“Lie Detection Infiltrating Everyday Life”

Mayumi Saito reports in this puff piece on Trustech Ltd.’s “Truster” software, which was published in The Japan Times. Excerpt:

When Bill Clinton first said, “I never had sexual relations with that woman . . .” back in 1998, a report flushed that a new Israeli lie detector figured he was being truthful.

Looking back on the contradicting outcome, Katsuhisa Katoh, manager of AlphaOmega Soft Co.’s Risk Technology Group, which is affiliated with Israel’s Trustech Ltd., defends the tool’s reliability: “The software maker’s president may have been afraid of making an overstatement because of several ambiguous findings.”

Boasting 85 percent accuracy, Truster, lie-detection software made by Trustech, has sold 5 million copies in the West and 20,000 in Japan since its released in early 1998.

Its apparent popularity is partly due to its wide media coverage. Time magazine, for example, tested the program against the backdrop of the October 2000 presidential election debate between then Texas Gov. George W. Bush and incumbent Vice President Al Gore. According to the test results in a resulting article, Bush was a lot less certain and more likely to exaggerate than Gore.

Originally developed for Israeli border checks, Truster, sold for 21,400 yen in Japan, detects the uneasiness hidden in a human voice.

The software examines the subject’s stress, excitement, and manipulation levels from their speech, either in recorded form or live into a microphone, and simultaneously displays its analysis.

Truster Pro, the more advanced version of the program (650,000 yen), is capable of breaking down speech into smaller segments and giving more detailed analysis.

The software’s distributor AlphaOmega Soft stocks dozens of voice recordings from different sources that have been submitted for screening.

One of them is Masumi Hayashi’s videotaped statements from a TV interview. She is currently on trial for mass murder over a July 1998 curry-poisoning incident in Wakayama that left four local residents dead and 63 others sick.

Her remarks were cut into segments, analyzed and judged according to the following categories: truth, false statement, high stress, subject excited, or subject unsure.

The Truster blared “false statement” at Hayashi’s elaboration on how long she actually stayed at the ill-fated festival.

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