In a few years, reentry to the United States from abroad will involve a conversation with a cartoon avatar which will attempt to peer into your soul. The Daily Beast writes:
Imagine you decide to take a casual trip to Mexico, walking across the border for a day of shopping or even cheap dental care that’s not available in the United States. Upon your return, an officer from Customs and Border Protection directs you to a kiosk that looks like an ATM.
A cartoon-looking face, or avatar, appears onscreen and begins making queries in a polite, automated voice: Are you carrying anything destructive in your bag? Has anyone given you contraband to bring into the United States? What should happen to someone who does smuggle contraband?
This sounds far-fetched, but just such an experiment is occurring on the border in Nogales, Ariz., using a variation of technology the Department of Homeland Security has been pursuing for years.
The avatar records the answers and forwards them to a tablet handled by one of the blue-uniformed officers. They see not just what you said but how you said it, along with a green, yellow or red “risk color,” based on your responses. Maybe you spoke faster, louder, or with a higher pitch than normal. Maybe you hesitated when you answered. It’s sort of like a lie-detector test – except the government dislikes calling it that.