Savior Machines? (was Re: Future Technologies of Death)

Michael M. Butler (butler@comp*
Fri, 02 Jan 1998 10:15:51 -0800

There is another kind of fraud possible:

I have a box.
I put your best friend in the box and a red light comes on.
I say this means your best friend is guilty.
Your friend is put to death.
You have my word that the box and light does what I say it does.
When I put myself in the box, the red light never comes on.

Hmm, Joe Stalin had one of those. He even made a point of getting signed

Another problem: someone commits a heinous crime, then doses eirself with
(say) a Rohypnol-Scopolamine cocktail that scrambles long term memory
fixation. Chemically-induced amnesia. What does a brain scan reveal?

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?" ...not to mention "Truth? What is truth?"


At 06:11 PM 1/2/98 +0100, you wrote:
>> From: Nick Bostrom <>
>> Date: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 16:39:41 +0100
>> 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.
>In addition to the 5th Amendment (Michael Lorrey) and personal or
>religious reasons (Hal Finney), which are both good arguments against
>such a machine, there is always the danger of fraud. You will not
>have the certainty that the state (or a corrupt employee) does not
>use the information gathered in the mind scan against you. Even if
>the state wouldn't do it, perhaps the firm which created the scanning
>machine left a trap door in it so they could sell mind scans.
>Please keep in mind that a mind scan includes your whole personality,
>preferences and memory. I would certainly not want my mind scan to be
>Martin H. Pelet <>
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