Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Things I Have Learned Recently: Virtual Polygraphy

Nothing says you are on top of things like keeping up on your jargon, so I was grateful to Chris Pentilla, otherwise known as the Workplace Diva, for her post Would You Take A Polygraph To Get A Job? and my first notice of "virtual polygraphy."

The term was taken from Michael Schrage's article on the Harvard Business Review Blog network (something else I learned about), The Future of Lie Detection in the Workplace.

Because Schrage is a research fellow at MIT, some of what he says is even too much jargon for me:
But the real revolution emerging is not the greater transparency of a LinkedIn here and the statistical significance of a "lie detection" algorithm there; it's their linkage, fusion and aggregation. Verification is becoming multimodal. Multimodal verification assures greater personal veracity. In other words, networking these technologies creates a rising deterrent to dishonesty. The odds dramatically increase that deceivers will be tripped up by their misrepresentations and mannerisms.
but I think I get the general idea.

More importantly, I think the bigger point is that it seems as if more and more of our fellow Americans are willing to bend the truth on things big as well as small.

Whether or not we can develop technology to cope with it is an interesting question, but the reasons why more people are willing to not tell the truth, if in fact that is correct, is an even more important question, one that causes for more soul searching.

Which reminds me that on my summer reading list was James B. Stewart's, Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff. 

Not much time left in the summer.

The effectiveness of virtual polygraphy depends on the intelligence of the individual moreso than their honesty. In preparation for a life of dishonesty, it is very simple to lie all over the virtual world if you're smart. It is the liar who didn't think this thru that will get snagged by virtual polygraphy.

Yes, the bigger issue is why people feel free to be dishonest. You know, Facebook almost trains people to present themselves as they would like, not as they necessarily are. It's like liars' school. Scary.
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