Russia Develops Bank Machines with Built-in Lie Detectors

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Get all of the “In Russia, automated teller machines take money from you” jokes out of your system now, because it turns out that Russian ATMs really are getting more advanced than their Western counterparts—including being able to check whether or not you’re telling the truth about your credit history.

The New York Times reports on a prototype ATM with a built-in lie detector that can assess a user’s suitability for credit card applications, recognizing changes in voice patterns when answering questions like “Are you employed?” or “At this moment, do you have any other outstanding loans?”

The machine is being developed, fittingly, by the Speech Technology Center, a company which includes the Federal Security Service – the modern day version of the KGB – as one of its many clients, and will apparently be able to tell when someone is trying to fool the system, according to the Times:

“The center’s director, Mr. Dyrmovsky, said the voice-stress system analyzed vibrations as shaped by the contours of an individual’s throat, larynx and other tissue involved in speech. When a person becomes agitated, he said, involuntary nervous reactions alter these shapes, changing the tone and pacing of speech.”

Voice prints will be stored on chips within credit cards in order to avoid identity theft, with facial recognition software and fingerprint scanning also being used to confirm the user’s identity. Passport-scanning is also said to be in the works for the device, making it almost comically secure—you’d think that a lie-detector would just be able to ask “Are you really the owner of this card?” but apparently not.

The new ATMs will be used across the country by “Sberbank,” the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe—and majority-owned by the Russian government’s Central Bank. Can we expect to see stories of angry Russians attacking the machines within weeks of their installation?

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