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Britain Launches Artificial Intelligence Project to Prevent ISIS Videos From Being Uploaded

man in hoodie on laptop

Britain's Home Office is launching a program to detect Islamic State (ISIS) videos before they are even uploaded to the Internet. Developers funded by the Home Office have announced they will share the software with any website or app in the world to put a stranglehold on the terror group's ability to radicalize fighters and inspire attacks through online videos.

As ISIS loses the last vestiges of territory in the Middle East, its Internet campaigns pose the greatest threat to countries across the world. So-called "lone wolf" terrorists (often truly "known wolves" on the radar of crime-fighting agencies) inspired by the Islamic State often carry out attacks involving every-day weapons like trucks.

ISIS's Internet output decreased in October, November, and December – as battles drove militants from key strongholds in the Middle East – but has since recovered to former levels.

"Lone-wolf attacks are hard to spot with conventional surveillance — it is a difficult problem if someone is radicalised in their bedroom," Marc Warner, chief executive of ASI Data Science, told the UK publication The Independent. "The way to fight that is to cut the propaganda off at the source."

Warner argued that "we need to prevent all these horrible videos ever getting to the sort of people who can be influenced by them." His organization aims to help in the process of "removing extremist content from the web."

Online or "remote" radicalization has sparked a record number of terror arrests in Britain, a phenomenon which has reportedly made threats "acutely difficult to spot." It wasn't just the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester last May — there have been no fewer than 17 major ISIS-related terror attacks in the West in the past year, with high body counts in London (twice) and New York City.

ISIS propaganda videos have also been linked to the radicalization of more than 800 men, women, and children who left Britain to fight for the Islamic State in the Middle East. The artificial intelligence program would help combat this.

ASI has analyzed more than 1,300 videos released by ISIS, going back to 2014. This analysis yielded "subtle signals" which can help identify new ISIS videos before they are published. The company has used artificial intelligence to develop a program to identify these videos without a human doing all the work.

The "advanced machine learning" system uses artificial intelligence to identify such propaganda. The project promises to avoid YouTube's broad-brush efforts to prevent ISIS videos from disseminating on the platform. The tool can be integrated with the upload process of any video platform, empowering smaller video companies to remove harmful content the way richer companies like Facebook and YouTube do.