Not carrying weapons, dangerous chemicals, or explosives onto a plane used to make airport security happy. Not any longer. Soon non-EU passengers at border checkpoints in Hungary, Latvia, and Greece will have to undergo lie detector tests, answering questions via webcam before being allowed to pass. Using artificial intelligence, the machines will analyze microexpressions to determine a passenger’s truthfulness. The beta testing of this new technology will go live later this month, though border guards will also be present just in case a security threat needs to be addressed.
Passengers considered “low-risk” will only be subjected to basic questions, like name, birthday, and cause for travel, while “high-risk” travelers may have a more intensive interrogation. The criteria for determining “high” and “low” risk travelers has not been released.
The new measure already has its critics, however. Frederike Kaltheuner, data program lead at Privacy International, told CNN Travel that the beta test is “part of a broader trend towards using opaque, and often deficient, automated systems to judge, assess, and classify people.” She added that “traditional lie detectors have a troubling history of incriminating innocent people. There is no evidence that AI is going to fix that.”
The system is only projected to have an 85 percent success rate. Indeed, research from the American Psychological Association determined that there is a large margin of error when it comes to lie detectors tests (also known as polygraphs), and “there is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception.”
In the initial beta test, the lie detectors will only be used on passengers who give their written consent.