with the use of generative AI and other forms of AI deployed in the real-world.

“The concerns around AI are not just for governments and industry to deal with – it is important that AI experts engage with researchers and policymakers to ensure we can better anticipate the issues that will be caused by AI.”

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