The world’s biggest police organization is now officially delving into artificial intelligence and robotics.
The technologies were on display at the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation this week, during a two day event organized by the INTERPOL Innovation Centre and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute. The two-day event featured about 50 participants law enforcement, academia, and the private sector, and entailed discussions on how police agencies could use AI for a range of applications including virtual autopsies, resource optimization, autonomous patrol cars, and more. They even delved into distributed ledger technology, with respect to “blockchain-based traceability approaches that respect privacy,” according to a statement from INTERPOL.
The event also saw live demos of technologies including facial recognition, which is increasingly used by police around the world as a surveillance tool. This application in particularly has generated some heated controversy in the US and the UK in recent months; accordingly, INTERPOL’s event included discussions of “ethical challenges such innovations could present to police, such as ensuring AI is fair, explainable and transparent and balancing the need for security with the right to privacy.” INTERPOL says participants called for a follow-up meeting to focus on these issues.
It isn’t yet clear when that meeting will take place or which organizations it will involve, but as privacy advocates continue to resist government implementations of AI-driven technologies such as facial recognition, it will be in INTERPOL’s and its members’ interest to try to assuage ethical and privacy concerns. In the meantime, INTERPOL has organized another tech-focused forum for August, this time focused specifically on drones and how they can be understood as “a tool, a threat and a source of evidence.”