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Friday, March 1, 2013

Are Lie-Detector Kiosks The Future Of Border Security?

An image from a demonstration of the Embodied Avatar, by BORDERS, the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Arizona. (screenshot)

An image from a demonstration of the Embodied Avatar, from a video by BORDERS, the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Arizona.

Imagine going to the U.S. border with Mexico, and instead of talking to a border agent, you talk to a machine.

It asks you questions like “What’s your full name” and “Are you a citizen of the United States.”

All the while, the machine is monitoring different aspects of your behavior: how your eyes are moving, how your voice changes, how you pause between answers, how you fidget.

Taking these markers together, the machine – called an Embodied Avatar kiosk – can determine whether or not you’re being truthful.

This is the cutting edge of research in deception detection, which remains a surprisingly mysterious field, even though we’ve been building lie detectors for almost a hundred years.

Would you be on board with this technology at airports and border crossings?
Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.

Guest:

  • Adam Higginbotham, journalist based in New York whose work has appeared in publications including Wired magazine, The New Yorker and Men’s Journal.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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