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Could Technology Help Catch Lying Politicians?

The Engineer (United Kingdom) (02/22/13) Stephen Harris

Computer scientists say voice-recognition systems eventually could be used in conjunction with artificial intelligence technology to determine if a person is telling the truth. Acorn Computers co-founder Hermann Hauser, for example, has met with Google executives about the possibility of developing an “evidence meter” that could be used to determine if a politician is lying. “The idea is if voice recognition is good enough, which it clearly is now, it can run continuous voice recognition at the bottom of your TV screen whenever they interview David Cameron or the opposition leader,” Hauser says. “So this running evidence-meter below the news item I think could be a very cool thing to implement.” However, although the voice recognition technology is readily available, the artificial intelligence technology that would be required to create such a fact-checking system is more problematic. “The problem is the knowledge that would be required for responding to the queries,” says University College London professor Anthony Hunter. “If the queries were within quite a restricted domain then this is perfectly possible. But [for political speeches] the domains would, by and large, be too broad that you could have a significantly broad knowledge base to check those facts.”

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