Re: Future Technologies of Death

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 01 Jan 1998 16:39:41 -0500

Nick Bostrom wrote:
> Anders Sandberg <> wrote:
> > "Martin H. Pelet" <> writes:
> >
> > > When AI systems will be available, you will of course have the tools
> > > to read their whole minds directly, which would solve the problem above,
> > > but this method would violate their rights.
> >
> > Not necessarily. If you start to examine my innards without
> > permission, it would be a violation of my rights. But I can give a
> > doctor at least a temporary permission to examine my internal state,
> > and that does not violate my rights.
> We might be able to do even better. Have a special-purpose machine
> that scans your mind and gives as output a binary answer to whether
> you are responsible or not. Then the memory of this machine is
> automatically erased and only the output remains. The subject to be
> investigated can be allowed to make any arrangements necessary to
> verify the validity and confidentiality of the proceedure.
> Suppose such a machine existed for deciding with 100% accuracy
> whether somebody had commited a certain crime. It would then be hard
> to argue that the law enforcing agency did not have the right to
> apply this technique to any subject it wanted to (provided that it
> was quick and had no side effects). For to refuse the law enforcing
> agency the unlimited right to use this technique would be equivalent
> to refusing it to maximise its detection rate of criminals, even when
> no externalities were involved. What legitimate reason could anybody
> have for not wanting the law enforcing agency scan his mind with this
> device in order to find out if he had commited a crime?

Simple: The 5th Amendment. It is my right to not be forced to
incriminate myself. Scanning my innards with some whizbang device is
using technology to make me involuntarily incriminate myself. This is
also why you can't be forced to take a lie detector test. If you think
I've done something wrong, its up to you to prove I did it with evidence
that is external to me. I am innocent until you PROVE me guilty. I can
then, if I so choose, use your fancy device to counter your evidentiary
proof by volunteering to have myself scanned.

Now, in the case of an AI system wishing to prove its sentience and
attain some measure of 'human' status, the courts currently are bigoted
against anything that doesn't look like a human and can't prove a
natural birth. Note that with bans on cloning starting to appear, if one
is found to be a clone, one's humanity can be legally debated. I expect
that over time, this bigotry will go the way of the old parts of the
Constitution that stated that a black slave was only 3/5ths or so of a
man, etc. I don't know if we will have our own Clone Wars to push this
> Or do we perhaps *want* a certain failure rate of the law enforcing
> system, so that if the political systems lead to really screwed up
> laws, there will at least be some chance of escaping them and perhaps
> starting a revolution. Is criminality a little bit like random noice,
> so that a certain amount is beneficial since it makes the system less
> likely to get stuck in a "local maximum"?

Yes, perhaps it is good for the justice system to act as a filter,
weeding out stupid criminals. Unfortunately, with today's complex legals
system, it tends to devolve to who can hire the smartest lawyer.

On a similar note, I just won a legal victory against the City of
Seattle. They had been claiming for years that I was a resident of
Washington State, simply because I had once got a speeding ticket there
while stationed in the area in the Air Force. Everytime I was pulled
over after that, the cops would say that I was a resident, so my NH
drivers license was no good, and therefore my NH car insurance was no
good. SO it was typically an automatic $700 worth of fines every time I
was pulled over. SInce they would look stupid in court if they sent the
summons to my legal address in NH, they refused to use my legal address,
so I never got a summons. This caused multiple charges of Failure to
Appear to pile up in the docket, culminating in a suspension of my
license to drive in Washington, which screwed up my ability to renew my
license here in NH, and a charge of driving without a license in the 3rd
degree the last time I was pulled over in Seattle. Well, I just got all
of the charges dismissed, and I am preparing to sue the city for the 2
years I've been without a license here in NH because their system was so
screwed up.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?