We’ve seen in a lot of cop dramas how the protagonists solve crimes with the help of an advanced computer, complete with an array of several monitors, and an AI that collects and analyzes different pieces of evidence. What was science fiction may soon become science fact.

A team of computer scientists led by Eduardo Fidalgo in the University of Leon in Spain are developing an AI that can sift through thousands of pieces of evidence, then look for clues that could catch criminals. Evidence-gathering at a crime scene is no easy task, as the officers at the scene are often flooded with visual information. Fidalgo’s prototype AI can help investigators collate the data, and find links with past offenses to any of the suspects. The AI can also find clues that investigators may otherwise miss. This AI is expected to be used by Spanish police on a trial basis soon.

Meanwhile in the US, over 200 law enforcement agencies are now using an AI algorithm developed by researchers at the University of Southern California. Its primary function is to search the internet for clues on human trafficking and the sex trade, in both the “open” internet and the “deep web”. The algorithm so far has been very successful and pored through a mind-boggling 25 million pages. The US Department of Defense is currently experimenting with using the AI for investigating other crimes, such as illegal weapons sales, counterfeiting and illegal drugs.

Image of the “supercomputer” from the defunct TV show CSI: Cyber. Law enforcement agencies may not have something as impressive-looking as this, but the different AI employed by them is a step in advancing the fight against crime (CBS.com/shows/csi-cyber/photos/1003551/on-the-set-of-csi-cyber/75883/on-the-set-of-csi-cyber/).

Several other countries have actually harnessed AI in tackling crimes, and unbeknownst to their citizens (and their criminals), it’s helped make their communities a lot safer. The AI just doesn’t look as “cool” as what you’d see in episodes of CSI; the tools are usually a hodgepodge of different bulky laptops or desktops and servers networked together. To find out other ways AI has been fighting crime in other countries, you can read the full story here: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190228-how-ai-is-helping-to-fight-crime

Do you think we’ll have cooler-looking AI tools for crimefighting in the future? Let us know your thoughts!

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