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MI5 and Alan Turing Institute unveil partnership


Mark Say Managing Editor

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MI5 and the Alan Turing Institute have gone public with an ongoing partnership to combine their expertise in using artificial intelligence to deal with national security challenges.

The security agency said it draws on new technologies to help mitigate threats and has unveiled the partnership to enable closer working with the institute and academic stakeholders.

Part of the collaboration supports MI5 in keeping abreast of state-of-the-art approaches in AI, that can be used to respond more flexibly and quickly to threats to UK national security. 

It ties in with the institute’s Defence and Security Programme – which also involves the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Joint Forces Command and GCHQ – which includes the application of AI ethics in defence and security projects.

The agency already uses the technology for purposes such as identifying dangerous weapons.

Vital capability

Ken McCallum, director general of MI5, said: “The UK faces a broader and more complex range of threats, with the clues hidden in ever more fragmented data. MI5 has a long and proud history of innovation and use of cutting edge technology in an ethical way; artificial intelligence is another example of that and a vital capability in MI5’s toolkit. 

“By working with the Alan Turing Institute, MI5 can draw on world leading expertise to ensure our use of AI keeps pace with the challenges we face, and enables us to keep the country safe.”

Sir Adrian Smith, director of the Alan Turing Institute, commented: “AI offers new ways to analyse increasing volumes of fragmented and complex data, providing new insights about that data and improving analytical processes. 

“And so we’re delighted to announce this important partnership today with MI5 which will help our organisations work together more closely and ensure AI and data science continues to play an important part in national defence and security.”

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