Re: extropians "handshake" (was Re: Cyborg Dreams on Background Briefing)

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sun Nov 04 2001 - 12:15:04 MST

> Anders Sandberg wrote:
> >
> > I like Spike's idea about truly secret passwords. But with zero knowledge
> > proofs I think we could actually have a password none of us knows...
> ["Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" likes] this idea. The Extropian secret password: So
> secret that *nobody*
> knows it.

No, Ive a better notion. Currently the secret extropian password is
the ultimate secret, as no one knows what it is. Unfortunately this
reduces its overall usefulness. In this context it is unclear what the
"pass" is doing in the phrase "secret password."

The more people that know a secret, the less secret it becomes,
introducing the risk of the secret being revealed up on capture and
torture, so how do we maximize secret while still having *some*
knowledge of the secret password? Suggestions:

1. Anders has described an experiment wherein a sedative is
injected into the corotid artery, causing one of the brain's
hemispheres to sleep while the other hemisphere is still
awake. This experiment is done just for fun, however its
potential is in having the patient make up a password with
the one conscious hemisphere while the other is sleeping.
Then presumably the entirely awake brain would be
unable to recall the password, perhaps because of
confusing signals passing over the corpus callosum. In
theory, the password should be retrievable by resedating
the one hemisphere. Then the password would be known
by half a person. Truly the one left hand would not know
what the right hand is doing.

2. Get a half-wit to make up the secret password, again
accomplishing the above. Volunteers?

3. Get Eliezer to develop an AI which would think
up a password and tell no one. So long as we do not
know how to torture an AI, this scheme would work.

4. Keep the secret military style, with compartmented
information. (Each person knows only a part of how to
build a nuke, for instance. They get a little nervous
when one ambitious person gets too many numbers on
her badge.} Each extropian would get one ASCII
character. The extropian password would be derived
by putting the extropians in alphabetical order and
each telling their one character. Then to insure secrecy,
we would randomly choose an extropian and give him
a frontal lobotomy. Freeze the severed frontal lobe,
in case we discover the technology to retrieve the
missing byte.


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