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Artificial intelligence meets compliance

Tom Fox | November 9, 2016

Words you do not often see in the same sentence are compliance and artificial intelligence (AI). However, those words came together for The Man From FCPA in a recent article in Fast Company magazine around the issue of how “artificial intelligence is being used to screen, test and hire new talent.” One consistent theme from the Justice Department is the integration of technology into a best practices compliance program.

Indeed, in every DPA, Attachment C which lists out the expectations for a corporate compliance program is found the following, “The Company will conduct periodic reviews and testing of its anti-corruption compliance code, policies, and procedures designed to evaluate and improve their effectiveness in preventing and detecting violations of anti-corruption laws and the Company's anticorruption code, policies, and procedures, taking into account relevant developments in the field and evolving international and industry standards.

Companies such as Facebook, IBM and others are beginning to incorporate AI into their hiring practices. This is moving beyond simply scanning the social media landscape for posts, tweet and the like. These companies are using algorithms into analyzing facial expressions  and word choice during interviews. One developer has come up with a written test to evaluate such soft skills as “grit, curiosity and polish.”

Hiring is not only about getting the best and brightest but also eliminating those who might engage in illegal or unethical conduct. This could certainly be helpful in the anti-corruption compliance space where even background due diligence checks can fail to note employees who might step over the line and violate such anti-bribery laws as the FCPA.

The next step from the compliance profession perspective would be to use AI to help incorporate cultural values such as doing business ethically and in compliance into the hiring process. Indeed there are some cutting-edge technologies that look for soft skills. The next step would be to use those same technologies to impress upon the candidate the cultural and ethical value of an organization. AI and compliance may soon be meeting up a HR department near you.