On Tuesday 13th February 2018, in what appears to be welcome news in Britain, the UK Home Secretary has unveiled an artificial intelligence tool designed to identify extremist material and flag it for removal. The tool is significant because of its success rates. During trials it detected 94% of extremist material and provided only 0.005% false positives, which has been the failing of previous similar products. ASI Data Science, the creators of the software, developed the product with £600,000 of government funding, and the product is being shown to social media giants in Silicon Valley today.

While this announcement may seem like an important step in the fight against extremist content online, this product is just one of a raft of tools being developed by big and small businesses alike.  The ASI Data Science tool is not designed to be used by the likes of Facebook or Twitter, but for smaller firms who face the challenge of sorting through mass data sets in their work. The giant social media firms are currently developing their own tools to conduct automated flagging on their own platforms. Despite positive progress, the solution to blocking extremist content is far from clear at this stage.

Today’s announcement indicates yet another example of how AI is having an increasing impact on our lives. As we fill our homes and offices with more and more internet-connected devices, we ourselves become part of this connected system. Tasks that until recently could only be completed by the human brain are now performed quicker, cheaper, and some would say ‘better’, by computers. A few weeks ago, Sundar Pichai, CEO at Google, stated he believes AI could have “more profound” implications for humanity than electricity or fire. Going on to say that humans needed to learn to harness its benefits in the same way we did fire and electricity. Commenting on a continual public scepticism on the topic:

“It’s fair to be worried about it—I wouldn’t say we’re just being optimistic about it— we want to be thoughtful about it. AI holds the potential for some of the biggest advances we’re going to see.

“Whenever I see the news of a young person dying of cancer, you realize AI is going to play a role in solving that in the future. So I think we owe it to make progress too.”

Whatever the future of technology may hold for us, it is fair to say that AI will become an increasing topic of conversation and so too will security of AI technologies. At Marclay, we keep up to date with developments and advise clients regularly on how to embrace AI in their daily lives without compromising their personal security or privacy.

Feel free to get in touch if you need advice or support on this or any other security issue. You can reach us at any time at info@marclay.co.uk or by calling us on +44(0) 2030 393 394