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UKRI backs AI project in law enforcement


Mark Say Managing Editor

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A project using AI in law enforcement has won a £3.5 million share of a new round of funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under its Responsible AI UK programme.

The agency, which provides support for researchers and businesses, said the initiatives are among those to receive shares of £12 million to address the challenges of rapid advances in AI.

They include the PROBabLE Futures project, which has received nearly £3.5 million to support its work on the uncertainties of using AI in law enforcement.

Its lead, Professor Marion Oswald from Northumbria University, said that AI can help police and courts tackle an overload of digital data and unknown risks and increase efficiencies.

She added: “The key problem is that AI tools take inputs from one part of the law enforcement system but their outputs have real world, possibly life changing, effects in another part – a miscarriage of justice is only a matter of time.

“Our project works alongside law enforcement and partners to develop a framework that understands the implications of uncertainty and builds confidence in future probabilistic AI, with the interests of justice and responsibility at its heart.”

Auditing and methodologies

Another £3.5 million has been awarded to the University of Glasgow for the Participatory Harm Auditing Workbenches and Methodologies project.

According to principle investigator Dr Simone Stumpf, its aim is to maximise the potential benefits of predictive and generative AI while minimising potential for harm arising from bias and ‘hallucinations’, where AI tools present false or invented information as fact.

She added: “Our project will put auditing power back in the hands of people who best understand the potential impact in the four fields these AI systems are operating in.

“By the project’s conclusion, we will have developed a fully featured workbench of tools to enable people without a background in artificial intelligence to participate in audits, make informed decisions, and shape the next generation of AI.”

Other projects to win support include looking at how AI can help drive productivity, how public voices can be amplified in the design and deployment of the technology, and on incentivising the take-up of responsible AI through business models and regulatory frameworks.

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