January 5, 2022

The Future of Policing is AI

By Bridget Minner

perspective view of 3d illustration with graphic digital touch interface software elements showing the process of generating artificial synthetic fingerprint for identity

What is AI in policing?

In the modern world, technology makes industry go round. As society continues to find new ways to harness the power of technology to optimize output, buzzwords like AI have taken center stage. However, AI is proving to be far more than a buzzword. In fact, its here to stay. What is it, though?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) involves leveraging the power of machines to perform tasks that are normally performed by humans. While AI is widely used as a means of improving efficiency in many industries today, its still relatively new to the law enforcement space.

How is AI used?

AI is an integral part of many law enforcement technologies. A few popular technologies include:

  • Cameras
    Modern cameras have increasingly advanced capabilities. One such capability is object identification, or the ability to detect special objects or activities happening on camera. Examples include guns, car crashes, and more. Officers can’t be everywhere at once, but AI makes it possible to have 24/7 intel all around town.
  • Facial Recognition
    Facial recognition Technology is a major asset to officers when the need to identify a criminal on the move arises. Low resolution surveillance footage can make it difficult to see details. This is where facial recognition software does the trick, as it saves you from extensive image analysis thanks to advanced algorithms designed to detect even the slightest of details.
  • Predictive Policing Systems
    Predictive policing systems offer the ability to predict crimes, who might commit them, and where they will happen. While many consider this type of technology controversial, we can expect to see predictive policing systems grow in prevalence in the coming years.
  • Robots
    As futuristic as it may seem, police departments around the globe are beginning to utilize robots out in the field. In fact, Dubai recently developed its first robotic police officer! While we won’t likely see an influx in robot police officers anytime soon, police departments are discovering ways to use robot technology to respond in the riskiest situations imaginable (i.e. bombs, active shootings, etc.).

Benefits of AI

It is widely believed that the application of AI in policing has the ability to reduce crime rates by creating a more efficient and effective police force. Humans have limitations. No matter what industry you serve, AI has the ability to surpass these limitations thereby granting humans intelligence that wouldn’t be attainable otherwise.

There is still plenty of research to be conducted on the effects of AI technologies on policing. Critics have raised questions regarding ethics and personal data usage while others believe the benefits have the potential to outweigh the risks. As with the use of any technology, research, testing, and community buy-in will be essential for police departments that put AI technologies to use.