The release and widespread use of ChatGPT – a large language model (LLM) developed by OpenAI – has created significant public attention, chiefly due to its ability to quickly provide ready-to-use answers that can be applied to a vast amount of different contexts.
These models hold masses of potential. Machine learning, once expected to handle only mundane tasks, has proven itself capable of complex creative work. LLMs are being refined and new versions rolled out regularly, with technological improvements coming thick and fast. While this offers great opportunities to legitimate businesses and members of the public it also can be a risk for them and for the respect of fundamental rights, as criminals and bad actors may wish to exploit LLMs for their own nefarious purposes.
In response to the growing public attention given to ChatGPT, the Europol Innovation Lab organised a number of workshops with subject matter experts from across the organisation to explore how criminals can abuse LLMs such as ChatGPT, as well as how it may assist investigators in their daily work. The experts who participated in the workshops represented the full spectrum of Europol’s expertise, including operational analysis, serious and organised crime, cybercrime, counterterrorism, as well as information technology.
Thanks to the wealth of expertise and specialisations represented in the workshops, these hands-on sessions stimulated discussions on the positive and negative potential of ChatGPT, and collected a wide range of practical use cases. While these use cases do not reflect an exhaustive overview of all potential applications, they provide a glimpse of what is possible.
The objective of this report is to examine the outcomes of the dedicated expert workshops and to raise awareness of the impact LLMs can have on the work of the law enforcement community. As this type of technology is undergoing rapid progress, this document further provides a brief outlook of what may still be to come, and highlights a number of recommendations on what can be done now to better prepare for it.
Important notice: The LLM selected to be examined in the workshops was ChatGPT. ChatGPT was chosen because it is the highest-profile and most commonly used LLM currently available to the public. The purpose of the exercise was to observe the behaviour of an LLM when confronted with criminal and law enforcement use cases. This will help law enforcement understand what challenges derivative and generative AI models could pose.
A longer and more in-depth version of this report was produced for law enforcement consumption only.