"The most challenging problems AI may help us solve--from fighting terrorists to serving vulnerable populations--will involve government," according to "The Future Has Begun," a report on the impact of AI on government by the Partnership for Public Service and the IBM Center for the Business of Government. "More immediately, though not less consequentially, AI will change the way public servants do their jobs." A decade-long collaboration between the University of Southern California and Los Angeles International Airport produced an AI-enabled system aimed at helping law-enforcement units deploy their limited staff more effectively. After analyzing potential targets, the system recommends randomized police patrol routes and schedules so terrorists can't anticipate where and when they will run into security checkpoints. The system has since been used by the U.S. Coast Guard to randomize boat patrol routes in major ports and by the Transportation Security Administration to assign air marshals to flights.
The U.S. Coast Guard has seen an uptick in the number of fake distress calls it has received in recent months and is looking to counter the problem with voice recognition technology, the Verge reported. Tasked with law enforcement and search and rescue missions in both domestic and international waters, fielding prank calls has become costly for the Coast Guard since it has to respond by deploying aircraft and clearing airspace for its mission. In response to the pranks, which have been happening nearly every day in recent months, the Coast Guard is planning to adopt voice recognition software to identify the phony callers. The fake calls come in through the Coast Guard's VHF radio channel, essentially the maritime version of 911. Unlike a typical phone call, the radio communications do not have any identifying information like a phone number -- and tracking the source of the transmission presents a number of challenges.
Hoax callers are a special kind of jerk. At best they can cause their targets emotional distress. At worst they can cause or incite property destruction and even divert scarce resources from real emergencies where they are needed to save lives. Technology can sometimes be applied to catch the criminal. Doing so casts technology specialists in the detective role by letting them trace calls to find their origins.