Belfast tech firm Liopa to work on AI behavioural analytics for the UK government

  • Local Visual Speech Recognition (VSR) technology firm Liopa has been accepted into a new accelerator programme to develop behavioural analytics tech for the UK government.

    Belfast-based tech firm Liopa made headlines recently with its research into innovative AI-based lip-reading technology that could be used to help improve speech recognition technology. The company that was originally spun out of the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in 2015 has been building on this research ever since.

    While automatic lip-reading tech will have huge benefits in improving the lives of deaf people and making voice interfaces with computers better, Liosa's tech may be taking a slightly Orwellian twist as part of a new behavioural analytics initiative run by the UK government.

    The company has been selected to take part in a new Defence and Security Accelerator programme that aims to fund innovative ideas that could lead to cost-effective advantages for the UK armed forces and improve national security. As part of the scheme, Liopa will be modifying its Visual Speech Recognition (VSR) technology to identify specific key words spoken in video footage with either no audio or poor quality audio.

    There have been concerns in recent years about the ethics of using AI-based behavioural analytics. AI-based solutions can be rapidly deployed at scale and could be used in conjunction with existing camera systems for cost-effective mass-surveillance. The new DASA initiative reportedly aims to help make confident and ethical predictions in its behavioural analytics, which it hopes will lead to improved judgements on defence and security interventions.

    Liam McQuillan, Founder and CEO, Liopa, commented on the new project: "This represents a considerable stamp of approval. We were able to show how our idea will work, and how it fits in with a larger ecosystem and other data analytics feeds. We’ve the relevant Artificial Intelligence expertise and capability inhouse, and we’ll also be looking to grow our team of experts in Belfast."

    Source: Liopa

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