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Robot ready for border duty

"It can even tell when you’re curling your toes."

A San Diego State University professor has developed a robotic customs agent he says "is fully ready for implementation" at border crossings worldwide.

The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time (AVATAR), according to a university release is already being tested by Canadian border officials.

"AVATAR is a kiosk, much like an airport check-in or grocery store self-checkout kiosk,” SDSU management information systems professor Aaron Elkins told the university's NewsCenter. "However, this kiosk has a face on the screen that asks questions of travelers and can detect changes in physiology and behavior during the interview. The system can detect changes in the eyes, voice, gestures and posture to determine potential risk. It can even tell when you’re curling your toes."

It's uncertain how the new technology will compare to more traditional lie detectors, whose accuracy has long been called into question. According to the American Psychological Association:

"An underlying problem is theoretical: There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception. An honest person may be nervous when answering truthfully and a dishonest person may be non-anxious."

Elkins is looking for further organizations with which to partner, saying the technology could be useful in law enforcement and even job interviews or other human resources-related fields.

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A San Diego State University professor has developed a robotic customs agent he says "is fully ready for implementation" at border crossings worldwide.

The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time (AVATAR), according to a university release is already being tested by Canadian border officials.

"AVATAR is a kiosk, much like an airport check-in or grocery store self-checkout kiosk,” SDSU management information systems professor Aaron Elkins told the university's NewsCenter. "However, this kiosk has a face on the screen that asks questions of travelers and can detect changes in physiology and behavior during the interview. The system can detect changes in the eyes, voice, gestures and posture to determine potential risk. It can even tell when you’re curling your toes."

It's uncertain how the new technology will compare to more traditional lie detectors, whose accuracy has long been called into question. According to the American Psychological Association:

"An underlying problem is theoretical: There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception. An honest person may be nervous when answering truthfully and a dishonest person may be non-anxious."

Elkins is looking for further organizations with which to partner, saying the technology could be useful in law enforcement and even job interviews or other human resources-related fields.

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Comments
2

You know someone spent hours coming up with a name for the device that, abbreviated, spells 'avatar.' Maybe days.

Jan. 6, 2017

I, for one, welcome our new customs overlords

Jan. 7, 2017

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