Storytelling technology revolutionising criminal convictions

Imagine a system that could assemble the thousands of pieces of evidence from a criminal case into a single, cohesive digital view, making it dramatically easier for investigators and prosecutors to convict criminals.

This game-changing technology, called narrative visualisation, has been developed by UniSA researchers Andrew Cunningham, James Walsh and Bruce Thomas in collaboration with Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre (D2D CRC). It will now be taken to the commercial market by process automation company Genix Ventures.

The technology helps investigators and prosecutors make sense of the deluge of multimedia data or evidence in a criminal case, compiling the information and facts as a visual story.

“Studies have shown that people best understand information as a narrative,” Cunningham said.

“The narrative visualisation technology conveys a narrative by describing an investigation from the initial reporting of a crime to the final prosecution, highlighting important dates, times, people and events complimented by visual evidence and other important information.

“This is all powered by a narrative engine that understands the wider context of the data, and how it relates to that narrative.”

The bottom line is that agents can view a criminal case with a focus on the storylines of the people involved, instead of being limited by the chronological order of information. This enables shared understanding between investigators and prosecutors, leading to faster and more consistent outcomes.

D2D CRC Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Mazumdar says that recognition of the difficulties with data management, shared understanding and insight, consistently emerged from the CRC’s conversations with state and federal law enforcement agencies.

“We continued to hear that making sense of the deluge of information was a prohibitively complex process,” Mazumdar said.

“Narrative visualisation technology removes the factors that regularly overwhelm investigators needing to manage literally thousands of pieces of data and creates a single, interactive view of the entire investigation.

“This is a real game changer for shared understanding of complex scenarios.”

The work won the 2018 Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) award for best research and development project in SA, and a merit nationally the same year.

Work to commercialise the technology will now be pursued by D2D CRC partner Genix Ventures with the prerogative of extending the technology beyond law enforcement to other data-intensive sectors.

“This technology is unquestionably an exciting innovation that will have a real impact in the Australian law enforcement arena,” said Genix Ventures Managing Director Steve Godinho.

“But Genix also sees enormous potential for the technology to be used to streamline decision making in government agencies and industry, and this will be a key focus of our commercialisation activities.”

Source: UniSA

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