Past eventInvitation OnlyResearch Event

Artificial Intelligence, Prediction and Counter-Terrorism

7 February 2018 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Chatham House London/UK


Kathleen McKendrick, Chief of General Staff (British Army) Visiting Fellow, International Security, Chatham House



An unprecedented period of developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have seen algorithms with powerful predictive abilities used daily in applications from stock trading to targeted marketing.

These technologies might also be translated to the realm of public safety, specifically in predicting terrorist activity or individual involvement in terrorism.

Counter-terrorism policy is required to strike a balance between providing security and respecting individual right and liberties. These often-conflicting ends must be met from limited resources.

Accurate predictions underwritten by AI could help direct these resources most effectively. They might also have potential to minimise unnecessary intrusion on the majority of the population and mitigate human bias in decision-making.

Conversely, there may be risk associated with rushing to deploy naïve technologies. Algorithms can exhibit inherent or learned biases of their own and be vulnerable to adversarial action.

Further, new capabilities demand re-examining what constitutes invasion of privacy and how standards of transparency and accountability can be met.

At this roundtable, participants discuss the opportunities, implications and possible approaches for the effective use of predictive technologies in countering terrorism.

The Chatham House Rule

To enable as open a debate as possible, this event will be held under the Chatham House Rule.