Spy office launches ‘trust’ contest

A top spy agency is launching a challenge contest “to advance understanding of human interactions that involve trust and trustworthiness.”

The effort announced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Thursday is meant to help the agency determine who can be trusted for intelligence missions.

“Trust plays a fundamental role in many human relationships, organizations, and behaviors,” Adam Russell, program manager of the office's advanced research projects office, said in a statement. 

“Knowing who can be trusted is essential for everyday interactions and is especially vital for many Intelligence Community (IC) missions and organizations. Improving this capability to know whom to trust could have profound benefits for the IC, as well as for society in general.”

The contest, called Instinct, will evaluate different algorithms that look at data about a person and predict whether a partner is likely to trust them. It is being conducted in a partnership with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

Developers of the algorithm with the most accurate predictions will win $25,000. The prizes for second and third place are $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.

The initiative follows a 2010 program that sought to develop new tools and technology for detecting when people can be trusted, even under stress, or when they are being deceptive. That Trust program created neural, behavioral and other data that are being used for the Instinct challenge.

The deadline for submissions is May 5.