A Critical Examination of Converus Inc.’s Pseudoscientific “EyeDetect” Lie Detector

An EyeDetect station

In “An Eye-Scanning Lie Detector Is Forging a Dystopian Future,” Wired science writer Mark Harris investigates “EyeDetect,” a new scientifically unproven lie detector being hawked as a replacement for the old scientifically unproven polygraph.

Converus Inc. of Lehi, Utah, which markets EyeDetect, claims without proof that it can detect lies with 86% accuracy. Mark Harris takes a critical look at this claim. Excerpt:

Sitting in front of a Converus EyeDetect station, it’s impossible not to think of Blade Runner. In the 1982 sci-fi classic, Harrison Ford’s rumpled detective identifies artificial humans using a steam-punk Voight-Kampff device that watches their eyes while they answer surreal questions. EyeDetect’s questions are less philosophical, and the penalty for failure is less fatal (Ford’s character would whip out a gun and shoot). But the basic idea is the same: By capturing imperceptible changes in a participant’s eyes—measuring things like pupil dilation and reaction time—the device aims to sort deceptive humanoids from genuine ones.

It claims to be, in short, a next-generation lie detector. Polygraph tests are a $2 billion industry in the US and, despite their inaccuracy, are widely used to screen candidates for government jobs. Released in 2014 by Converus, a Mark Cuban–funded startup, EyeDetect is pitched by its makers as a faster, cheaper, and more accurate alternative to the notoriously unreliable polygraph. By many measures, EyeDetect appears to be the future of lie detection—and it’s already being used by local and federal agencies to screen job applicants….

Read the entire article here, and if you missed it, be sure to also see Harris’ earlier article, “The Lie Generator: Inside the Black Mirror World of Polygraph Job Screenings.”

Comments 5

  • I am absolutely DEVASTATED & ANGRY at having what would would have the been the best job of my lifetime…and these ridiculous “polygraph” machines are INACCURATE. I was 100% HONEST, down to every tiny aspect of both written and verbal responses. If they’re not 100% accurate, then why would any LE treat it as gold? Humans cannot explain every nuance of neurology, which also affects the eyes. I am blown away into the deepest despair, all because of absolutely irrational faith in a MACHINE. If I’m still around next week and calmer, I want to look into filing a Lawsuit against Converus “eye detect”. “I” DETECT BULLSH*T so they can make money.

    • You’re not alone. I’m often submitted to polygraphs. And now am being delightfully treated to these eye tests. I can unequivocally say that these tests are not only inaccurate. But probably more inaccurate than the older type. I was unfortunately 100% honest on all my questions and yet “failed” the test. Quite badly they said. I also have it on personal authority that an individual I know lied on every question on the test and passed it. This person was even bragging about it to me. I know he lied because I saw him in photos in the situations that would have cost him his position. Maybe o this day he brags to me about how he lied and passed the eyedetect. Yet here I sit awaiting my next appointment for it to see if I pass. After being truthful on the last one and failing I’m very stressed and uneasy about this next one. Perhaps I should just lie on the next one like my friend.

      It’s a sad world we live in after moving so far forward to get the word out about polygraphs only to take 2 very large steps backwards. I’m hoping that counter measures become known for this type of test. But sadly I fear that this test is so steeped in pseudoscience that any time you take the test you basically have a 50/50 shot of passing.

      Wish me luck as I wish luck to all who go through this nightmare. The future is not bright.

      • Stressed,

        If you can please email me. I’m going to something devastating regarding this test. It’s ruining my life. I would love to ask you a question. Please.

    • Devastated,

      If you can please email me. I’m going to something horrible because of this test. It’s ruining my life. I would love to ask you a question. Please. Thank you

    • Devastated,

      If you can please email me. The outcome of this test last year has destroyed my life! I would love to ask you a question. Please. Thank you

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