Brains Beat Algorithms: Why Digital Forensics Still Need Humans + AI

By Rogue Heart,

Brains Beat Algorithms: Why Digital Forensics Still Need Humans + AI

We get it, understanding artificial intelligence and keeping up with emerging technology is hard and probably not taught in law school. Artificial intelligence is and remains a current and future challenge for the digital forensics community.

Law enforcement agencies are struggling with digital investigations worldwide. According to a study by Cellebrite, each digital investigation case involves 2-4 mobile devices and nearly half (45%) will involve a computer (Muhlberg 2020) and this is just the beginning as third-party service providers will frequently maintain, often in the cloud, relevant data as well. With all of that hardware, software, and information to comb through, you need experts and tools to make sense of the data.

Our examiners help you understand the benefits and constraints of artificial intelligence in digital evidence and show you that we’re your best source for when it comes to understanding the data in your case, as well as the data that may be missing. This understanding can be critical when preparing a case.

We combine knowledge of the legal system and the courts, prioritize tasks, and follow investigative intuition. We walk you through the process. Algorithms can’t do that. At least not perfectly.

Big Brains Vs. Big Data 

According to researchers in a study by Jarrett and Choo (2021), AI enables digital forensics, especially during the evidence analysis phase. These days, you need the resources to have evidence analyzed efficiently and a compelling story.

“Ultimately, human mindsets, understanding a scenario’s full context, and logical thinking cannot be entirely replicated by machine learning,” says Josiah Roloff, President of Roloff Digital Forensics. “The human mind has an amazing capacity for investigative intuition and can prioritize tasks versus needing to process full datasets simply because they are there. AI automation has its place, but all of this and more, make it important in understanding the roles we give automation versus a hands-on approach.”

AI: What Lawyers Need to Know 

Artificial intelligence does AND doesn’t make your job easier. Highly trained and experienced examiners can help you to fill in the gaps.

Pros to artificial intelligence:

  • Parses through massive amounts of data in a short amount of time (Jarrett & Choo 2021)
  • Finds and filters specific objects in images, tracks down keywords in texts, and creates relationship analysis (Muhlberg 2020)

Cons of artificial intelligence

  • No guarantee it works. Make sure you understand the AI you’re using (the data used to develop it and by whom) (Bloomberg 2019)
  • Bias and prejudices may exist from the developers and trainers, skewing the results. Our examiners always test the evidence, our findings, and automated findings, before presenting it. 
  • “Black box AI” – proprietary information where companies aren’t transparent about how the AI generates its information. Examiners can’t analyze and dig into how results occurred (American Bar Association 2020)
  • Many AIs are ineffective (American Bar Association 2019)


Your Trusted Digital Forensics

AI isn’t going anywhere. It’s legit to be skeptical of the technology and follow the “trust, but verify” principle. Trust is at the center of our work. We combine technological and relational skillsets with ongoing training to walk you through emerging technology, helping you take the right steps forward to win your case. Meet our team and how we’re qualified.

Leave it us, not just the machines

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