Lie Detector for Humans Might Beat Out the Court System

As our understanding of nature is increased, the comprehensibility of the world around us is
improved.  This includes the human mind.  As we understand the workings of the human mind more,
it will be easier for us to deal with some of the mysteries and problems that confront us.  One such
mystery is how to tell if someone is lying or not.  The bigger problem is one of determining truth and
falsehood, guilt and innocence in our courts of law.  We spend billions of dollars on the current system
and we clearly still make many mistakes.
Eventually technology will give us better means for determining the truth in a reliable manner.  
Various advances are already taking place in terms of security cameras, interrogation room cameras,
DNA evidence and improved fingerprinting techniques.  Some police departments are bottling
atmosphere from a crime site in order to be able to detect the scent of the criminal and compare it to a
As we begin to understand the functioning of each part of the brain, it should be possible to use a
brain scan during questioning in order to determine the credibility of the evidence being stated by a
witness or suspect.  
Some might compare such brain scans to the old-fashioned reading of emotions with a lie detector.  A
lie detector, which measures the galvanic skin response of a human, may be fooled if the subject is able
to fake emotions much like an actor is able to.  It would be far more difficult to fool a complete brain
scan in which patterns of deception are bound to differ from patterns of truth telling.  The system will
no doubt start out with a simple pattern recognition scheme and be improved as the knowledge of the
human brain increases.
When such techniques become more reliable than our standard courtroom procedures, how long will it
take us to switch over to using technology rather than judges and juries to determine the guilt or
innocence of a suspect?


Here is an article in the Washington Post about coming lie detectors:
Brain on Fire  Joel Garreau: Brain on Fire

Thanks to functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) techniques, it is becoming easier to detect
lies.  The Siemens Magnetom Trio at the University of Pennsylvania is a 10-foot-tall, 14-ton fMRI
machine.  It may be the most  formidable lie detector ever built.  By peering directly into our brains,
its may set a very high standard for the recognition of honesty in humans.

The following two firms seem to be in business.  The main hesitation would be the high cost, but as
technology progresses, certainly the price will come down.

    No Lie MRI's Web site:
    No Lie MRI, Inc. provides unbiased methods for the detection of deception and other
    information stored in the brain.

    The technology used by No Lie MRI represents the first and only direct measure of truth
    verification and lie detection in human history!

    No Lie MRI uses techniques that: Bypass conscious cognitive processing
    Measure the activity of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) rather than the
    peripheral nervous system (as polygraph testing does).

    Cephos Corp., has licensed competing fMRI lie detection technology from the Medical
    University of South Carolina:

    Cephos truth verification brain imaging services provides independent validation that you are
    telling the truth. If your word or your reputation is in dispute, contact Cephos for scientifically
    validated testing.

    Scientific and legal scholars have invited Cephos to present to the Committee on Science,
    Technology and Law at the National Academies of Science, to state judges at the National
    Judicial College and to Federal judges at the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse.

If these firms are presenting to judges in 2008, how many years will pass before the judicial system
starts to use the results in actual cases?  How will this affect the human's ability to lie?

Will the use of such machines change the face of military and police interrogation?