The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will put up $2 million to fund research into artificial intelligence applications for law enforcement.

The grants will pay for projects designed to help battle gang violence, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, opioid trafficking and child pornography. Artificial intelligence and machine learning already are used by some agencies for "predictive policing." By sorting through vast amounts of data, computer analytics often can anticipate and prevent some types of crime. The National Institute of Justice, the R&D arm of the DOJ, specifically is looking for a way to distinguish child pornography in encrypted devices so that probable cause can be established to get a court order to unlock the device.

The program is designed to jump start the careers of young AI researchers. The grants only are available to non-tenured assistant professors or full-time research scientists. Researchers are encouraged to collaborate with law enforcement agencies and proposals are required to explain how the AI tools could be commercialized. Applications are due Apr. 30.