National Center for Credibility Assessment is looking to bring the process of doling out national security clearances into the future. As it does more often than not, "the future" in this case means robots. Alright, well not robots exactly but a virtual avatar powered by a computer program. When you apply for security clearance, you first have to fill out a form that requires you to disclose all past drug use, crimes and mental health issues. Those same subjects are then revisited with an actual human, but the NCCA thinks it might be more effective to jump straight to an interview with a computer. In a study Army trainees were put through a mock interview with a racially ambiguous avatar. Turns out the pretend applicants were much more likely to admit to mental health problems or alcohol abuse when speaking to the computer than they were when filling out a form. Not only that, but at the end of the interview they simply volunteered additional info after being asked if their was anything else they'd like to talk about.The program behind the interrogator is able to recognize responses from the subject and follow multiple branches of conversation, but it's not quite a proper artificial intelligence. It's more like a menu triggered by vocal cues. But by turning to machines, the government could reduce gender or cultural bias in interviews while also eliciting more honest responses from subjects. Though, the current system still includes connecting people up to traditional polygraph equipment and follow up interviews would need to be conducted with actual human beings. But the NCCA is still hopeful that they can save the government both time and money. We can only assume future iterations will include a proper AI and the ability to recognize human emotion.
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