Exploring AI for Child Safety

Dr. Hamid Nemati, professor of information systems and supply chain management, has been studying artificial intelligence, or AI, for longer than most.

He did his doctoral research on AI methods to optimize flows of items across networks. His interest in AI has only grown stronger as advances in AI technologies, including ChatGPT, have made them more widely used. 

One project his team has been excited about is the use of AI methods to mitigate child abuse and maltreatment. 

Hamid and Bryan alums Dr. Minoo Modaresnezhad and Dr. Yuz Han – his past doctoral students – tasked themselves with developing a robust AI system that could help predict child abuse when given information from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. 

The data, which the government began collecting in the 1990s, includes detailed information about child abuse reports down to the zip code. Hamid says those in the AI space have a high interest in the use of this type of structured, detailed data collected over a prolonged period. 

The prototype system their team developed could predict recurrence of child maltreatment better than any previously proposed systems. The results appear in the prestigious journal Knowledge-Based Systems. 

The next steps are testing and feedback from different agencies – a tough ask when agencies are already overburdened. “What we’re trying to get is a better sense of how these systems can become part of the daily routine for child protective agencies.”

An extended version of this story appears in the Fall 2023 Bryan Business Report. Read it and to catch up on recent research on tourism, fashion, alcohol, and the workplace.

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