Brian Sims

Partnership forged between MI5 and The Alan Turing Institute

MI5 AND The Alan Turing Institute have made public the details of a partnership designed to bring together expertise from both organisations and apply Artificial Intelligence research in confronting national security challenges.

The partnership comprises one element of The Alan Turing Institute Defence and Security Programme, which itself was launched back in 2017 to ensure a safe, secure and prosperous society, including the application of Artificial Intelligence ethics for defence and security-related projects.

The decision has been taken by MI5 to unveil this partnership in order to enable closer working with The Alan Turing Institute and its academic stakeholders. 

MI5 often draws on new technologies to help identify and mitigate the threats posed to the UK’s national security and keep the country safe, including the use of data science and Artificial Intelligence.

As the national institute for data science and Artificial Intelligence, The Alan Turing Institute specialises in the development of high performing and ethical Artificial Intelligence and offers MI5 the opportunity to make the most of the organisation’s research and expertise in developing its own Artificial Intelligence tools.

Further, the new partnership also means that MI5 will be able to contribute more openly to the development of Artificial Intelligence in the UK for the benefit of the wider public.

Broader and more complex threats

MI5 director general Ken McCallum stated: “It’s great to announce MI5’s partnership with The Alan Turing Institute. The UK now faces a broader and more complex range of threats, with the clues hidden in ever-more fragmented data. MI5 has a long and proud history of innovation and using cutting-edge technology in an ethical way. Artificial Intelligence is another example of that and a vital capability in MI5’s toolkit.”

McCallum concluded: “By working with The Alan Turing Institute, MI5 can draw on world-leading expertise to ensure that our use of Artificial Intelligence keeps pace with the challenges we face and enables us to keep the country safe.”

Sir Adrian Smith, director at The Alan Turing Institute, responded: “Artificial Intelligence offers new ways in which to analyse what are now increasing volumes of fragmented and complex data, in turn providing new insights about that data and improving analytical processes.”

He continued: “On that basis, we’re delighted to announce this important partnership with MI5, which will help our organisations work together more closely and ensure that Artificial Intelligence and data science continue to play an important role in national defence and security.”

State-of-the-art approaches

Part of the collaboration supports MI5 in keeping abreast of state-of-the-art approaches in Artificial Intelligence that can be used to respond more flexibly and more quickly to threats posed to the UK’s national security.

MI6 is already using Artificial Intelligence to keep the country safe. For example, it’s deployed to help identify dangerous weapons. Artificial Intelligence technology is used to scan and triage images which could contain weapons before being passed to experts to assess the need for further action.

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