The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) has published a report outlining the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in border security and control operations.
The European Union has in the past expressed both a need and use for artificial intelligence in border and coast guard operations in order to make their efforts more efficient, cost-effective, and produce better results in conjunction with more traditional methods.
FRONTEX commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study to research and develop key technologies that could aid the agency in its efforts to secure EU and Schengen external borders.
The results of the study and its implications for FREONTEX detailed in the report will be summarized below:
The evolving landscape of AI-based capabilities in border security provides various risks and benefits for end users to consider.
The study identified a wide range of current and potential future uses of AI in relation to “five key border security functions:
- Situation awareness and assessment
- Information management
- Deduction, identification, and authentication
- Training and exercises
The study also identified 9 technology areas that will aid FRONTEX in its mission. These include “front-end” technologies that can be used directly by FRONTEX officers, and “back-end” technologies that enable border security functions.
Addressing the baseline gaps could facilitate wider uptake of AI technologies within FRONTEX
This section of the RAND Europe study identified key areas of enablement or constraint on the end-user of FRONTEX. These include:
- Knowledge gaps between stakeholder groups, in that some end-users within FRONTEX might experience difficulty using the technology or large learning curves.
- There could be constraints in the adoption of the new AI technologies due to organizational, structural, and cultural barriers. There could also be constraints in the gaps between the skills and experience of end-users within FRONTEX.
- Gaps in the evidence base: there remains limitations in the actual usage of AI in border security due to the technology the current evidence base of AI in this context being largely based on the algorithms of the technology being tested in controlled environments.
The study’s findings could incentivize further consideration of FRONTEX’s role in future AI uptake in border security
The study identified several opportunities for FRONTEX in the future and adoption of AI technology in the agency:
- Identifying future requirements and opportunities for AI
- Strengthening the knowledge and evidence base and providing thought leadership
- Facilitating information and knowledge and information exchange
- Facilitating coordination between different stakeholder groups
- Incentivizing innovation
- Facilitating access to funding
Opportunities for future research
The research teams also found that there were several more areas of research that could be exploited in the future, including:
- Studying the long-term impact of using AI technology in border security and coast guard operations
- Survey or interview-based research to determine the perspectives and opinions of end-users in FRONTEX
- More extensive studies of the successes and failures of AI technology
- Collecting lessons learned
- Comprehensive mapping to determine the extent to which end-users might face constraints in regards to the use of the technology