IN THE film “Superman 3”, a lowly computer programmer (played by Richard Pryor, pictured) embezzles a fat wad of money from his employer. The boss laments that it will be hard to catch the thief, because “he won’t do a thing to call attention to himself. Unless, of course, he is a complete and utter moron.” Just then the thief screeches into the car park in a brand new red sports car, radio blaring.
In the real world, embezzlers are seldom so obvious. The traditional way to snare them is to hire an accountant to scrutinise accounts for anomalies. But this is like looking for a contact lens in a snowdrift. So firms are turning to linguistic software to narrow the search.