Combating terrorism through artificial intelligence
Terrorists from across the borders entering India are often exploiting weaknesses in border infrastructure and use technology and cyberspace to create technology to propagate their thinking.crimes. And are continuously supported from beyond the Indian borders, primarily misusing modern technology for funding or Command and Control purposes.
Prevention of violent extremism in India is an important and necessary requirement for the country. Such efforts need multi-dimensional coordination between Armed Forces and various National law enforcement agencies.
Today’s asymmetric warfare requires newer tools and techniques to keep pace with the changing times. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is evolving as a very effective and well-established technique in counter-terrorism and is the way ahead for Indian Armed Forces to undertake ‘predictive counter-terrorism’ measures so as to prevent violent extremism in hotbeds of terrorism like Northern Command of Army.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
Broadly, AI refers to the Information Systems capable of performing tasks that resemble human problem-solving abilities, use computer algorithms or rule-sets to do things that would normally require human intelligence.
“AI is a tool that carries out functionalities encoded in them, which are inherited from the intelligence of their human programmers. However, with the correct set of data, these AI engines can be trained to learn to identify patterns and information which may be humanly impossible, especially while working with huge digital database moving at a high data rate,” Milind Kulshreshtha, C4I expert says.
AI and Counter-Terrorism
For India, terrorism is no new entity and the Nation is familiar with violent activities throughout. It is well established that the terrorists, along with those who inspire them, represents a major transnational challenge, with detection and disruption of such groups always being a priority. The dynamic means of terror financing is one of the key factors in the proliferation of anti-social activities. Along with the changing times, terrorism and its connectivity too has become highly digital and are benefitting from cyber-crime networks.
The use of various AI techniques such as Facial Recognition, Artificial Neural Networks and Social Network Analysis are some of the popular tools. “An Artificial Neural Network (ANN) with a feed-forward back propagation network has been found to establish with a high degree of certainty various deceptive behaviour patterns. Such tools in hands of investigator support system would be valuable in the identification of terrorists. A Social Network Analysis tool is particularly suitable for analyzing terrorist networks since they take relationships into account, rather than only attributes, which are otherwise difficult to obtain for covert networks. Dark-web based investigations are of main interest here, apart from analysis of social media platforms like Facebook, Blogs, Twitter etc,” explains Kulshreshtha, C4I expert.
Digital Database for AI Implementation
India has established a wide range of surveillance and data gathering advance tools. And, through database-centric schemes like National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Network Traffic Analysis System (NETRA) and the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS), law enforcement agencies have achieved centrally a Lawful Intercept and Monitoring (LIM) system. Post 2008 Mumbai terror attack, these mechanisms got a big boost.
Explaining how this will work, Kulshreshtha says, “The AI work may start by collecting information on `lessons learnt’ after each terrorist skirmish in a specified data format. This record shall have the profile of a terrorist and their tactics, while also recording own shortcomings for improvement. In time, with past and subsequent data sets, Indian Defence Forces shall have an institutionalized database on each terrorist activity or engagement which is geotagged and linked to various other factors like weather etc.”
“This data, when stored in AI relevant format, is highly useful for training the prediction algorithm and with some iterations shall be able to through results on next likely move of the terrorists based on various circumstances like weather conditions or when cornered inside a building etc. With this, the present human-based experience shall be harnessed within the AI engine and form the basis of predictive counter-terrorism. This shall assist in gaining effective progress against terrorists while ensuring the safety of personnel on Ground Zero.”
Make In India Initiative
DRDO lab Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) is nodal agency for research and development in the areas of AI and Robotics for the Defence Forces. Despite being accredited with certifications like CMMI ML2 or ISO 9001:2015, involvement in resolving field-level solutions for soldiers in high risk areas have been an ever-widening gap.
“The NITI Aayog’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence had no mention of Armed Forces or Security forces in the Charter, probably a report driven more by the Industry initiative. With pandemic highlighting various human vulnerabilities, and Prime Minister’s initiative of ‘atmanirbhar’, this can be considered as an opportunity for Defence Forces to undertake their own problem-solving by extending the Financial Powers at GOC level for execution of AI Projects directly with the Industry so as to develop solutions to meet their local requirements, to which only they are well versed when compared to Central Agencies in New Delhi,” he suggests.