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UK unveils machine learning technology to fight ISIS propaganda online

Key Points
  • Tool can detect 94 percent of ISIS propaganda, with 99.995 percent accuracy.
  • U.K. Home Secretary is visiting Silicon Valley, where she will meet with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.
Alex Maxim | All Canada Photos | Getty Images

The U.K. government has released details of a tool that it says can automatically detect terrorist content on any online platform with incredible accuracy.

Developed by the U.K. Home Office and artificial intelligence firm ASI Data Science, the innovative technology uses "advanced machine learning" to analyze both the visuals and audio of a video. This enables it to decide whether the content could be propaganda for the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

The government said that tests had shown that the tool was able to automatically detect 94 percent of ISIS propaganda, with an accuracy of 99.995 percent.

If 1 million videos are analyzed, just 50 will need additional review from a human pair of eyes. Any platform can use the technology and it can be added to the upload process, which means that the propaganda can be weeded out before it even appears on the internet.

"The purpose of these videos is to incite violence in our communities, recruit people to their cause, and attempt to spread fear in our society," the U.K.'s Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Tuesday in statement. "We know that automatic technology like this can heavily disrupt the terrorists' actions, as well as prevent people from ever being exposed to these horrific images."

Rudd is visiting Silicon Valley where she will meet with communication service providers to discuss the issue of tackling terrorist content on the web. She will also meet with Kirstjen Nielsen, the U.S. secretary of homeland security, as well as the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.

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