EU Airports Are Testing New AI Lie Detectors to Spot Suspicious Passengers

Monday, 05 November 2018 - 12:10PM
Technology
Artificial Intelligence
Monday, 05 November 2018 - 12:10PM
EU Airports Are Testing New AI Lie Detectors to Spot Suspicious Passengers
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Composite from Pixabay
Despite all the scientists, futurists, and tech leaders warning the world to carefully control the development of artificial intelligence, a new initiative in EU airports is beginning to train a seemingly under-prepared artificial intelligence to handle border crossings, including spotting which travelers are lying to it. The system is called iBorderCtrl, and it's already stirred up considerable controversy.

According to the official website for iBorderCtrl, the goal of the system is to "enable faster and thorough border control for third country nationals crossing the land borders of EU Member States (MS), with technologies that adopt the future development of the Schengen Border Management." To clarify, the Schengen Area is a group of EU countries that have essentially abolished their internal borders, allowing international travelers to move freely between countries. One of the big concerns, however, is making sure that the people enter the Schengen Area have legitimate business there.

iBorderCtrl is meant to verify people coming in by asking them to repeat their name, date of birth, and other essential information to make sure it matches up to their documents, but its lie detector feature is what's really concerning: the system uses facial markers to judge whether a person's telling the truth, and the system has only been trained on 32 people so far. Though the research team hopes for 85% accuracy when it comes to detecting lies, critics point out that the whole idea seems woefully ill-conceived.

"Traditional lie detectors have a troubling history of incriminating innocent people," says Frederike Kaltheuner, of Privacy International. "There is no evidence that AI is going to fix that — especially a tool that has been tested in 32 people. Even seemingly small error rates mean that thousands of people now have to prove that they are honest people, just because some software said they are liars."

Fortunately for EU travelers, the iBorderCtrl system is only currently being implemented in airports in Hungary, Latvia and Greece, and travelers need to sign a consent form to face the AI.
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