If You Travel To These 3 Countries, You’ll Get the Worst Welcome In the World
Please be prepared.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Traveling is, according to United Airlines, a way of bringing people closer together.
In many countries, you'll find people only too willing to offer warmth, kindness and a spirit you may not find in your own country.
(You are, in my view, guaranteed all three in Portugal, especially if you're lucky enough to visit Razes restaurant in Lisbon.)
I fear, though, that three countries are about to fall into a pit of disfavor, after a recently-taken decision.
You see, Hungary, Latvia and Greece are testing something that's delightfully called iBorderCtrl.
This, at heart -- well, it doesn't actually have one -- is an Artificial Intelligence-based lie detector that visitors to these countries will face this month.
Please imagine that you might land in, say, Budapest and be met by a body-less border guard.
Yes, an avatar that will ask you piercing questions about your travel.
Sample from Hungary: Do you agree with our great leader Viktor Orban that migrants are 'poison'?
No, I have no actual information that this will be one of the questions.
Indeed, Keeley Crockett, a computational intelligence academic who's involved in this fine scheme, told CNN:
It will ask the person to confirm their name, age and date of birth, (and) it will ask them things like what the purpose of their trip is and who is funding the trip.
But of course.
The idea, though, is to ask questions that might elicit shifty body language or, who knows, unwelcome grunts.
If the see-through border guard thinks you're lying, it'll pass you on to a human who will, no doubt, handcuff you, headbutt you or, perhaps, deport you.
Naturally, the official reason for this wheeze is to speed up the border process.
Equally naturally, critics' minds work very quickly to find the negatives.
Frederike Kaltheuner, data program lead at Privacy International, told CNN:
This is part of a broader trend towards using opaque, and often deficient, automated systems to judge, assess and classify people.
Of course, it's all too late.
Governments -- just like corporations -- see wonderful money-saving and espionage opportunities in such technologies.
I myself have already incurred a blood-curdling encounter with a British Airways bag-drop machine.
Unlike a human, it wouldn't accept that my suitcase was a tiny amount over the limit, despite the fact that my baggage limit was two bags with a total of almost twice the amount of poundage I was checking.
A human would have let it pass. The machine, however, has no humanity.
Many question the accuracy of the lie-detector technology anyway. In the case of this current trial in Hungary, Greece and Latvia, it's only been tested on 32 people.
The European Union people behind it insist that it will only be tested in the three countries on volunteers.
Who'd volunteer for a lie-detector machine? Other than Stormy Daniels.
But she, at least, hopes to win a legal case.
Booked your European holiday for next year yet?