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Police Use Of AI In Probes, Call Screens Expands Despite Concerns

The Humberside Police in England have tested testing an artificial intelligence emergency call software. The AI, provided by UK start-up Untrite AI, is designed to make dealing with the thousands of calls received each day more efficient. "We set out to build an assistant for operators to make their jobs slightly easier, because it is a high stress and time-sensitive environment," says Kamila Hankiewic of Untrite, reports the BBC. She says, "The AI model analyses a lot of the information, the transcript and the audio of the call, and produces a triaging score, which could be low, medium or high. A high score means that there has to be a police officer at the scene within five or 10 minutes." Untrite says the trial suggests that the software could save operators nearly a third of their time, both during and after each call. Other tech companies also now offering AI-powered emergency calls software systems include U.S.businesses Corti and Carbyne.

AI has the potential to transform the way the police investigate crimes. It can identify patterns and links in evidence, and sift through vast amounts of data far more quickly than any human. Still, there have been many reports about AI-powered facial recognition software failing to accurately identify black faces. Some cities, such as San Francisco and Seattle, have banned the use of the technology. Yet it is increasingly being used by police forces on both sides of the Atlantic. Albert Cahn of the group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP), says, "We've seen a massive investment in, and use of, facial recognition despite evidence that it discriminates against black, Latino and Asian individuals, particularly black women." Such technology can be used in three main ways: live facial recognition, which compares a live camera feed of faces against a predetermined watchlist, retrospective facial recognition, which compares still images of faces against an image database, and operator-initiated facial recognition, in which an officer takes a photograph of a suspect, and submits it for a search against an image database.


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