The government already allows the use of crazy x-ray machines which let airport inspectors see you naked, and now they seek to take this invasive airport detection one step further.  Beyond the clothes and the flesh, new technologies will be able to reach into your very soul and probe your freaking mind!

The system under development is known as FAST – Future Attribute Screening Technology – and, in theory, it should be able to find the bad guys before they even commit a crime.  This shit is straight out of Minority Report, minus the Tom Cruise (not sure if that makes it better or worse…).

How it works (again, in theory) is by reading the physiological indicators which researchers have linked to unsavory behavior.  It remotely monitors body temperature, heart rates, facial patterns, eye movements and even (pseudo-science that it is) body language.  By taking this data and analyzing it, the FAST system will be able to pull the terrorists out of the line-up before they can create terror.

This seems all good on the surface, the whole using-technology-to-stop-the-bad-guys thing, but there are a few potential issues which have the brainiacs shaking their heads in disapproval.  First and foremost, the extremely low ratio of terrorist to good citizen population means that false-positives will be the norm.  Since the whole point of FAST is to find people before they do some crimes, all those who read positive will have to be screened in another fashion.  Also, the system is being tested on people who are pretending to be terrorist-like, as opposed to real bad guys.  This will make it even less reliable.

Currently, researchers have achieved around a 70% success rate, so people don’t have to worry too much about having their minds read anytime in the near future.

All I can say is, hopefully they won’t be required to have a bunch of people floating in a fish tank in the airport lobby.  On second thought, that might be pretty fkn cool, though it would inevitably get filled with loose change and garbage.


Thanks to blastr for the heads up on this one.

Category: Nerd Culture