January 16, 2019

With the opening of the National Police Lab AI, the National Police Corps, Utrecht University, and the University of Amsterdam will soon begin collaborating in the field of artificial intelligence. The lab is the ideal facility for young scientists to conduct research into ways that artificial intelligence can support police work over the coming years. The official opening will be held at Utrecht University on 16 January.

Processing online police reports and analysing hours of image recordings in just a few seconds: these are just two examples of possible police applications of artificial intelligence. The long-term collaboration as part of the National Police Lab AI will ensure that police officers will be able to rely on the most state-of-the-art technology in the field of artificial intelligence for years to come. “Artificial intelligence will enhance our operational effectiveness”, says Theo van der Plas, Programme Director for Digitalisation and Cybercrime. “The increase in the amount of data available in society, and the rapid pace of technological developments, will have an enormous impact on police work. With this collaboration, we will have the knowledge necessary to respond to these changes in-house.”

The scientists involved in the lab will focus on applications of artificial intelligence that can automate time-consuming police work and support difficult tasks. “For example, in Utrecht we are developing a chatbot that will be able to talk to people submitting a police report online”, explains Floris Bex, member of the Scientific Directorate of the National Police Lab AI. “The chatbot will know exactly what questions need to be asked in order to process the report successfully.”

At the University of Amsterdam, the research focus will lie on finding relevant information in massive amounts of data. Computer programmes are much better at recognising underlying patterns than humans are. “That means investigators won’t have to watch hours of video recordings to look for incriminating evidence”, Bex adds. “With the help of artificial intelligence, we’ll be able to look for specific evidence quickly. It’s great to see how the research we conduct can be applied directly to police work.”

In total, four researchers at Utrecht University will start on their research at the lab, and three PhD candidates have already begun work at the University of Amsterdam. All of the candidates have an academic background in the field of artificial intelligence, and most are also employed by the National Police Corps.

The National Police Lab AI is part of the Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI). The ICAI is a national network of knowledge institutions, industry parties, and government agencies focused on developing technology and talent in the field of artificial intelligence. For more information, see: www.icai.ai and www.icai.ai/police-lab-ai/.


Source: Utrecht University