this is a horrible move. AI/robots CAN'T detect lies. looks like even the EU falls for AI snake oil. https://t.co/Kdl3uIfMOq— Abeba Birhane (@Abebab) April 9, 2022
There are several things worth noting here.
Firstly, lie detectors work by detecting involuntary actions (eye movements, heart rate) that are thought to be a proxy for mendacity. But there are often alternative explanations for these actions, and so the interpretation of these is highly problematic. See my post on Memory and the Law (June 2008)
Secondly, there is a lot of expensive and time-wasting technology installed at airports already, which has dubious value in detecting genuine threats, but may help to make people feel safer. Bruce Schneier calls this Security Theatre. See my posts on the False Sense of Security (June 2019) and Identity, Privacy and Security at Heathrow Terminal Five (March 2008).
What is more important is to consider the consequences of adding this component (whether reliable or otherwise) to the larger system. In my post Listening for Trouble (June 2019), I discussed the use of Aggression Detection microphones in US schools, following an independent study that was carried out with active collaboration from the supplier of the equipment. Obviously this kind of evaluation requires some degree of transparency.
Most important of all is the ethical question. Is this technology biased against certain categories of subject, and what are the real-world consequences of being falsely identified by this system? Is having a
human in the loop sufficient protection against the dangers of algorithmic profiling? See Algorithmic Bias (March 2021).
Given the inaccuracy of detection, there may be a significant rate of false positives and false negatives. False positives affect the individual concerned, suffering consequences ranging from inconvenience and delay to much worse. False negatives mean that a person has got away with an undetected lie, so this has consequences for society as a whole.
How much you think this matters depends on what you think they might be lying about, and how important this is. For example, it may be quicker to say you packed your suitcase yourself and it hasn't been out of your sight, even if this is not strictly true, because any other answer may trigger loads of other time-wasting questions. However, other lies may be more dangerous ...
For more details on the background of this initiative, see
Matthias Monroy, EU project iBorderCtrl: Is the lie detector coming or not?
(26 April 2021)