Elementary, My Dear Watson - Artificial Intelligence Joins the Fight Against Crime

Photo by Eddie B

Artificial intelligence mines big data to find persons of interest for law enforcement.

Long before Boy Band impresario and ponzi scheme fraudster, Lou Perlman was convicted of fraud, many people knew that things were not right in his business empire. Perlman had been targeted by civil lawsuits that alleged many activities similar to those he was eventually investigated and convicted for. Civil litigation often foreshadows criminal complaints and previous civil lawsuits are a rich source of data for investigators. Legal analytics firm, Premonition L.L.C. claims its new VigilTM system can not only monitor Courts in real time for persons of interest, but also spot patterns in litigation that may indicate illegal activity.

Premonition is the closest things there is to Minority Report. It monitors Courts in real time for persons of interest. Its Artificial Intelligence system spots trends and outliers before human agents are aware.” says Arik Arad, a security industry veteran and Premonition Board member. Why haven’t law enforcement and security agencies been doing this already? Amazingly, apart from Federal Cases, there is no way to search across multiple courts. Systems such as LexisNexisTM and WestLawTM usually focus on appealed cases that are important for legal precedent setting.

The bulk of litigation is unappealed cases in Circuit Court. If you want to find one of these cases, you need to go to that Court’s Web site directly. There is no system for searching them all. This is the start of the problem, if you only suspect there may be a case and don’t know where it’s filed, you have to search thousands of Courts. A thorough search requires frequent re-visits to Courts as cases are re-opened, moved and new cases are filed hourly. “Looking for a Circuit court case is like looking for a needle, in a haystack, in a hurricane.” says Premonition Chief Information Officer and Co-Founder, Toby Unwin.

Premonition can pull data from thousands of Courthouses, placing it in a single central database. One search covers them all. The company has developed an automatic monitoring system to watch cases for persons of interest. “It’s a huge cost saver for law enforcement and security agencies.” claims, C.E.O. and Co-Founder, Guy Kurlandski. “It’s something that no agency has the budget or staff to do traditionally, so they’ve had to fly blind all this time. Now they have radar”.

The really clever stuff is the Artificial Intelligence system looking for patterns.” says Unwin, Inventor of the Premonition system. He declined to elaborate on exactly how the system identifies targets for investigation, but said there were many different criteria that could signal the need for a closer look at the people involved. “It’s a starting point for investigation, leads you wouldn’t otherwise have, background information that was there all the time, but you could easily have been unaware of it. It allows the agents to do their job faster and better."

"Is this Pre-Cognitive law? Can we know crimes before they happen? We’re working on that”, jokes Kurlandski, “In the meantime, this is a good start.