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Will AI Take Over From The Polygraph?

Friday 1 June 2018

Whatever your thoughts on polygraphs, there’s no denying the results of using a lie detector test in our Surrey-based investigations. Polygraphs, as you may know, measure blood pressure, pulse and other physiological changes, which can indicate when a person is lying, however, it has long been documented that if a person is overly nervous for some reason unrelated to the lie itself, it may skew the results. Likewise, some are able to pass the conditions of a polygraph test without the truth coming to the surface.

However, with an accuracy figure over 90 per cent according to some, a lie detector test can be a great catalyst for bringing an investigation to a head. In cases of cheating partners, for example, the results (or even the threat of) a lie detector test will undoubtedly reveal the truth one way or the other, and they remain a very important tool in a detective’s arsenal.

Yet, with limited admissibility in court, a gap in the market opened up for a new lie-detector technology which will have a wider range of applications.

Enter AI. Now being tested in the US, Canada and in the EU, a new system called AVATAR is being used at border crossings, asking questions about the likes of produce or weapons and digitally scanning response.

According to Fast Company, it can detect changes in the eyes, voice,  or gestures and posture, including being able to tell when a subject is curling his or her toes. However, at present, accuracy only sits at between 60 and 80 per cent for AI lie detectors, so polygraphs remain the best way forward for now.