Re: Fear of Life (was Microsoft, Automation)

Dan Fabulich (
Sat, 02 May 1998 00:51:28 -0400


J. R. Molloy wrote:
>Who would buy such a pig in a poke?
>Without distribution which includes
>demonstrations and samples, no one could
>know anything about the product.

Well, take for example the ultrasound sensor for remote imaging of
concealed weapons, which it seems Chuck Kuecker was on about:

"A breadboard ultrasound sensor has been developed for remotely detecting
and imaging concealed weapons. The breadboard sensor can detect metallic
and non-metallic weapons concealed on a human body under heavy clothing at
ranges up to 8 m and can image concealed weapons at ranges up to 5 m."

<pitch>For sale: The schematics for a sensor which can detect concealed
weapons under heavy clothing at up to 15 feet. For a demonstration? This
man is carrying a concealed weapon. *gesture* Now watch as I operate my
sensor on him. *PING!* As you can see, the sensor works.</pitch>

So long as fraud laws remain in place, (so you know I'm not selling you
snake oil,) what's stopping you from selling this technology?

Alternately, I'm told zero knowledge interactive proofs can help here,
though to be perfectly honest, I don't understand how. ZKIPs are a
mechanism used by cryptographers to prove that you know something without
revealing what you know. I've heard it claimed that they can be used to
prove anything which can be proved in formal logic. I have a link to a
document which is supposed to demonstrate/prove this, but it's a bit over
my head. For the idly curious:

>But if
>you mean to accumulate capital from
>venture capitalists, then yes,
>investment does proceed along those
>lines -- not for development of
>unpatented products, but rather for
>production and distribution of patented

My point being, wouldn't it be possible to do away with the copyright
system and instead produce/distribute using secret plans?

> >Wouldn't that recompense you the cost
>of your idea?
>Not if someone with big bucks steals it
>and distributes it away from the

I challenge your implicit assertion that mimicry is theft. It is not at
all self-evident to me that when I do the same thing you do, I have stolen
from you.

>> And wouldn't
>>that prevent people from "stealing" it,
>without creating a government
>>enforced monopoly?
>Even government enforced monopolies
>(government constitutes the biggest of
>the big monopolies, BTW) expire after a
>short period of time during which the
>producers and creators can reap their
>hard-earned rewards.

Why should the creators make a profit on distribution, which is cheap,
rather than on development, which is expensive? Why can't I sell my
expensive idea to the highest bidder, rather than inflating the price of
the final product and giving me the returns?

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