If you’re at an airport or border crossing in the next few years, you could possibly find yourself answering questions asked by a surly artificial intelligence with very little tolerance for lying.
According to a recent report, the United States, Canada, and the European Union are all said to be testing out new technology involving lie-detecting computer kiosks, which uses the latest A.I. tech to determine whether a person is trying to deceive officials.
While facial-recognition technology has been used as a security system in airports for at least the past decade, this proposed A.I. kiosk — like a more officious Siri or Google Assistant with the power to flag you as a possible cause for concern — goes further than simple face-matching. To make its judgments, the lie-detecting technology incorporates smart image recognition to spot signs of potential shiftiness. This includes giveaway eye movements, vocal changes, odd posture, or facial movements. According to a CNBC report, the technology is up 80 percent accurate when it comes to spotting potential deceit, which it a better hit ratio than that of human agents employed to carry out this task. Humans, by comparison, score between 54 and 60 percent when carrying out these judgments.
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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security first funded this research for a virtual border agent around six years ago. The Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) project was carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Arizona. It was tested at the U.S.-Mexico border on travelers who volunteered to participate in the study. In a report describing the 2011-2012 trial, the AVATAR technology was described as being potentially useful for processing citizenship, asylum, and refugee applications as a way to reduce backlogs. Similar systems have also been tested by other countries.
President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget request for Homeland Security includes a $223 million sum intended for “high-priority infrastructure, border security technology improvements.” An additional $210.5 million covers the hiring of new border agents. While the timeline for technology such as AVATAR to be rolled out is not clear, it would certainly make sense for tech such as this to factor into future plans.
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Mozambique: Government set to impose license fees for local journalists.
Mozambican government has announced plans to introduce license fees for local and foreign journalists.
Local correspondents will pay $2,500 per trip for media accreditation while foreign correspondents living in Mozambique will be charged $8,300 per year.
Mozambican journalists reporting for foreign news outlets will be required to pay $3,500 for an annual accreditation.
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This is 50 times more than the country’s statutory minimum wage, estimated at around $70 per month.
The plan fees have attracted serious criticism as the move has been viewed as an apparent attempt to discourage reporting from the country.
Mozambique’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has warned that the imposition of licensing fees on the country’s mass media must not compromise the fundamental right of the public to information.
In a statement, the CNDH, added its voice to the chorus of criticism of the proposed fees.
It conceded that the government has the right to update licensing and accreditation fees, but said such a measure should not undermine the right to information.
The CNDH points out that the current legal framework on access to information “takes as its guidelines the greatest divulging of information and free access to information… In other words, access to information is a matter of public interest and this access should be promoted and facilitated”.
It added: “The legal framework meant that the relevant state bodies must take measures to promote the broadest possible access to information”.
CNDS also warns that the enormous fees imposed by the July decree are not in line with the guidelines contained in the legal instruments on the right to information that are in force in the country.
The justification given for the fees is that they are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the sector – but none of the money raised by the fees will go to the media.
The decree states that 60 percent of the money from the fees will go to the state budget, and the remaining 40 per cent will go to the government’s press office (Gabinfo).
Meanwhile, the government is showing signs of backing down.
On Tuesday, its spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, said the decree will be discussed with interested parties before its implementation.
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South Africa: Man cleared of rape after 13 years in jail
After 13 years behind bars in Westville Prison, Njabulo Ndlovu will become a free man after being acquitted of rape at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Durban.
The 35-year-old uMlazi man was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of the 2002 gang rape of a pregnant woman who knew him as they went to the same school and their fathers had worked together.
He was 19 and a second-year student at the University of Durban-Westville (today the University of KwaZulu-Natal) at the time. He testified during the trial that he had been nowhere near the place where the gang rape took place.
During the trial, three of the five accused were discharged due to lack of evidence, while Ndlovu and another remained in prison. After Monday, only one accused will remain in prison.
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While Ndlovu was in prison for over a decade, he never lost hope, as he continued pursuing law studies and received a law degree from Unisa in May this year.
And on Friday, a full bench of judges upheld the appeal against Ndlovu’s conviction and sentence. He now intends to sue the minister of justice for damages.