AI IN FORENSIC SCIENCE: 5 Ways in Which AI is a Success in Criminal Investigation

Fingerprints and evidences. Crimes and investigations. Magnifying glasses and test reports. Detectives and forensic experts. Sidney Sheldon and Goodfellas and Catch Me If You Can…you get the point. We’re definitely referring to crime thrillers and all the paraphernalia we can associate this genre with.

Think about the last time you heard or read about a criminal investigation being carried out. Was it only the cops or the CBI or any such equivalent investigation body typically dealing with the entire case? While it is often people from these domains who ostensibly handle such investigations, another very prominent branch is the forensic department. Whether it’s matching fingerprints, conducting postmortem or producing forensic reports, this department does it all. With rapid technical advancement in all the fields, particularly in the domain of investigation and forensic science, Artificial Intelligence has successfully made its grand entry into this domain as well! How is AI being implemented in the field of forensic science?
Last time, we spoke to you about the role of RPA in law. Well, we’re back with a blog; and today, let’s have a look at the role of AI in forensics:

1.  INVESTIGATION IS FUN, BUT CAN WE SAY THE SAME ABOUT CONSOLIDATING DATA?

Forensic investigation involves extensive research collecting of evidence from different sources and then consolidating the same in order to arrive at logical conclusions. While the process of vigilantly deriving such data from ‘mysterious’ sources can certainly be a productive and interesting job, handling large chunks of data can often be confusing and chaotic. AI can help forensic experts with handling data effectively and performing meta-analysis at various levels during the investigation. This can save a considerable amount of time and also ensure that forensic investigators have enough time and inclination to work on other important tasks!

2. OKAY…BUT WILL AI ALSO ENSURE THAT ALL THIS DATA IS ACCESSIBLE? YES!

AI understands that it’s not sufficient to merely collect and analyse information. The collected data must also be easily accessible to the concerned parties, so that it may be retrieved at any point of time when it’s required. And so, AI technology can be effectively applied to prepare repositories of data. It can be systematically stored in your systems and retrieved as and when required.

3. “EVENTUALLY, EVERYTHING CONNECTS…” AND AI CAN HELP YOU RECOGNIZE THESE PATTERNS!

“Eventually, everything connects…” is a statement by Charles Eames. And as an investigator, it is important to recognize these intricate connections. This helps one to connect two and two together and complete the whole picture. However, a lot of times, patterns can be very specific and complex and thus difficult to keep track of. This is why investigators often take the help of modern technology to recognize such patterns. AI technology can help with patterns such as identifying different elements of one image; detecting patterns in emails and messages; and matching new information with different types of existing data in the system databases. It can also help with matching suspect information with the existing criminal records and intimating investigators of any previous criminal activity that the concerned suspect may have been involved in.

4. “BUT…WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE?” ASKED EVERY INVESTIGATOR EVER.

Yes, we’re talking evidence – the most crucial aspect of every criminal investigation. Without sufficient evidence, every hypothesis and argument may be rightly negated, however relevant or evident it may intuitively appear. And AI technology can contribute significantly to the investigator’s constant quest for evidence. For example, it can produce case stories and graphics of hypothetical scenarios which can help investigators analyze the given premise in the right direction. Moreover, the various statistical tools offered by AI help to formulate logical evidences that aid successful investigations of criminal cases.

5. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT GATHERING AND STORING DATA…AI CAN BE QUITE AN ANALYST, TOO!

We know that non-AI computational techniques also exist in analyzing information. However, these methods may often not cater to large volumes of data. And that’s where AI technology steps in. Artificial Intelligence can help investigators analyze large chunks of data by applying statistical and probability-based principles. Here’s where data mining comes in handy. This process involves the discovery of patterns in data with the help of machine learning and statistical tools. Data mining can be of considerable assistance to the crime branch.

So there! That was our list of contributions that AI can make to the field of forensic science and criminal investigation. Criminology and forensics is not only about applying various techniques and analyzing evidences to reach logical inferences – it also involves intuition, keen observation skills and sensitivity. And technology is a poor substitute when it comes to these typically human qualities. So, as long as criminal investigation exists, humans will be extensively required in this challenging field. Let us leave you with a quote from “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”, a story from the renowned Sherlock Holmes collection:

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

SOURCES:

  1. News-Medical
  2. SAS-Space

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE VS. HUMAN INTELLIGENCE: THE BASIC DIFFERENCES

“The entire effort of artificial intelligence is essentially a fight against computers’ rigidity,” says Douglas Hofstadter.

