Pupil-dilation stress-scanner: You’re walking through an airport…you come across a tortoise…

pkdThe Guardian reports that the U.S. government is looking for a way to spot evildoers by scanning for “physiological abnormalities.” A call for proposals says:

Early research has shown that pupil size varies with changes in a person’s cognitive processing load. Current but unproven studies suggest that a cognitive decision to deceive or practise deception will result in an increased pupil size due to the greater cognitive processing required in comparison to truthful recall.

Sounds more than a bit like the Voight-Kampff replicant-detector test from Blade Runner (it was Philip K. Dick’s idea, Guardian, not Ridley Scott’s). The reporter adds an appropriate note of skepticism:

I wonder how often a system might raise a false alarm, since a lot of people are pretty stressed going through airports even when they’re not up to anything mischievous.

[Image: Torley]

2 thoughts on “Pupil-dilation stress-scanner: You’re walking through an airport…you come across a tortoise…”

  1. Indeed.

    I’m also flashing back to one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Venus novels, a rather heavy-handed parody of Nazism, I believe. (I haven’t read those books since I was a teenager.) Somebody got blinded by a spotlight and was executed on the spot for making a face during the Great Evil Leader’s speech.

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