MI5 and The Alan Turing Institute have today made public their ongoing partnership, which brings together expertise from both organisations to apply artificial intelligence (AI) research to confront national security challenges. 

The partnership forms part of The Alan Turing Institute defence and security programme which was launched in 2017 to ensure a safe, secure, and prosperous society, including the application of AI ethics to defence and security projects.

MI5 has chosen to unveil this partnership today to enable closer working with The Alan Turing Institute and their academic stakeholders. 

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

As the national institute for data science and AI, The Alan Turing Institute specialises in the development of high performing, ethical AI and offers MI5 the opportunity to make the most of their research and expertise in developing its own AI tools. It also means MI5 will be able to contribute more openly to the development of AI in the UK for the wider public benefit.

MI5 Director-General, Ken McCallum said: “It is great to announce MI5’s partnership with The Alan Turing Institute today. 

“The UK 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 use of cutting-edge technology in an ethical way; artificial intelligence is another example of that and a vital capability in MI5’s toolkit. 

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

Sir Adrian Smith, Institute Director at The Alan Turing Institute, said: “AI offers new ways to analyse increasing volumes of fragmented and complex data, providing new insights about that data and improving analytical processes. 

“And so we’re delighted to announce this important partnership today with MI5 which will help our organisations work together more closely and ensure AI and data science continues to play an important part in national defence and security.”

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

MI5 is already using AI to keep the country safe. For example, it uses AI to help identify dangerous weapons. AI technology is used to scan and triage images which could contain weapons before being passed to experts to assess the need for further action.

Top image credit: Alina Constantin / Better Images of AI / Handmade A.I / CC-BY 4.0