“Hi, Alexa!” you say on a busy morning. And in the next few minutes, you are thanking the voice behind that device, which has performed some significant tasks for you.
You have an arm injury, but want to travel in the comfort of your vehicle. Your fully-automated car drops you to your workplace with zero efforts on your part.

Welcome to the magical world of AI! In this hastily transforming world of constant hustle-bustle, imperfection and time-lapse is frowned upon, and constant movement encouraged. While perfection is a utopian concept for humans, and cannot be expected of mere mortals, this and more is certainly being achieved by our very own Frankenstein’s monsters – Artificial Intelligence. Over the past few years, AI has taken unbelievable precedence over various walks of our lives; from education and industries to household and hospitality. While OK Google, Siri and Alexa compete to provide you best-quality services (and some ROFL moments too!), hotel industries are now making use of robots to take orders and deliver food.
But does the advent of AI threaten human intellect and agility in any way? Is the world becoming dangerously dependent on an external force? And have we worked so hard to build these artificial devices just so that we stop working?
We are back with a blog, to discuss the basic points of difference between our AI Frankenstein monsters and us:

1. “To err is human…” – in the truest sense
And that’s because AI cannot err. Of course, unless the human creating it may have committed an error. Artificial Intelligence is capable of performing even the most complex of tasks and algorithms with perfect ease and efficiency. Your AI does not recognize Monday Blues or Sunday offs. Or snoozing off at the traffic signal while driving.

2. “To be or not to be…” Ask AI!
Not only that, AI is also being used to predict future instances using the information available in the present. This feature of AI is being widely used in different domains; including data analytics, lead ranking and face recognition. These predictions often allow humans to take important decisions that can ensure a better future for the industry. Such predictions, if left to humans, may require them to invest a high amount of time and effort. But sometimes, it is also important to take those “emotional decisions” and make abstract considerations, which is clearly not AI’s forte.

3. Sorry. The creative juices don’t flow here.
OK Google might probably recite you a poignant poetry or two every once in a while, but that’s about it. It’s “inhuman” to expect human emotions and feelings out of AI. And that’s the reason one cannot instruct AI to come up with creative marketing strategies or out-of-the-box ideas.

4. All outcomes are created equal.
AI provides exactly the same treatment to every outcome of an activity, regardless of the number of times it has been instructed to carry it out. With humans, consistency (or the lack of it) can prove to be a major challenge, since not only two humans performing the same task, but even the same human carrying it out at different times, can produce remarkably different results.

5. Slow down, dear human….
The human-mind is an ocean, consisting of a huge reservoir of thoughts, emotions, feelings, sentiments…and all sorts of quirkiness, too. We are forever on our toes, trying to take leaps from one point to the other; and in the process, getting done a hoard of tasks all at once. But that’s not how AI works. Your AI tool cannot handle all your multitasking. The con – you have to be patient with it. The pro – the quality of work is never compromised for quantity.

6. Old is gold for AI
While you may be adventurous, outgoing and open to new experiences, AI is not easily adaptable to new changes, and takes quite some time to get accustomed to them.

7. Man is a social animal, but AI is not.
Humans have been surviving and thriving in a highly interactive, collaborative and communicative civilization. Unfortunately, AI is very new to this world, as still finds it a struggle to adapt to new and challenging social scenarios. For AI, the programmed information serves as the ultimate truth, and thinking beyond these boundaries of human programming is not its cup of tea.

At the end of the day, more than comparing human-intelligence with AI, it is important to realize that while AI consists simply of high IQ, human intelligence is a smart blend of IQ as well as EQ. So your AI can do wonders when it comes to rule-based tasks that do not require abstract thinking, but cannot handle tears and heartbeats. Hey, that’s probably why AI is also being used to do some risky tasks that humans cannot perform due to emotional and mental vulnerability. Food for thought!

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