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Global Intelligence Summit - Takeaway #4, Technology, Analysis & COVID-19

Posted By AIRIP President, Friday, October 16, 2020
Our final Global Intelligence Summit takeaway stems from Day Two's Technology, Analysis and COVID-19 panel:  
These breakout sessions had great participation from AIRIP members from a number of industries, to include banking, professional sports & entertainment, pharmaceuticals, and public sector organizations. Many participants explained that their companies and organizations were now operating relatively efficiently in the virtual world. Some were quicker than others to react to the pandemic; those that were better positioned for the move to virtual work had already incorporated technologies into the business operations. Some companies had created policies and procedures to facilitate employees with family care responsibilities, telecommuters, etc. The majority of contributors cited technologies that allowed teams to communicate amongst themselves, and with other business units. One challenge cited was the cost of changing platforms - more from an emotional aspect than a financial one. Technology platforms can be very "sticky" and teams may be reluctant to change once they become familiar with them. Another challenge in the post-pandemic world will be how companies decide to balance collaboration between the real and virtual environments. Some people will like the flexibility of continuing to work from home, while others will want what they view as a productive office environment and separation from their homelife. This will surely be an interesting dilemma that every company and individual will need to work through in the coming years. 

The conversations gravitated to discussions on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other more advanced technologies. Most analysts agreed that their careers were not immediately threatened by AI/ML, rather these technologies would change the way intelligence analysis was performed. Ideally, big data will be better aggregated into a way where analysts can spend more time actually analyzing, opposed to searching and sifting through data. It was noted that there may be a natural cultural/organizational resistance among some to: learn how to use these technologies; fear of programming/coding, fear of being replaced/downsized by technology; and fear of having to switch to a new technology once they learn one. Success stories were shared by some; for example, two participants described how they learned basic Python coding to simplify data sorting. They explained how they committed several (many!) hours to teach themselves an algorithm that now saves an average of 20 minutes per day, every day. Anecdotes like these motivated others to join in and share other examples of how adopting new technologies was benefiting their teams. 

Ethics was identified as a necessary item to monitor as AI/ML is further utilized. For example, teams may be required to ensure that big data is not manipulated in a way that could be construed as bias towards particular groups or individuals, or could be viewed as an invasion of privacy by customers, employees, or others. One participant provided an anecdote of how an intelligence team learned that AI/ML had aggregated data and focused on particular groups. The team quickly resolved the issue and deleted the data; it was a valuable lesson learned for future algorithms and analysis. 


Thank you to breakout session moderators Mike Mallard and Melissa Zellner!

Tags:  AIRIP  Biological Disasters  Covid-19  Ethics  Global Intelligence Summit  Information Sharing  Risk Intelligence 

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Importance of Thoughtful, Systematic Analysis

Posted By AIRIP President, Wednesday, June 24, 2020
A few weeks back, I was listening to an episode of the "You Are Not So Smart" podcast. As the podcast progressed, I found myself thinking, "wow, how relevant" and "what a great conversation piece surrounding divisiveness on really, any issue." Then, near the end of the episode, I asked myself "what could this mean for the risk intelligence professional?" A few things crossed my mind, but I needed to go to the experts...
Maria Robson, a PhD Candidate, Lecturer and Intelligence Professional, graciously accepted my ask for her thoughts regarding my question as it relates to this podcast episode: 
"As analysts, we always have to be aware of the potential for the way we phrase questions to influence the answers we get back. When teaching research and analytical techniques, and when surveying intelligence professionals (including AIRIP members!) I choose my wording carefully to avoid priming or framing effects. But despite these efforts, I know that every word choice will inevitably affect the responses. This is important for asking others questions, and also for reflecting on our own assessments, as we may have been primed or framed by our environment or experiences. The dress discussion, however, gets at systematic influences, or internal differences, that can lead us to different perceptions of seemingly objective phenomena, such as color. Political psychologists (such as Robert Jervis) have explored the potential for personal experiences to shape intelligence analysts' perceptions. Pascal Wallisch's work on the dress raises the concerning prospect that apparently objective questions (such as the color of your socks in a photo) can be answered differently based on the respondent's past experiences. And this may, alarmingly, include habitual behavior that we would expect to be uncorrelated, such as whether we're early birds or night owls. If we can disagree about colors, this underscores the importance of thoughtful, systematic analysis for questions that already involve a high level of subjectivity." 
Check out the podcast and let us know your thoughts!

Tags:  AIRIP  Code of Conduct  Ethics  Professional Development  Risk Intelligence 

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AIRIP Launches Code of Conduct

Posted By Rachel Bode | AIRIP CEO, Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Risk Intelligence Trade Association

Ethics in intelligence is not usually a thought that gets a lot of serious attention, and intelligence tends to have a bad reputation on this topic. Events even in the news during the past few weeks show that governments and other organizations will go to extreme measures to gather intelligence if the conditions allow, and if the value of the intelligence is perceived great enough.

That said, often organizations, including governments, can gather extremely valuable information via ethical, responsible and open means. Growth in the Open Source intelligence collection capabilities and staff within the United States Intelligence Community, and numerous intelligence successes attributed to open source collection, show that the covert and clandestine methods of spy lore are no longer the only way to gather valuable info.

In addition, the scrutiny that the public places on organizations – governments, non-profits, and for-profit entities alike – can be a deterrent to some types of collection that may have been considered status quo in the past. Companies that employ intelligence analysts (and our ranks are growing) should be concerned with the sources and methods used by their analysts. A bad choice by an analyst or intelligence manager can have serious negative consequences on an organization’s reputation, stock price, and safety of personnel.

AIRIP was founded on the principle that there can be ethics in intelligence collection, and that there should be a standard for organizations to use as they develop and mature intelligence programs.

Without a professional standard, analysts could be asked to do unethical things in the name of collection, and the actions of intelligence professionals could seriously harm the reputation of the organizations where they work. Analysts need a professional standard to point to when unscrupulous colleagues ask for information to be collected in ways that could harmful to themselves, their colleagues or their organization. Analysts also need a guide on how to protect themselves when collecting information in the open source world.

For these reasons, AIRIP is proud to introduce the Risk Intelligence Code of Conduct. This was presented to members on October 28, 2015 via webinar with two experts in the field speaking in support of the code of conduct. The webinar was attended by over half of AIRIP’s current membership, and polls at the beginning and end of the webinar showed overwhelming support for the Code of Conduct as written.

We hope that members and non-members will use this Code of Conduct to discuss and enact ethical intelligence collection within their organizations, and form a basis for their own Codes of Conduct.

Tags:  code of conduct  ethics  Risk Intelligence 

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