Using AI to Identify the Resistance

Last month the New York Times published a now famous op-ed from someone within President Trump’s administration.  The piece led to a hunt for the “member of the resistance” and denials by major political figures.  Watching this unfold I began to wonder whether Artificial Intelligence could have identified the author.  I have applied machine learning to all sorts of pattern recognition problems and this seemed like just another example.

TELEGRID is a market leader in the field of behavioral biometrics which includes voice recognition.  Voice recognition utilizes subtle nuances in a user’s speech pattern to perform user verification or identification.  This field is widely researched and several technologies have made their way into commercial products.  For instance, last year, Amazon announced that Alexa could differentiate between voices.

If we can perform speaker identification then author identification is not a big leap.  Handwriting recognition, which uses optical character recognition, has also been around for a long time and is used widely in the banking industry for signature verification.

But what about text that is not handwritten, is there enough difference in authors’ styles to identify them?

Stylometry is the identification of linguistic style in written language.  While around for hundreds of years, it was not until 1964 that Mosteller and Wallace applied statistical modeling to identify the authors of the Federalist Papers.  This began the application of machine learning to author identification of other classic literature and even tweets.

The results of this research have been positive but the lack of a valid business case has limited the technology’s penetration.  For instance while it might be interesting to find out if someone forged their college essay, it is doubtful that Universities will pay for it.  One potential market is artist verification for auction houses.  While not linguistic, perhaps this will be the market that helps the development of author identification.


Eric Sharret is Vice President of Business Development at TELEGRID.  TELEGRID has unique expertise in secure authentication, behavioral biometrics, PKI, Multi-Factor Authentication, and secure embedded systems.


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