The Role of the Intelligent Machine in Organised Crime: An interdisciplinary research event

This event has now passed.

Date: 30 January 2019
Venue: Room 4X113, Bristol Business School (X Block), Frenchay Campus
Venue Location:
Time: 12:30-17:00

Join us for an interdisciplinary research event on the topic "The role of the intelligent machine in organized crime." Register online here to attend.

  • In 2009, a robotic ferret to detect drugs and weapons, was created by engineers and scientists at the University of Sheffield.
  • In 2014, an algorithm, named the Random Darknet Shopper, purchased 12 items – including a pair of Air Jordan shoes to a scan of a Hungarian passport, to 10 ecstasy pills. Swiss police “arrested” the robot, seized the computer, and confiscated the items it had purchased.
  • 2018, Europol announced that, “[n]anotechnology and robotics will open up new markets for organized crime and deliver new tools for sophisticated criminal schemes."

These are just some of the news snippets of the many which can be found concerning the role of the intelligent machine in organized crime – whether this be combating it or enabling it.

The event aims to explore the role of technology more generally, within the wider context of organized crime, but short, informal pitches are welcome on all areas of the topic – these may allow for the focused discussion of one aspect and give the presenter to gain feedback on a possible article/project idea.

If you, or someone you know, wishes to pitch an issue for 5-10 minutes, please email me directly at, with a few lines concerning the pitch. Discussion will follow each pitch of an idea.

Ideally, a range of ideas on this topic is something that is to be encouraged - from the role of the intelligent machine in helping to combat organized crime, the prediction that robots will be carrying out the functions of 'traditional' organized crime group members, whether we can really hold a machine responsible for what is ultimately a human objective (i.e. to commit organized crime to make money), the role of intelligent machines in harvesting and/or making illicit narcotics, the history behind robots as we know them today, to the views of law enforcement concerning intelligent technology as a criminal enabler, as well as a crime stopper!

The whole topic is up for discussion and debate!

Once again, the overall aim will be to strengthen ties with law enforcement and practitioners and for us to collectively deepen knowledge from all disciplinary angles.

Preliminary schedule

12:30- 13:30 - Lunch and networking

13:30-15:30 - Short papers followed by Q&A session

15:30-17:00 - Coffee break and round table discussion with opportunity to carry on until 18:00.

Confirmed speakers

  • Jason Aldridge – Detective Sergeant & Financial Investigator, Asset Confiscation Enforcement Team, Metropolitan Police Service: "Machines to trace offenders and recover their ill-gotten gains".
  • Henry Hillman – Lecturer, Bristol Law School, UWE Bristol: "Identifying criminal activity in the Blockchain".
  • Scott Mellis – Australian Federal Agent, Cybercrime Liaison Officer, International Operations.
  • Euan Grant – Fellow, Institute of Statecraft: "Technological and operational challenges and opportunities for pan European financial crime investigations: the lessons from the Danske Bank saga".
  • Michael Harris – Senior Lecturer Policing/Criminology UWE Bristol: "Missing People: Exploring how return interviews may present anti-OCG intelligence opportunities".

How to attend

This event is free to attend but pre-registration is required.

Please contact Dr Mary Alice Young by email at for further information.

Cost: Free
Contact: Mary Young

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