Understanding Patterns of Terrorism in India Using AI Machine Learning

By: Scott Gartner   Diane Felmlee   Rithvik Yarlagadda   Dinesh Verma  

Terrorism represents an undesirable but seemingly inevitable part of the modern social landscape, and understanding terrorism dynamics can provide useful insights for developing governance structures and policies that are both more effective at reducing violence and less invasive on general society. With the tremendous increases that are happening in Artificial Intelligence capabilities in computing technology, application of AI technologies to terrorist data can yield useful insights regarding the interaction of terrorists, governance and society. Generally, there have been few applications of machine learning techniques to understanding patterns of terrorist behavior. Specifically, little work has been done to use AI to analyze terrorism patterns in India, which experiences among the world’s highest levels of terrorism. Using the Global Terrorism Database and the South Asian Terrorism Portal we apply "shallow machine learning models" that require only a modest amount of data to train themselves and can facilitate our exploration of three questions crucial to understanding the complex dynamics of terrorism, state and society: From a description of the attack can we figure out who the likely terrorist group is? Can we predict the likely location for next attack from a history of past attacks? Can we identify the principal factors that cause a city to be targeted? We believe that this project will: provide an example of socially-relevant AI research; expand our understanding of the factors that shape counterterrorism policy, and contribute to our greater recognition of the interwoven relationship of technology, knowledge and society.

Terrorism, Artificial Intelligence, India, Machine Learning, Security Policy
2019 Special Focus: The Social Impact of AI: Policies and New Governance Models for Social Change
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Scott Gartner

Director, International Affairs, Law, and Political Science, Penn State School of International Affairs, United States
PA, United States

Diane Felmlee

Professor of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, United States
United States

Rithvik Yarlagadda

Doctoral Student, University of Maryland, United States
United States

Dinesh Verma

IBM Fellow, Distributed AI