Photo: University of Amsterdam website.
Algorithms can support forensic experts. For example in speaker recognition, facial comparisons, and in tracing criminal money flows. In the AI4forensics lab that opened last week, four PhD students and a postdoc conduct research into artificial intelligence for forensics. The lab is a collaboration between the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) and is located in the ICAI - Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence in Amsterdam.
The research lab AI4forensics focuses on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in forensic evidence and is therefore unique in its kind in the Netherlands. 'In five years' time we will apply AI even more than now', says Prof. Zeno Geradts. As a forensic researcher at the NFI and professor by special appointment of Forensic Data Science at the UvA, Geradts is one of the initiators of the lab. 'AI will radically change the forensic research field in the coming years,' he expects. 'It can be used objectively and we can achieve significant efficiency gains with it. More and more AI is needed to process the growing amounts of data. With these large amounts of data we will hopefully be able to predict crimes and even prevent crimes.'
Four PhD students and a postdoc will work in the new lab. One PhD candidate focuses on speaker recognition. Another PhD candidate and the postdoc work on the development of computer models for recognizing hidden messages in photos or videos and for recognizing deepfakes,respectively.
The third PhD candidate works in the field of Data2Activity and is investigating whether the sensors in mobile phones and smartwatches (such as those that detect movement) can be used to find out what someone has done. The fourth PhD student will focus on AI for, among other things, recognizing money laundering patterns.
According to Marcel Worring, professor of Multimedia Analytics at the UvA, the lab is an important milestone for the field of AI for forensics. 'With four PhD students and a postdoc, we now have the capacity to conduct research continuously. This is done on the basis of a joint research agenda for the coming years. Until now, there was always uncertainty around our research activities in this field and we had no structural basis to plan ahead. Now, we do have a solid base, and it was much needed. The research of the NFI and the UvA complement each other very well, and by bringing together theory and practice, our lab can lead to innovative solutions.'
Dr. Annemieke de Vries, Director of Science and Technology at the NFI: 'We expect a lot from the application of AI in forensic practice, such as recognizing patterns between cases. Collaboration with universities is necessary specifically for technologies such as AI, because these developments are moving at lightning speed and we have to bring innovation initiatives together if we do not want to play catch up to the facts. As the NFI, we will therefore have to make smart choices about where to put the focus of our innovations, in order to continue to develop forensic investigation at the NFI and to be ready in time for applications in the forensic chain. The new AI4forensics lab and the intensification of the collaboration with Marcel Worring's research group at the UvA will certainly help us with that!'
This article was first published on 13 March by University of Amsterdam.