Can AI Help Make Scams a Thing of the Past?

PETRAS Community Development Event


Date: Monday 12 June 2023

Time: 13:30-14:30

PETRAS is delighted to host the RED-AID project team at the next online Community Development event.

Phone fraud remains one of the most common and yet insidious crimes in the UK, with an estimated 4m incidents registered annually by the National Crime Agency. This form of fraud causes an annual loss exceeding £200bn in the UK annually. How can scams remain this pervasive when it’s clearly taking such a toll on both individuals and organisations?  

The RED-AID team has been designing a new kind of system to detect scam attempts, that works by applying recent advances in neural natural language processing to analyse phone conversations as people have them.  The team envisions RED-AID to represent a new class of technological intervention that protects especially vulnerable individuals from social engineering, which is a type of psychological manipulation that criminals use to get people to do things for them. 

The project’s proof of concept detection core has been shown to be highly accurate in identifying several key indicators of scam calls. In this talk, they will describe how it works and what it might mean for the future of fraud.


Max Van Kleek (max.van.kleek@cs.ox.ac.uk) is Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford, and is Governing Body Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford, and Fellow of the Oxford Martin School.  Max is principal investigator of the PETRAS2 project RETCON: Red Teaming the Connected Internet of Things, and his interests focus on empowering end-user citizens to live safer, and more fulfilling connected lives. Formerly, has been a researcher at MIT CSAIL, the MIT Media Lab, PARC, IBM Research, Nokia Research, and Sun Microsystems Labs.

Gus Levinson is a Research Software Engineer at the Department of Computer Science, the University of Oxford. He has been working as a NLP Engineer on RED-AID. Gus is a First-Class Honours Mathematics BSc graduate from the University of Bristol and a Computer Science MSc postgraduate from Imperial College London. During the latter, he specialised in Artificial Intelligence. 

Peter Novitzky is a senior research fellow at PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP), University College London, specializing in the ethical challenges of emerging technologies, AI, safety and security. Peter’s appointment follows research and teaching roles working mainly on multiple European projects (FP7, NWO, H2020, EPSRC) as well as a position at the National University of Singapore. Peter successfully completed his PhD in applied philosophy at Dublin City University (Ireland), where he specialized in the ethics of artificial intelligence for vulnerable populations. His long-term research interests focus on the intersection of bioethics, AI ethics, research integrity, and most recently, responsibility in research and innovation. Peter is a magna cum laude graduate of the Erasmus Mundus Master of Bioethics obtained from the consortium of KU Leuven (Belgium), Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (Netherlands) and Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy). He also studied and performed research at Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Hungary) and Charles University in Prague (Czechia). He continues to engage in research with collaborators in Canada, UK, and the Netherlands.

For joining details, please contact Claire Coulton (c.coulton@ucl.ac.uk)