Thursday, September 15, 2011

Liar, Liar...

Liar, liar, pants on fire! This succinct bit of doggerel was a favourite when I was a child as siblings or classmates told a fib. Apparently we all lie and if we say that we don't then, well, we're liars. Even though we exhort our children to tell the truth, hardly a day goes by when we don't engage in some form of deception, dissimulation, or avoidance in the form of lies. Some of them are relatively small: "yes, you look great in that!" or "cute baby!" or "nothing to declare." But people regularly engage in the biggies which bring down careers and destroy relationships. We do seem programmed to be less than honest.

I saw the other day that a new technology has been unwrapped in Britain, which is being called an emotion detector. Not a motion detector, that annoying sensor that activates a light with every passing racoon in your neighbours backyard, or a polygraph machine which police sometimes use. This gizmo can read faces:

We give our emotions away in our eye movements, dilated pupils, biting or pressing together our lips, wrinkling our noses, breathing heavily, swallowing, blinking and facial asymmetry. And these are just the visible signs seen by the camera. Even swelling blood vessels around our eyes betray us, and the thermal sensor spots them too.

God help us! Of course in the New Testament book of Ephesians we're told: "So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another." When we lie we break down trust in our relationships, including with God, which can't always be repaired.

So, what are your thoughts on lying. The truth now!


johnny said...

I wonder how effective this gizmo would be with someone who is a sociopath.

Having dealt firsthand with someone over the years who virtually lies when opening her mouth, and whose sole purpose in life is to destroy others, while trying to put on a facade of being "Mother Theresa-like", I suspect this gizmo would prove ineffective.

But at least it has given me material for working on a screenplay.

IanD said...

This is interesting technology, and shows just how sophisticated machines are becoming. Fascinating! (And I'm a dead man if they ever use it on me.)