Doug Bedell — August 27, 2012, 11:06 am

AVATAR Takes Stock of Truthfulness

Here’s a glimpse of the possible security future – call it “Elvis scanning”. CNN has a story on an AVATAR kiosk being tested in Arizona that questions border crossers face-to-face.  The virtual “official” was developed by researchers at the University of Arizona. It’s “AVATAR” name stands for “Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in  Real-Time”. It’s been nicknamed “Elvis” for short.

You answer questions asked by the AVATAR system and the system signals when you make an uneasy response, if  you do. Unusual responses aren’t a sure sign of a lie; they just insure a traveler of further, direct questioning. “There might be valid reasons for it (a suspect response) beyond deception,” says one of AVATAR’s developers. We would think so, but don’t relish having a chat with an automaton in any event.

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