AVATAR Robotic Kiosk Ready To Detect Lies In Travelers

avatar-robotic-kioskBy Suzanne Finch

Activist Post Editor’s Note: Despite the happy spin put on this research, this is one of the cornerstones to the new pre-crime world we are embarking upon. It’s an inversion of the American principle that you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Now, an algorithmic overlord will decide who is presumed to be guilty and should have their travel restricted … or worse. Notice, too, that this system is not intended to stop only at border control — which might be an area that even the liberty-minded could accede to — additional uses mentioned include “law enforcement, job interviews and other human resources applications…” According to these researchers, the unit is ready to deploy, they are merely waiting for it to be accepted by the government. What could possibly go wrong?


When you engage in international travel, you may one day find yourself face-to-face with border security that is polite, bilingual and responsive—and robotic.

The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time (AVATAR) is currently being tested in conjunction with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to help border security agents determine whether travelers coming into Canada may have undisclosed motives for entering the country.

“AVATAR is a kiosk, much like an airport check-in or grocery store self-checkout kiosk,” said San Diego State University management information systems professor Aaron Elkins. “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.”

Here’s how it would work: Passengers would step up to the kiosk and be asked a series of questions such as, “Do you have fruits or vegetables in your luggage?” or “Are you carrying any weapons with you?” Eye-detection software and motion and pressure sensors would monitor the passengers as they answer the questions, looking for tell-tale physiological signs of lying or discomfort. The kiosk would also ask a series of innocuous questions to establish baseline measurements so people are just nervous about flying, for example, wouldn’t be unduly singled out.

Once the kiosk detected deception, they would flag those passengers for further scrutiny from human agents.

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Elkins began working on AVATAR when he was a Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona. As the deception detection project grew more advanced and more sensors were added, more data about the interviewee was analyzed.

When Elkins became an assistant professor at SDSU in the fall of 2016, his work moved with him. Here, he is in the process in completing construction of his lab where he plans to continue researching and teaching students about artificial intelligence.

“We’ve come to realize that this can be used not just for border security, but also for law enforcement, job interviews and other human resources applications as well,” Elkins said. “We continue to make improvements, such as analyzing the collected data using Big Data analysis techniques that make AVATAR a potentially valuable tool across many industries.”

In the meantime, Elkins is looking for a government agency willing to utilize the technology in a real-world application.

“AVATAR has been tested in labs, in airports and at border crossing stations,” Elkins noted. “The system is fully ready for implementation to help stem the flow of contraband, thwart fleeing criminals, and detect potential terrorists and many other applications in the effort to secure international borders.”

Source: San Diego State University

Image Credit: Aaron Elkins


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12 Comments on "AVATAR Robotic Kiosk Ready To Detect Lies In Travelers"

  1. I would refuse to have a conversation with a computer.

  2. Grace by Faith on yt | December 28, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Reply

    Who do they think they’re fooling? Standard lie detector machines do the same thing these do and their results are not admissible in court, so why do they think any results they spit out would be usable in any legal way? They don’t, because they know they wouldn’t be. But what these machines could do is trick us into giving evidence against ourselves which is how their admiralty law operates.

    This machine isn’t designed to find out if anyone is lying about having fruit or veg in their bags, it’s to go fishing into our consciences to find a way to contract with us so they can then charge us for/with something. They also need to condition us to comply with more and more intrusive screenings for everything we do, with maybe even some pre-crime penalties tossed in for good measure. “You flinched on that last question about why you’re entering this (fill in blank) which shows deception, so you’ll have to fill out this form and give us more detailed information.” (Hint: Form = signature = contract = jurisdictional trap = the only way they can profit from us.)

    They also know it’s neither illegal nor unlawful to lie to a machine which is further proof this is nothing more than another one of their fraudulent tricks.

    • Lie detectors work from galvanic skin response, and some include blood pressure and heart. People who deliberately beat lie detector machines were trained to do so, showing how fallible machines are. Once the machines are in use, they will make it a crime to lie to a machine. Brush up on Orwell’s 1984. It’s all in there.

      • Grace by Faith on yt | December 29, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Reply

        I’m very brushed up on 1984, thanks anyway, and in Orwell’s world, there is no admiralty law like we have in real life. So they will never be able to make it a crime to lie to a machine because a machine is not a corporation, and in this world corporations (we are individual legal entities/corporations) may only interact (pay, reward, charge, fine, sue, punish, judge, cage) with other corporations. Machines are property, so unless there is damage caused to the machine, they can’t legislate a crime against it. Machines are not agents of the government, they hold no legal status, they are property of the government and they will never cross over to “agent” status gaining corporate privilege because it’s impossible. Even in their admiralty nightmare of a legal system, they will have a VERY tough time pulling off any legislation like that, and if they somehow do, it will be null at the get-go, and the law states we can and should ignore legal nullities – they can’t squirm around that legal maxim and they know it.

  3. The potus should be placed in front of the kiosk.
    It would short circuit in the first second.

  4. I have the right to remain silent.!!

  5. Do I have to uncross my eyes first?

  6. It’s got to be an improvement over dealing with arrogant Canadian Border Agents, most of whom are perfectly willing to steal money from your car, pack back or purse. A number of private and public entities have been using voice analyzing equipment for years. Lots is known about body language. However, what doesn’t justify this kind of machinery for me is the misplaced belief system that goes along with it.

  7. Of compulsory use for politicians.

  8. Sounds like a Tom Cruise movie. Are the “Precogs” (Minority Report) behind the glass or that wall?? Glad I never have to fly…

  9. How about testing the kiosk on G.Bush and his crew and 9/11 details? Or how about testing the kiosk on a medical doctor prescribing vaccinations for a new born? Or on a scientist writing an article about ‘science’ paid by specific interests group, like biotech industry?? One indeed interesting experiment with that kiosk could involve the check of mind control power… But beyond all that, whoever funded the kiosk project so far (yeah, who was it?), should return the money to taxpayers, for really useful stuff and NOT FOR MORE ‘crime’ verification.. If there was such a law which would allow treat every traveler as a potential criminal, we’d have the lie detectors everywhere already..

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