|Forensic science, the use of scientific methods or expertise to investigate crimes or examine evidence that can be used or presented in a court of law, dates back thousands of years / Photo by: Microgen via Shutterstock|
Forensic science, the use of scientific methods or expertise to investigate crimes or examine evidence that can be used or presented in a court of law, dates back thousands of years. Modern forensic techniques that we know now have evolved through the help of technology, leading to numerous crimes being solved.
Now, artificial intelligence is set to revolutionize forensic science as the technology becomes more and more relevant and convenient. A PWC study of 2,500 US consumers and business decision-makers revealed that 72% of business leaders refer to AI as a “business advantage.” According to CMO by Adobe, an online site that covers digital trends, insights, expertise, and inspiration to help business leaders navigate the digital landscape, business executives are planning to use AI to alleviate repetitively menial tasks like paperwork (82%), scheduling (79%), and timesheets (78%).
Issues of Forensic Science
Forensic science deals with the application of the knowledge and methodology of several disciplines of science to legal matters. It is a critical part of any criminal investigation because it helps to establish the guilt or innocence of potential suspects. Some aspects of the science involved include computer science, biology, chemistry, and physics. For instance, biology is used to establish the source of an unidentified suspect, physics to understand the pattern of a blood spatter, and chemistry to determine the composition of drugs.
While the role of forensic science in criminal justice and the legal system is extremely integral, it is often underrated. It helps authorities solve crimes through the collection, preservation, and analysis of evidence. When a crime has no witnesses, forensic proof could be helpful. However, just like other fields, forensic science faces several issues. A recent inquiry by the House of Lords of Science and Technology Select Committee in the UK reported that the field is in a state of crisis. It has come to a point that it is undermining trust in our justice systems.
According to the World Economic Forum, an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world, the crisis in forensic science is multifaceted. Some of the factors include instances of malpractice, miscarriages of justice, and failures of quality standards. In fact, another recent study revealed that the evidence in 22% of cases in the UK was misinterpreted.
Also, there’s a communication gap between forensic statisticians, crime investigators, and lawyers. Thus, statistical evidence in courts is easily misinterpreted, resulting in wrong decisions. To address this crisis, some issues that need to be addressed include quality standards, procurement processes, and equitable access to forensic science services for both the prosecution and defense.
|While the role of forensic science in criminal justice and the legal system is extremely integral, it is often underrated. It helps authorities solve crimes through the collection, preservation, and analysis of evidence / Photo by: Microgen via Shutterstock|
AI in Forensic Science
Previous studies about forensic science suggest that to address the challenges, particularly in the detection and identification of traces and individuals, the field should harness capabilities in technology, AI, and machine learning to develop novel technological tools. For instance, algorithms can help in developing better communication between forensic statisticians, crime investigators, and lawyers.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Eduardo Fidalgo, a computer scientist at the University of Leon in north-west Spain, and his team have been working to develop an evidence-recognizing tool that uses AI to identify objects in police photographs and search for links with other crimes. They also use the technology to help them in the fight against crime by analyzing photographs, CCTV footage, evidence files, and logs of crimes.
According to News-Medical.Net, an online, open-access medical information provider for healthcare professionals and engaged consumers, AI can help in recognizing significant factors that can solve a crime, such as a pattern in text or email messages or patterns in a sound file. In most cases, pattern recognition methods must try to match against the maximum possible data types to succeed, and this is something AI or machine learning is good at.
AI can help in supporting arguments with strong statistical evidence. This can be done through building graphical structures and graphical model situations that not only build scenarios and case stories but also prove or disprove arguments. For a case to succeed, it needs to have statistically relevant and significant evidence which can be provided by mathematical and computational tools of AI.
A study conducted by Shravana Kumar Chinnikatti stated that AI can simplify complex data into an understandable language in a short period and provide easy, fast solutions to the people who need it most.
Also, forensic science needs data mining, the practice of examining large databases in order to generate new information, to help with the cases. This practice involves a combination of AI, probabilistic methods, and statistical analysis to collect and analyze large samples of data. This can be helpful since traditional computational methods may not prove useful. Overall, AI has great potential in addressing the challenges that forensic science is facing.