Changes could be on the way when it comes to crossing at the border. The U.S. Border Patrol is testing out a new agent - one that's full of smarts, but zero personality.
He's got dark hair, blue eyes and could be the next agent to question you at the border. But there's a catch - he's not real. Instead of a live agent, Border Patrol is trying out an avatar at the Nogales port of entry to screen low-risk passengers and speed up the process.
"So they fill out an application online, they pay a fee and they wait because there's not enough officers to do these interviews," said Dr. Aaron Elskins, a voice expert at the University of Arizona.
Here's how it works - the avatar will ask a traveler basic questions.
"What is your name? Do you use any other names? Do you use drugs? Have you been convicted of any crimes? Questions relevant to their application," Elskins said.
Depending on how they answer, the avatar will be able to tell if they're lying.
"Some people, when they lie or they're upset, it's all over their voice," Elskins said.
So if an answer sounds fishy, a real live agent is notified. If you think it's kind of strange, you're not alone.
"It gets dirty, people kick it, officers curse at it," said Dr. Elyse Golob with the Border Center of Excellence.
Too bad he can't curse back. While researchers are still working out the kinks, they hope this technology is for keeps.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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