Trinity researchers receive funding to build AI-driven ethics platform

19 Sep 2023

From left: Prof Laurent Muzellec, Trinity Business School; Nessa McEniff, Learnovate; Dr Daniel Malan, IntegrityIQ; Michelle Olmstead, Trinity Innovation & Enterprise; and Tom Pollock, Learnovate. Image: Paul Sharp

The IntegrityIQ platform will be used to train employees of large corporations in ethical dilemmas through a simulation.

A team of researchers at Trinity College Dublin has secured funding to build an AI platform that addresses failings of ethics and compliance which are causing financial losses for large multinationals, as revealed yesterday (18 September).

The IntegrityIQ platform – which will be a spin-out of Trinity Business School (TBS) – will provide an immersive environment for employees of large corporations to share “perceptions about integrity risks and corporate culture”, as well as improve their ethical decision-making skills in a “simulated corporate environment”. This will be done through the use of virtual avatars similar to their own employee profiles, which will deal with a series of ethical dilemmas within a simulation.

The platform will also facilitate the process of making protected disclosures – otherwise known as whistleblowing – and will capture relevant data in real time for internal and external reporting processes.

The team behind the AI-driven platform have received funding of €365,000 through Enterprise Ireland’s Commercialisation Fund and will be supported by the Learnovate Centre through the provision of its innovation services team to build the product, as well as handling recruitment and resource management.

Various global companies have reportedly shown interest and support for the project, with claims that some of these companies have expressed interest in participating in pilots of the new software.

Dr Daniel Malan, director of the Trinity Corporate Governance Lab at TBS and founder of IntegrityIQ, claimed that the platform “fills a gap in the market”.

“Many large multinational companies struggle with ethics and compliance training. They incur huge losses every year as a result of fraud, corruption and unethical behaviour,” he said.

“Companies are always looking for innovative ways to address these risks.”

One such incident of financial loss due to ethical failures occurred last year, when 16 Wall Street institutions were fined $1.8bn for not monitoring how staff used their phones to message about work. As a result of failing to preserve the majority of these communications, the US Securities and Exchange Commission stated that the firms violated federal securities laws.

Tom Pollock, commercial development manager at Learnovate, said that the IntegrityIQ project aligns with Learnovate’s areas of expertise in immersive learning, adding that the project has “impact”.

“Every day in the news you hear how unethical behaviour has a negative impact on organisations, and this is a chance to really make a difference in that space.”

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Colin Ryan is a copywriter/copyeditor at Silicon Republic