In an effort to combat terrorist activities, banks are planning to start using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to identify suspicious transactions and sever funds to jihadists.

QuantaVerse, a Pennsylvania-based technology firm, has developed an AI to monitor and identify financial crimes, from terrorist funding to money laundering.

Speaking to WIRED, Dan Stitt, the director of financial crime analysis at the firm, said: “It’s a surgical approach to finding a needle in a haystack.”

Known for its low-key, targeted attacks, ISIS, for example, does not necessarily transfer large payments to lone jihadists. “It doesn’t take much to survive in a hostel in Belgium whilst waiting to be moved to another location,” noted Stitt.

The QuantaVerse AI system has been designed to predict suspicious transactions independently and has garnered other hopeful capabilities to tackle fraudulent transactions. From checking an account history’s data for any existing relationships with other accounts to rectifying incorrect calculations.

Using seven years’ worth of data from various global banks, initial experiments tasked the AI with identifying what the difference was between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behavioural patterns.

When processing later transactions with little human interference, the system was capable of analysing data from a two-to-three year period, opposed to the current standard of 90 days.

Terror groups like ISIS have small terror cells scattered across the globe which receive small amounts of payments for planning terror. This is becoming increasingly difficult for banks to keep track of as they struggle to identify potential threats using legacy anti-money laundering systems. These tools are now considered outdated and unreliable as they use hard-coded rules when processing information.

These programmes are also plagued with technical issues, frequently flagging large transactions that are not actually criminally-related.

While AI is developing at a rapid pace, QuantaVerse itself is uncertain on how successful the system will be in fulfilling such anti-terror duties. However, experts in the financial regulation industry are optimistic about the role of AI in deterring the funding of future terrorist attacks and hateful propaganda.