Reducing Corruption with Technology

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Fraud and white-collar crime cost U.S. organizations more than $400 billion annually. Adopting some new technologies could help to greatly reduce the rampant trend.

Reducing Corruption with TechnologyAccording to the US Association of Fraud Examiners, Fraud and white-collar crime cost U.S. organizations more than $400 billion annually. The average organization loses more than $9 a day per employee to fraud and abuse.  The average organization loses about 6% of its total annual revenue to fraud and abuse committed by its own employees. Fraud and abuse cost U.S. organizations more than $400 billion annually. · The median loss per case caused by males is about $185,000; by females, about $48,000. In almost all cases, documentation fraud plays an integral part in the abuse. Indeed, the larger and more complex the company the more probability of fraud to occur. Even though companies normally have a “tight” auditing process in place, it gets back to garbage in; garbage out. Cunning minds that understand the audit track can learn how to short-circuit the system.

The worldwide effects of corruption raise the big question: is a certain segment of our species like cancer and corrupt at its core? Is it in our species DNA to game the system? Is Greed and corruption in the modern age now directly correlated with the primal drive for survival? When money is the key to survival, it may be way too easy to justify stepping across the ethical/moral line. Moreover, with Globalization and the ability to move illicit funds into “protected global locations” at the speed of light and provide a ready network for harboring the fruits of corruption and scamming a feasible business model.

Technology to the Rescue

New technologies can help control and create accountability for that very ruinous and expensive behavior. However, “where there is a will…there is a way” is the only thing missing from the ability to put a stop to much of the sophisticated corruption. As of now, the will seems to be lacking with regulators and the guardians of the public good. Consider just the two following technologies that could be game changers for the growing number of scoundrels creating a new dark industry.

Blockchain

Though a bit ironic, Blockchain is mostly associated with the rather shady reputation of cryptocurrencies. However, the need to create some sort of protection and confidence in such a thing as imaginary money required a way to trade with some sort of assurance that the transaction is transparent and open to some accountable actions if done fraudulently; at least for the transaction. Fraudsters have already found ways to cheat the cryptocurrency “investor.” However, the blockchain technology underlying the transaction of cryptocurrencies has tremendous validity for the tracking and security of  digital transactions. Indeed, the use of Blockchain has a much more practical application when it comes to important documentation as it identifies and cross-checks the continuity and validity of every step and action associated with any given transaction. In today’s digital world and instantaneous global transactions, a digital paper trail can be instrumental in providing a means for legal recourse and accountability in the courtroom or just within the corporate auditing function.

At its foundation, Blockchain provides a way of verifying actions and continuity of documentation. However, knowing our cunning species that has invented it, we wonder how long it might take before someone hacks that system?  But that said, the technology will provide a new form of providing at least a heightened level of risk and accountability that should help reduce digital fraud.

Magnetic Resonance Brain Scanning and Lie Detection

Magnetic resonance can see the brain in action and identify when a person is not telling-or hedging- the truth with at least a 98% accuracy. Of course, lie detectors have been around for a long time but did not prove itself worthy of identifying the “Truth” beyond a “reasonable” doubt. Once hacked, the device lost its deterrent effect. MRI and its new forms of technical evolution can provide a new and more accurate form of a deterrent as it is a much more sophisticated and complicated device to hack…at least for now.

Of course, one of the main arguments against the use of lie detection is it’s afront to our dignity. Lying and cheating or even the suspicion of such is seen as a negative trait and can ruin an innocent person’s life if improperly interpreted (or properly, too). But the temptation for cheating has become too great as the public values and complexities of our world can mask a motivated and knowledgeable perpetrator of ill intent. But corruption on many levels is public cancer eating at civilization, and it has many forms. Financial, political, and personal chicanery can cause great harm to society as a whole and as individuals. Corruption has grown as a direct consequence of the inability to catch and prosecute fraudsters. Just think what even half of the $400 billion in fraud could do for the common good? And that is just the USA! Perversely, the “top” rated corrupt nations of the world are not found in the “advanced, societies,” but the introduction of new technology has made it even easier for the power elite to rob their struggling nations of needed development capital. Seriously, corruption can and does cause the loss of life in the form of poor healthcare services, nutrition, and contamination.

Less politically correct when it comes to fraud and corruption

Perhaps most Americans would become insulted or even outraged by MRI truth testing being implied as a potential liar or cheat. But its hard to deny that lying has become almost  acceptable even at the highest levels of society. Indeed, the media has proclaimed “ the definition of the truth is now under attack.”

Truth testing as a requirement for certain positions

A solution for creating more deterrence and accountability would be to require certain  jobs that are involved with handling and directing funding to undergo regular MRI lie detection testing. As a fact, there are professions that require regular personal examinations in the name of the public interest. For example, all airline pilots must undergo semi-annual, detailed medical exams. If the exams show problems, the airline pilot’s job can be in jeopardy.Of course, that would not be illegal or a character flaw, but it is a requirement for the position. So, we could posit that if you want to hold an important position in a public company or a certain governmental position that can be influential in the transfer of funds, you would be regularly tested as just part of the job. Testing would just be part of the job description. The policy would increase the risk-reward considering corrupt actions.

The suggested technical applications to help curb the growing spread and cost of corruption needs some new approaches. Indeed, some (including the author) fee that we as a species may have a higher opinion of ourselves than we deserve. It appears that at this time, we still need some sort of accountability for malfeasance….at any level. Accountability and justice are of key importance for any society worth living in and the metrics suggest we are getting more incapable or reluctant of upholding those important factors and the judicious use of technology could be implemented to help discourage felonious activities  without becoming overly Orwellian….or could it?

In conclusion, technology such as ubiquitous CCTV, Blockchain, and Magnetic Resonance brain scanning are just a few of the existing inventory of technical applications to help mitigate the growing and expensive problem of fraud and corruption.

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