The truth, often elusive and ambiguous, now has a new ally after the glowing polygraph: artificial intelligence. At the Tokyo University of Science, a team of researchers has developed a machine learning model that promises to reveal deceptions through subtle variations in facial expressions and heartbeats. A new lie detector.
The study, published in Artificial Life and Robotics (I link it here) could revolutionize the way we approach the question of truthfulness in human interactions.
The evolution of the polygraph
For decades, the polygraph has been a key tool in attempting to discern truth from falsehood. But like any tool, even the "good old" lie detector has its limits. This is where the study by the Tokyo University of Science comes into play, pushing the boundaries of technology forward (perhaps too much) by combining the analysis of facial expressions with heart rate monitoring, all thanks to algorithms of artificial intelligence.
Facial expressions have always been regarded as a window to the soul. But decoding them is not always simple: small, almost imperceptible movements can reveal a world of emotions and intentions. AI, with its ability to analyze thousands of data points in fractions of a second, can recognize these subtle clues with an accuracy beyond human capabilities.
The beating of the heart: the 'real' lie detector
In addition to facial expressions, heartbeat offers another tool for probing a person's veracity. When we lie, our body reacts in subtle ways. Adrenaline can increase, as can our heart rate. This new machine learning model not only observes, but listen our hearts, looking for discrepancies that might indicate a lie.
The accuracy and F1 score for each subject varies from 75% to 80%, with the maximum accuracy around 87%.
With the advent of this technology, we may be facing a future where lying becomes increasingly difficult. Of course, this has very serious implications. The ethical question of privacy and consent will be at the center of the debate. The question is not to create a more transparent and honest world, but to prevent it from becoming a totalitarian nightmare.
Lies, lies, everywhere
I ask myself and I ask you a perhaps rhetorical but compelling question: do we really want a world in which every little lie is revealed? There is too thin a thread that separates truth and social stability. So subtle that many do not see it, or "enlarge" it ideologically.
As often happens, the truth lies somewhere in between, and once the Genie is "unleashed", there is no way to get it back into the bottle. Even those who wish for a hyper-transparent world should be very careful what they wish for.