UK Unveils AI-Driven Tool To Block Extremist Content
The UK government has unveiled an artificial intelligence tool, which it claims can recognise jihadist content with 99.995% accuracy.
During a visit to the USA to visit technology companies, the UK home secretary, Amber Rudd, has unveiled a new piece of software which is claimed can recognise and block access to extremist content posted by jihadists and terrorist groups.
Created by ASI Data Science in partnership with the Home Office, the software uses algorithms to ‘learn’ how typical extremist content looks and behaves. The company used thousands of hours of existing material, posted by Daesh, or the so-called Islamic State group, to help train the software to automatically block extremist content.
The company claims their new tool can detect 94% of the group’s online activity, with a 99.995% accuracy. Anything the software is unsure of is then flagged for further inspection by a human operator.
A Global Problem
Technology giants such as Google and Facebook are already devoting a huge amount of resources to dealing with this issue, with many of them having created similar tools for their own use. However, they have yet to find a solution that the governments of the world are happy with.
In 2017 the world’s biggest technology companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Google and YouTube, along with governments around the world and the United Nations, created the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. The forum is “committed to working on technological solutions to help thwart terrorists’ use of our services.”
Legislation if Necessary
The UK government provided £600,000 of funding towards the creation of this new tool, which is aimed at small businesses, which do not have the resource to deal with extremist material being posted or shared on their site.
The government has stated it would like businesses to adopt the new tool voluntarily, those companies may be required to use this service at some point in the future, as the government has said that it will introduce legislation if necessary to make the tool compulsory.
An Industry-Led Forum.
The Home Secretary told the BBC that the service was created as a demonstration that the government’s demands to block extremist content were not unreasonable.
“It’s a very convincing example of the fact that you can have the information you need to make sure this material doesn’t go online in the first place. The technology is there. There are tools out there that can do exactly what we’re asking for. For smaller companies, this could be ideal.”
“We’re not going to rule out taking legislative action if we need to do it. But I remain convinced that the best way to take real action, to have the best outcomes, is to have an industry-led forum like the one we’ve got.”
Staying One Step Ahead
The tool may be a valuable addition for companies which have problems monitoring and moderating user content, but the wider problem is finding the services, channels and platforms that the jihadis will use. According to the BBC, Home Office, between July and December 2017 extremist material appeared on an estimated 150 web sites and services which had not been used before.