University of Arizona researchers are developing an artificial intelligence-based customs security system that would ask travelers questions and analyze their answers to determine their threat level.
The AVATAR kiosk analyzes 400 to 500 psychophysiological and behavioral cues, such as body movement, speech patterns, eye movement, and pupil dilation.
"It's clear that we need some form of automation to accommodate increasing border traffic," says Arizona doctoral student Doug Derrick.
In a test, the AVATAR kiosk was set up at a European Union border patrol station in Warsaw, and test subjects put fake bombs in suitcases and tried to pass through the kiosk undetected. All of the fake bombers were found, but some innocent test subjects also were implicated by the system.
The researchers are now trying to determine the best avatar for the system. The researchers say the neutral male avatar was the most powerful, while the female avatar was viewed as more likable.
"The avatar will have access to information that will allow for a more robust interview," Derrick says. "For example, if someone scans an Italian passport, the avatar will address the person in Italian."
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