The Alan Turing Institute’s defence and security programme is inviting proposals to investigate the application of AI techniques to suitable data sources to identify the emergence and track the spread of adversary narratives. This task will support a human analyst to identify narratives in a timely fashion and classify them as mis/disinformation when appropriate.

Once identified, an analyst should be able to track their spread – for example, by finding related material that either supports or refutes a specific narrative. We aim to develop both a repeatable method to apply to specific events, as well as considering longer-term, strategic narratives.

Background

The Machine Speed Strategic Analysis (MSSA) project is tasked with applying AI for Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) of the sub-threshold information environment, focussing on military aspects. An important aspect of this environment is the spread of accidental misinformation, or deliberate disinformation, which can affect military operations or open-source intelligence gathering.

Within the sub-threshold domain, narratives can be spread to deceive, obfuscate, deflect, and disrupt. To help counter the threats of misinformation and disinformation, we are investigating how to detect and track narratives, focusing on those relevant to the sub-threshold military environment. To begin this effort, we will define what constitutes a narrative, develop techniques to learn the characteristics of their seeding and spreading, and investigate ways to use this information to help analysts spot emerging narratives.

The benefit of this task will be to identify relevant sub-threshold indicators and warnings at greater scale and speed than current techniques, helping human analysts focus on the highest priority and most complex tasks. Critically, it may enable getting ahead of the narrative, substantially broadening the response options available.

In order to detect and track narratives, we first need to define what is meant by these terms. Standard definitions may derive from academic publications, but they may be arrived at practically, through discussions between defence and security programme partners, Turing and researchers. Such a common set of definitions – properly scoped and reflectively developed and maintained – will avoid misunderstanding and confusion. The questions we seek to answer, and the work expected to derive from them, are described below.

Who can apply

We invite researchers from any UK-based universities and research institutes to submit an application (please note non-Turing university partners researchers are eligible to apply too).

The lead applicant must be based in a UK university or research institute.

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via the online portal.

If you have not already done so you must first register on the system. If you have any questions regarding the application form or call process, please contact the Programme Manager: Alaric Williams, [email protected]

Funding available

Funding will be available for one project over the initial duration of eight months with an option to extend to a further six months. The proposal should be defined such that the initial project can be completed within eight months. The proposal should also include an option for a six-month follow-on. The research will be funded at Full Economic Cost and VAT will apply.

Depending on the outcomes following the initial eight-month project and six-month option phase our intention is to continue to support this research over several years.

Contact

If you have queries, please contact the Programme Manager, Alaric Williams [email protected]