Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the new hot thing currently trending on the market. Artificial Intelligence dates back to 1956, however modern advancements in computing power have elevated Artificial Intelligence to new heights and provided additional AI capabilities. IBM”s Watson Personality Insight tool showcases their capability to infer information by using social media and enterprise data to determine personality traits, needs, and values. It uses personality models such as, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Emotional Range, and Openness to compile a range of the most accurate personality traits. These traits are then able to determine decision making, how a person engages in everyday life, and how likely or unlikely one is capable of doing something.
Personality Insights is clearly a dual-use technology. From an Intelligence perspective, Personality Insight will not only augment existing personnel like targeters, increase efficiency, but may also expose hidden attributes from an individual. From there one can begin to analyze who they may associate with, differentiate track records, what makes them tick, what excites them, and overall get a better understanding of who they are as a person. For example, if an analyst is trying gather information on an individual who has possible correlation to drug trafficking, by using Personality Insights, the analyst would be able to infer that this person is family oriented but also is motivated by money. The analyst could then conclude that this person could very well be involved in drug trafficking because of the wealth they are able to obtain by selling drugs. Personality Insights also has commercial applications. Recruiters may use Personality Insights to determine if an individual not only has the right qualifications for the job, but if they would contribute to the their unique company culture.
Applications for Personality Insights in the intelligence and national security sphere are far reaching. As mentioned above, personality insights is perhaps most useful for intelligence targeting. An AI enabled personality profile can assist in assessing a potential source. Questions such as: “Is this individual’s personality conducive to espionage?” “What motivates this person?” “Is this individual prone to excessive risk taking?” are all informed by a personality insights engine. Beyond augmenting the work of targeters, personality insights can be used facilitate strategic messaging and influence operations. Once key influencers are identified in a network, personality insights can allow planners to tailor their messaging to the individual. Values metrics such as tradition and helping others combined with needs metrics such as stability or excitement increase the likelihood that messaging campaigns could resonate with their intended audience.
A challenge that may arise is the limitation of big data. For example, IBM Personality Insight is only able to analyze the data that it is given or floating around on the internet. Moreover, Personality Insights collects and processes data via an application programming interface (API) and is thus limited to analyzing data that is available through public APIs. Today, many data giants like Facebook, twitter and google have restricted the data available through their published API because of public backlash justified via poor data handling practices and concerns over privacy and civil liberties. Therefore, algorithms like those found in a personality insights engine are forced to work with less data, decreasing model accuracy at best and outright lacking data to analyze at worst. While more restrictive APIs cut both ways and protect privacy while simultaneously closing data stream to developers, intelligence officers can circumvent these roadblocks in pursuit of foreign intelligence collection. Unique government specific tools found in the nation’s intelligence agencies can collect information from big data mediums that is usually excluded in published APIs. That data can then be stored in a proprietary database-which Personality Insights can access via an in house API call. The long story short is, Personality Insights can overcome traditional big data challenges in support of foreign intelligence collection and provide valuable contextual data for intelligence officers that supports their mission.