What do you get when you merge a lie detector, a job application and a mobile app?


Mobile apps have certainly made a wide range of documents — including job applications, insurance claims and consumer surveys — easier to handle. But can they also silently add truth detection and emotion interpretation to increase the forms’ accuracy and value to companies?

A U.K. company that goes by the name Human is arguing it can. It pairs video captured from a mobile device (or, sometimes, a retailer’s closed-circuit television camera) with analytics software that examines the subject’s face and tries to determine the most likely emotions being felt at that instant. Does a job applicant pause and grimace before answering that he has never been convicted of a felony or that leaving his last job was his own idea?

“Through a [phone’s] video feed, we take up to 172,000 tiny points of an individual’s face,” said Joseph Willingham, Human’s director of international strategy. A statement from the company said that its software “has the ability to read subliminal facial expressions live and convert these into a range of deeper emotions and specific characteristic traits in real time.”

For businesses, this concept has huge potential. Envision all of the additional germane information from candidates applying for a job. The reactions to various questions could easily be more useful than what their answers are, assuming the goal is to understand the applicants and what their strengths and weaknesses truly are.

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