Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 23 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Pio of Pietrelcina
home iconIssues & Implications
line break icon

Artificial intelligence thinks it can detect if you’re telling the truth


Jiuguang Wang | CC BY SA 2.0

Josep Lluís Micó - published on 12/29/17

Universities and companies are perfecting artificial intelligence and augmented reality systems to reliably discover when someone is lying.

The right combination of artificial intelligence and augmented reality could put and end to lies. That is the ambitious working hypothesis of several different teams of scientists, businesses, and institutions that have committed themselves to fighting deception by means of technology, so as to assure the safety of citizens around the world. The ethical debate resulting from these innovations is as complex as the mechanisms that must be applied to achieve this objective. Be that as it may, the first steps in this direction are being taken by means of devices that are as practical and affordable as smart phones and smart glasses.

Traditional lie detecting machines—that is to say, polygraphs—measure breathing, blood pressure, and other physiological indicators to detect levels of stress in those who are being interrogated. As this technique is controversial and not very precise, the results that they provide—always interpreted by an expert in the use of these expensive devices—are not admitted as reliable proof by the justice systems of many countries. The digital alternative under development is based on gestures, eye movements, tone of voice, etc.

Unlike the complex polygraphs, these experiments are based on devices that are as practical and affordable as smart phones and smart glasses.

If there are artificial intelligence systems capable of detecting how people feel based on video footage, why couldn’t they also unmask people who are lying? Human is a British company dedicated precisely to doing both things, using mobile phones. Its business is oriented towards identifying fraud, analyzing client satisfaction, and assisting in the process of vetting future employees. Another similar company, Converus (in the United States), sells an article called EyeDetect, which observes the dilation of the pupils to know when someone is lying. Its success rate is near 90 percent.

Besides various banks and human resources services, there are already public security forces that are clients of the company. Their reasoning is obvious. For example, the moment that a customs agent asks an airplane passenger about the purpose of his trip, he could be hiding his true motivation, if he is afraid of being suspected of some crime or infraction. However, if the passenger is scrutinized by one of these devices, he might not be able to deceive or confuse his interrogator. In fact, its technically possible for this person not even to realize that he’s being examined.

The EyeDetect method, which observes the dilation of the pupils to know when someone is lying, has a success rate of near 90 percent.

Investigators at the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Arizona and the Department of National Security of the United States have initiated a project—the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR)—which consists in placing visitors in front of a structure that looks like an ATM, asking them questions, and uncovering their lies.

The next phase in the evolution of these technologies will be the incorporation of this functionality into environments or tools that will not require that those who use them have any special training. Quanta Computer, one of the manufacturers that produces devices for Apple, is in conversations with with the Israeli company Lumas Ltd. to have the latter produce lenses for smart glasses. Until now, no executive of the tech industry giant has confirmed that they are going to explore this avenue in the near future. In any case, negotiations of this kind provide abundant clues regarding the relevance and transcendence of this phenomenon.

Researchers in Arizona have invented a kind of ATM that asks questions at customs points and uncovers travelers’ lies.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Philip Kosloski
Why do some Eastern Catholics use spoons for Holy Communion?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.