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UK authorities will begin a trial run on October 31st, utilizing AI to detect hate crime based on social media.
The system will detect posts on Twitter, attempting to find tweets that are hateful or antagonistic on the topics of religion, ethnicity, or race. Based on the location of the person who sent the tweet, it will then provide aggregate trends in tensions based on time and area. In short, based on what people are saying in certain parts of the UK, police are hoping to preempt any real life hate crimes.
Developed at Cardiff University, researchers have allegedly proven that when there is an increase in “hateful” tweets in an area, that area has an increase in religiously or racially motivated crimes.
Professor Matthew Williams of Cardiff University says the system will be trialed by the National Police Chief Council. Speaking to the Telegraph, he explains starting on October 31st is no coincidence- coming on the ever-tentative due date of Brexit. “Brexit is one of our test cases to see if hate speech will spike. There has been talk of riots on the streets, and there is an expectation that tensions will bubble up around that date.”
The Daily Mail reports that in 2017, over 94,000 hate crimes were recorded in England and Wales- an increase of 17% compared to the prior year. Of those offences, 76% were racial hate crimes, with others being based on sexual orientation, religion, disability, and transgender.
The proposed algorithm bares comparison to the EU’s leaked proposal to fight hate crime across “all digital platforms.“