Re: The Friendly Skies meets "Schedule Suntan", Fwd: Nekkid Air

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Dec 27 2001 - 13:05:30 MST

Anders Sandberg wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 26, 2001 at 03:16:49PM -0800, Michael M. Butler wrote:
> I don't think it is a FAQ - rather it is a FDA: a Frequently Desired
> Answer. (Ouch, that is a horrible abbreviation :-) As you say, what we
> need is to create a discourse that builds an answer.
> As for po2, I think I can at least throw out a first iteration: trust is
> about long-term relations. As Axelrod suggested, you can build trust in
> IPD-like situations since participants know they will be around each
> other for a long time, and hence it is in their interests to cooperate.
> I think it was Novak who later on did some game theory on how reputation
> also helps: if your actions become known to others, then it pays to show
> yourself trustworthy since other members in your community will take
> your past actions into account even when they were aimed at somebody
> else. So trust can be promoted by making past interactions clearer and
> well known, and by the awareness of that there is a long future ahead.

Also consider that trust between strangers evolves from each individuals
characteristics, which is one reason why 'discrimination' or 'prejudice'
is a natural phenomenon of human relations. If your experience tells you
that men or women are more trustworthy than the other, you will trust
individuals in the future based on that experience. If your experience
is that you can trust blacks more than whites, you will do so with
blacks you don't know as well (and vice versa if your experience is the

This is why bin Laden's terrorism handbooks advise infiltrators of the
US to groom and dress themselves as westerners, obtain western
identities and documentation, etc: not only does this tactic take
advantage of this implicit trust, but it also amplifies the effect that
subsequent terrorist attacks have by causing Americans to question this
implicit trust of people appearing in western guise.

This is a blatant attack on the foundations of trust that keep our
society open and free. Frankly I highly dislike advocating the policies
of temporary limited repression I currently do, but I see little
alternative other than to just sit there and accept further attack as a
cost of being free and open. I want to go back to trusting others again.
This cannot happen while we remain open to attack.

This week, we see that our airliners are still no safer, other than that
passengers are less willing to accept such behavior. Reid was able to
smuggle a bomb of C-4 onto the plane, despite being extensively checked
by French authorities and refused entry to a plane once already.

> The problem we face here is that we now have a far larger and diverse
> society with larger tensions - suddenly everything is global, your
> neighbour is a gay zoroastrian sociologist and the smallpox genome can
> be found on the Internet. Solutions trying to fix things by making the
> world a smaller place (isolationism) are practiclly unworkable (the
> benefits are enormous), as are attempts to put genies back in bottles
> (relinquishment). Attempts to make people less diverse are not just
> ethically questionable and impractical, they also tend to breed
> resistance that produces just the kind of nasty backlashes we have come
> to fear. Hence any solution has to deal with strengthening those webs of
> trust.

Yes. Part of this is mechanisms to better filter out those
untrustworthies who have infiltrated the webs of trust. As a chain is as
strong as its weakest link, the solution is to check each and every link
for integrity.

> I think the NYT article makes a mistake by suggesting the choice is
> between a less open society (artificial trust established by having a
> special trusted part - the government - being given all the power), a
> more controlled world (which seems to imply the same thing, but now on a
> global scale) or higher risk. The naked airlines idea really shows a way
> out: a bit of lateral thinking mixing a technical solution with a social
> one.
> If the west has exported hightech but not the social fabrics necessarily
> to use it reasonably safely, we better find ways of packaging social
> fabric with the hightech (maybe as packing material?).

Well, it also depends on the method of application. For instance, take
face recognition technology. Does a FRT device need to have a database
of ALL individuals? No, it only needs a database of those whose
trustworthiness has been limited in some way, much as the Insta-check
system for firearms purchase only contains names of those who are
prohibited from purchasing.

Should a non-citizen have the same trustworthiness as a non-citizen?
It's rather obvious that a citizen will be more well known by a society
than a non-citizen of that society. Using the above formula for citizens
in that crime records only record the reputations of criminals, not of
law abiding citizens, a criminal citizen would have a more thorough
reputation with a society than a person who has never violated a law.
Who is therefore more trustworthy?

This is why reputation brokers like credit agencies use a flawed
methodology with citizens, because they automatically assume that
someone with no reputation is implicity untrustworthy. When you are
dealing with non-citizens, this may be applicable, but not with

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