'A new AI-enabled pilot project aims to sense “micro changes” in the behavior of people with top-secret clearances. If it works, it could be the future of corporate HR.
The U.S. military has the hardest job in human resources: evaluating hundreds of thousands of people for their ability to protect the nation’s secrets. Central to that task is a question at the heart of all labor relations: how do you know when to extend trust or take it away?
The office of the Defense Security Service, or DSS, believes artificial intelligence and machine learning can help. Its new pilot project aims to sift and apply massive amounts of data on people who hold or are seeking security clearances. The goal is not just to detect employees who have betrayed their trust, but to predict which ones might — allowing problems to be resolved with calm conversation rather than punishment.
If the pilot proves successful, it could provide a model for the future of corporate HR. But the concept also affords employers an unprecedented window into the digital lives of their workers, broaching new questions about the relationship between employers, employees, and information in the age of big data and AI.
The pilot is based on an urgent need. Last June, the Defense Department took over the task of working through the security clearance backlog — more than 600,000 people. Some people — and the organizations that want to hire them — wait more than a year, according to a September report from the National Background Investigations Bureau. Those delays stem from an antiquated system that involves mailing questionnaires to former places of employment, sometimes including summer jobs held during an applicant’s adolescence, waiting (and hoping) for a response, and scanning the returned paper document into a mainframe database of the sort that existed before cloud computing.'
Read more: The US Military Is Creating the Future of Employee Monitoring
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