The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Vetting Process

July 2021

The world seems to become smaller every year as international communications and the global economy continue to grow more connected and more complex. While this trend certainly has many benefits in terms of market expansion, information sharing, and trade, it also comes with its hazards. While the majority of international visitors are law-abiding individuals who enter the country for legitimate purposes of work, trade, study, and diplomacy, there is always the possibility that a certain percentage of visitors are arriving for less benevolent purposes, ranging from criminal enterprises like drug or human trafficking to threats like espionage, or even violent extremism. Nations around the world continue to struggle to find an appropriate balance in their international policies that will foster goodwill and diplomacy while protecting their borders, resources, and people. Similarly, the private sector is looking to AI to vet its employees in order to screen out potential threats. Fortunately, Artificial Intelligence can prove immediate results and be incredibly helpful in this process.

AI technology can provide a crucial step in preventing destructive influences from entering the country by supplementing the Visa vetting process with algorithms that sift multiple databases, social media platforms, and Deep / Dark Web sources to detect connections, patterns, and inconsistencies that might indicate a threat. This tech combs through massive amounts of unstructured data, potentially from thousands of sources, in order to identify links to certain activities, groups, and nations. While these links are not necessarily proof of nefarious activities or intentions, factors like ties to countries that are known to be hostile actors or affiliations with extremist groups are certainly worth identifying for further investigation. Depending on its application, this type of AI can look for indicators like suspicious international travel, links to propaganda and disinformation, unusual spending patterns, and other types of information that could indicate potentially illegal or harmful behaviors or intentions.

AI systems can not only recognize and match images of the individuals being investigated with images in millions of internet sources, but they can also identify and analyze specific elements within those images that might offer significant context, like text, geographical markers, identifying symbolism, weapons or illegal items, or other elements that could indicate a threat or issue. Some AI systems have even been created to analyze voice patterns and facial expressions in order to detect possible deception or furtiveness during interviews.

Many AI systems also have the ability to translate data from hundreds of different languages in order to cover a fuller spectrum of potential information sources. This enables investigators to have access to pertinent information from the majority of linguistic populations on the planet, so that they are not caught unaware of a potential problem simply due to a language barrier.

While governments have an obvious need for such technology, this form of AI also offers benefits for private companies who are considering new employees, whether they international or domestic. Private sector organizations have much to lose by hiring personnel who could pose threats to their intellectual property, finances, or reputation. This is why more corporations are turning to AI to review applicants. Now, they are able to gain much deeper insight into exactly who they are bringing on board, and to stop potential problems before they can happen.

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