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September 22, 2005

A Better Lie Detector

I remember seeing a short movie on something like this when I was in high school. The idea was fanciful then, but it's becoming more of a reality.

BRAIN-SCANNING techniques that test whether people are telling the truth could soon be sufficiently reliable to be used to interrogate criminals.

Neuroscientists developing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a tool for detecting lies believe the technology is nearly ready for use beyond the laboratory.

A team at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a way of reading fMRI scans that is claimed to be capable of telling lies from the truth with 99 per cent accuracy.

The question in the movie was, would this run afoul of the 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination? It's possible. The main question is; what was the purpose of a such a protection? As such, would a device like this protect us from the abuses that the 5th Amendment does? It's a very interesting idea, being able to get the truth for sure, but could it be abused and manipulated, giving bad information the credentials of good information because "the machine said so"?

Tough questions.

Posted by Doug at September 22, 2005 03:21 PM

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