The US Department of Homeland Security has begun field testing new technology which it thinks can identify people who intend to commit a terrorist act, just by looking at them.
According to the magazine Nature, which we get for the spot the Schroedinger’s cat competition, the US spooks have been conducting tests of Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) in the past few months at an undisclosed location in the northeast of the US.
The gear apparently uses uses remote sensors to measure physiological properties, such as heart rate and eye movement.
It has been in development since 2008 and it apparently can tell your intent to cause harm.
It is all based on a form of witchdoctor psychology called behavioural science. These boffins have the cunning theory that someone with malintent may act strangely, show mannerisms out of the norm, or experience extreme physiological reactions based on the extent, time, and consequences of the event.
Homeland Security’s FAST technology design so that coppers can basically arrest anyone who looks them funny. So no change there then.
The DHS claimed the machine was accurate 70 percent of the time the other 30 percent will probably get out of Guantanamo Bay in a couple of years.
However some boffins think the gear will give shedloads of false positives.
Tom Ormerod, a psychologist in the Investigative Expertise Unit at Lancaster University, told Nature that even having an iris scan or fingerprint read at immigration isenough to raise the heart rate of most legitimate travellers.
In short, coming into Los Angeles Airport would turn Mother Theresa into a screaming psychopath, it does not mean that you are going to act on your impulses.