Francisco Lacerda is a professor of phonetics and the author of an academic article criticising the use of the unproven voice analysis ‘life detector’ technology in the legal system. He highlighted “discrepancies between the claims the producers and vendors make and what their products are capable of delivering” and as a result, is now being threatened with a libel suit by a company that makes these devices.
The academic journal received similar threats and, rather disappointingly, has now taken the article offline.
But have no fear, a copy was grabbed from the International Journal of Speech Language and the Law before it disappeared and is now available online for all to read.
The article makes for interesting reading, as it looks at the claims and scientific basis of both specific products and the whole project of using voice stress for ‘detecting’ lies.
The company concerned are Nemesysco, who manufacture devices that supposedly detect lies by analysing speech patterns, despite the fact that there is no conclusive peer-reviewed evidence that the devices reliably detect untruths.
The company claim that their products works like this:
The technology detects minute, involuntary changes in the voice reflective of various types of brain activity. By utilizing a wide range spectrum analysis to detect minute changes in the speech waveform, LVA detects anomalies in brain activity and classifies them in terms of stress, excitement, deception, and varying emotional states, accordingly. This way, LVA detects what we call ‘brain activity traces,’ using the voice as a medium. The information that is gathered is then processed and analyzed to reveal the speaker’s current state of mind.
If that made no sense to you, read it again. It won’t make any more sense but it does get funnier.
Rather than presenting data showing that their devices work, the company is resorting to legal action to silence their critics.
UPDATE: Grabbed from the comments:
The article is quite unusual for a scientific article. For example, it has a section titled “who is Mr. Liberman?” addressing a private person and claiming that he is a charlatan based on a visit by a friend made to a private company.