How AI Improves the Due Diligence Process

Artificial intelligence has been used across a diverse set of industries for a plethora of purposes. One example is the use of AI and machine learning to perform background check services on employees, investors, and companies.
By Ariella Serman
May 28, 2020

The term Artificial Intelligence was created in 1956 at a Dartmouth University conference. The mission statement of the conference was, “Every aspect of learning or other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it.” With that, scientists at the conference earned a hefty grant from the U.S. government in the hopes that AI would help give the country a dominating position in the Cold War. Since then, artificial intelligence has been used across a diverse set of industries for a plethora of purposes. One example is the use of AI and machine learning to perform background check services on employees, investors, and companies.

AI is the New Black

Today, in some industries, using artificial intelligence is a key to survival in this globalized competitive landscape. How exactly is AI being used and what are its advantages?

One example of the utilization of AI and machine learning is in the due diligence and background check sectors. By leveraging AI, companies now have a greater scope of coverage across the web than ever before. AI can review millions of data sources from the Internet, compare them, find patterns, and analyze the information in both its structured and unstructured forms—something way beyond human capabilities. Even the brightest minds would find it difficult to conduct the same depth and breadth of research as the AI system—and certainly not in the same short time frame. Humans also fall prey to psychological biases such as confirmation bias and the illusion of control which AI systems are able to successfully overcome. The algorithm essentially permeates through the ocean of data that exists in cyberspace and extracts data points that it has learned to be important, relevant, and meaningful. The analysis is therefore far-reaching and pertinent, providing the decision maker with both a larger quantity of data, as well as more comprehensive review in order to make an informed, optimal decision.

It is important to note that the aforementioned AI activities are performed in minutes, sometimes even seconds. This is compared to the hundreds and thousands of hours that it takes using traditional background check methods that cover only a fraction of the competencies of the AI machines.


The Game of Risk in the Screening World

AI is also used for improved risk-management decision making. The technology’s algorithm can inform a company of a person’s risk level on multiple layers. The algorithm looks extensively at historical data, web sources and the candidate’s digital footprints including identity records, criminal records, education and employment verification, and political activities. Using the expanse of data from the digital world, it can map out potential links, patterns, and intersections of any prospect with suspicious activity.

David Weinberg, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Vervoe, a skills assessment platform, commented that, “machine-learning prediction also improves each time an employer manually grades a Talent Trial, increasing the accuracy well beyond 83%. Employers are now able to evaluate 10,000 candidates at the same time it takes to evaluate one, allowing for scalable recruitment.”

Similarly, Chief Data Scientist, Dan Journo of Intelligo, a SaaS platform for conducting comprehensive background checks, notes “even if we don’t want to rely only on the models and want to involve an analyst to review the most critical parts, AI is intensively used to make the system faster.” Journo gives two reasons for why that is. Firstly, he says that background checks rely on the gathering of a plethora of data, in which they use AI to match relevant data to the person under analysis, so irrelevant results can be filtered out. Secondly, the different pieces of information that were collected need to be merged together in order to develop a consistent and complete report. AI enables humans to do this by “fusioning data about the same topic.”


Time is of the Essence

While manually performed background checks rely on historical data for decision making, artificial intelligence uses real-time data for analysis. This is especially critical because data found yesterday may be obsolete today. AI continuously monitors the data, ensuring it is up-to-date and always relevant for retrieval and analysis. For example, AI scans and records changes found in court case rulings, business developments such as mergers and acquisitions, and updates in investments.


AI Goes Global

Another benefit of using AI in conducting background checks is its ability to interpret data above human limitations. Unlike human beings, AI can comprehend information from hundreds of different languages, dialogues, and semantics. In addition, AI can use facial and fingerprint recognition technology, or searches aliases to identify individuals who have left both personal and professional footprints across the globe. This is especially relevant with individuals who have common names and thus identification matching is needed to verify the person under analysis.

One example of verification of an individual’s identity can be seen with Intelligo’s Clarity platform. One client, a Joshua Schiller (name changed to protect the integrity of the report), had appeared clean upon initial review. However, the company’s AI algorithm found that Joshua’s full name was Cory Joshua Schiller and that contrary to previous belief, he and his business partner were listed as defendants in many court cases. Schiller was also convicted of mail fraud in the 1980’s and spent eight years in jail.


Key Takeaways

Artificial Intelligence is enhancing the process of screening and background checks beyond what could have ever imagined. Using millions of data points from various data structure forms around the world, AI can deliver accurate results in minutes, sometimes even seconds, essentially beating human beings to the retrieval of information. There’s no doubt that AI has revolutionized the due diligence industry and will continue to do so in the coming years. Not only has AI transformed the industry itself, but it has created terminal value for people operating in it. Increasing trust and transparency, reducing virtual noise, and conducting searches that individuals can feel confident about are only a few of the many benefits that AI has provided.

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