Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Tuesday, January 20, 2004  

Pants on Fire

I wonder about the use of new lie detector devices in politics and daily life rather than in terror defense and law enforcement.

Besides lie detection, Watson said, the technology "can also measure for other emotions like anxiety, fear or even love." Indeed V Entertainment offers Pocket PC "love detector" software that can attach to a phone line or work from recorded tapes.

The technology delivers not only a true/false reading, but a range of high-level parameters, such as "thinking level," which measures how much as subject has thought about an answer they give, and "SOS level," which assesses how badly a person doesn't want to talk about a subject.

Nemesysco's patented Poly-Layered Voice Analysis measures 18 parameters of speech in real-time for interrogators at police, military and secret-services agencies. According to Nemesysco, its accuracy as a lie detector has proven to be less important than its ability to more quickly pinpoint for interrogators where there are problems in a subject's story. Officers then can zero in much more quickly with their traditional interrogation techniques.

Called Ex-Sense Pro, the V software measures voice for a variety of parameters including deception, excitement, stress, mental effort, concentration, hesitation, anger, love and lust. It works prerecorded, over the phone and live, the company said.

Besides some cable channel running a "liar's" graph during a campaign debate or press conference, imagine all the people wanting to know what their spouses or enamorata are actually feeling when they speak to them; parents testing their children's honesty; employers evaluating employees statements and vice versa.

Is it that far fetched that people will equip themselves with these tools? Imagine the social effects? Will we thus employ countermeasures such as voice disguising electronics?

And what of those parts of the world where lying, duplicity, and deception are part and parcel of culture such as Eastern Europe, and the Arab muslim world? Will such cultures be forced to change their manner and behavior?

Can lie detectors (or their use which induces fear and belief in them) make people speak more truthfully? It would make an interesting experiment to engage some town of people in different places in the world to adopt such technology for a time to see what they do.

The sci-fi scenarios that such a thing conjures are endless ranging not just in dystopias, but to utopias where people are fundamentally altered for the good because they cannot lie.

Yet, as the history of religion (and communism) shows, trying to force people into becoming good against their will has never worked.

Still, the conumdrums, dilemmas, and challenge that such devices pose to society lead me to suppose the Spockian response - "fascinating."

posted by Mark Butterworth | 12:40 PM |