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The UK government had its own AI built to block extremist video

February 13, 2018

New software, intended for use by small tech firms, can pick out ISIS propaganda with reasonable accuracy.

The news: Developed by London-based data science firm ASI on behalf of the British government, the $800,000 AI is trained on thousands of hours of video to spot extremist content. It can identify 94 percent of ISIS propaganda with 99.99 percent accuracy, and is designed to be used to block the upload of such material.

Who it's for: It will be offered to small tech firms that can’t afford to develop such systems. The likes of Facebook and YouTube already have similar algorithms, though the British government has been critical of how widely and quickly they have been put to use by tech giants.

AI by law? The UK’s home secretary tells the BBC that use of the new AI could potentially become a legal requirement.

But: Because the AI is trained on historical data, extremists will likely be able to develop new ways to circumvent its watchful eye.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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