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The Future of Border Security

Airport security checks

International travelers across the US, Canada and European Union can now find themselves talking to the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real Time, during border security checks. The AVATAR technology was developed as a robot-like kiosk to interview travelers at airports and other border security crossings, determining if they are fit for entry. The AVATAR combines artificial intelligence with the use of various sensors and bio metrics to produce high levels of accuracy in security checks. The virtual border security agent can detect deception and flag human security agents with an up to 80 percent success rate. The human deception detection rate is 54 – 60 percent. 

The Artificial intelligence technology makes use of eye movements and changes in voice, posture and facial gestures to detect individuals who are untruthful or a potential risk. The virtual technology tested by the Canadian Border Services Agency last year, relies on advanced statistics and machine learning. It helps the human agents determine whether a traveler has ulterior motives for entering Canada. The AVATAR was first researched by the U.S Department of Homeland Security about six years ago; then allowed it to be tested at US- Mexico borders. Since then countries like Canada and other European Union nations have tested AVATAR to ask travelers a series of questions. 

It is important to note that the AVATAR does not replace the need for human agents but instead allows technology to supplement human jobs. According to researchers, AVATAR allows agents to focus on what they do best with the help of computer intelligence, for a more productive and cost effective way of screening people. This new technology is expected to reduce delays in port entries, particularly initial screening of asylum seekers and refugees at busy border security crossings. It aims to increase speed but also reduce the workload and subjective errors by human agents. Once the system detects untruthfulness, it immediately alerts the human agents to do follow up interviews for further questioning or deny the traveler entry. 

Although currently not available for commercial purchase, according to experts, the AVATAR technology has potential use in the human resources area, and also in processing immigration applications. In the meantime, it is unclear if the Canadian Border Services Agency plans to implement this technology across all its borders. There is still more research to be done.



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May 31, 2018 7:32:24 PM


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