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Knowledge of the Risks Associated with Biological Agents and Dangerous Substances also Passes through Artificial Intelligence

9 March 2020

Expert System and the Observatory on Security and CBRNe Defence – OSDIFE have developed a technology platform to improve risk analysis activities related to the spread of biological, chemical, radiological and explosive materials to promote shared access to new knowledge and stimulate the best strategies for protecting people, the environment and infrastructure.

Weak signals and false negatives are the main plus offered by artificial intelligence to analysts engaged in evaluating and disseminating the knowledge of risk factors that threaten public health and safety. The collaboration between Expert System and the Observatory on Security and CBRNe Defence (OSDIFE), a point of reference for civil and military intelligence specialists, will strengthen the investigative inquiry into threats caused by dangerous substances or contaminants known as CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive materials).

The partnership aims to produce and disseminate knowledge in the CBRNe field, providing timely identification of relevant information, including on low-profile indicators, weak signals and false negatives. In fact, independently of the type of event (natural disasters, accidents or terrorism), defining the best prevention strategy is closely correlated with the ability to govern the enormous volumes of data useful for evaluating risks, including those of a biological nature (as in the case of the “Coronavirus”), which have recently stimulated the need to further increase the attention of both governments and the business world at a global level.

Expert System and OSDIFE have developed a platform that exploits Expert System’s advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to simplify the acquisition and analysis of information and increase the ability to find, categorize and correlate all potentially relevant knowledge.

“Our goal is to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of intelligence activities and create synergy between artificial intelligence and human intelligence,” said Andrea Melegari, Senior Executive VP, Defense, Intelligence & Security at Expert System. “The human component, based on intuition and critical thinking, remains central and irreplaceable. Our platform increases the ability to govern any data flow, amplifying the interception of weak signals and false negative, i.e. relevant information that is difficult to manage with less “intelligent” systems, such as those based on keywords, that are unable to understand the meaning of words.”

Professor Roberto Mugavero, President of the Observatory on Security and CBRNe Defence, commented: “In recent decades, global changes have fostered the development of new knowledge and technologies to improve health and well being. At the same time, they have led to the emergence of unexpected risk scenarios related to conflict, instability, terrorism and public health threats (such as SARS, MERS-CoV, COVID-19). Therefore, it is essential to understand how scientific and technological development will affect the protection of citizens, the environment and a country’s strategic interests. In this context, the Observatory on Security and CBRNe Defence – OSDIFE, in collaboration with the Department of Electronic Engineering of the Tor Vergata University of Rome, the University Training Center for Security of the University of the Republic of San Marino, and Expert System, is emerging as the Italian counterpart of a vast international project aimed at verticalizing cognitive computing technologies, based on ontologies and machine learning algorithms, for the CBRNe risk domain.”