Re: Truth Machines and Open Networks

Yak Wax (
Sat, 7 Feb 1998 09:02:30 -0800 (PST)

Hal Finney wrote:

> One problem with the idea is that people do like their privacy, and so
> they may try to use technologies to protect it. Encryption, anonymous
> communications, digital cash, and similar tools can be used to allow
> people to interact while preserving privacy. No doubt you are right
> there will be costs involved in using these, but there will be those
> who find the costs worthwhile. You then are faced with the prospect
> of using coercion to prevent people from using technologies to protect
> their privacy, in order to achieve your desired result.

I was merely making a prediction so coercion would be clearly out of
the question (I have no opinion on this subject or any other, and do
not seek to enforce anything.)

> That's where I draw the line. If people want to voluntarily give up
> privacy, that's fine. But they should not force others to do the

And if it were coerced it wouldn't work, it would not be "open."

> As long as you or David want to predict that society will voluntarily
> move into a culture where there is no more lying, no more adultery, no
> more secrets, and no more privacy, that's fine. I'm skeptical,
> this would be such a total change in human culture that it is hard for
> me to imagine. Most of the conflicts explored in classic fiction
> become impossible. (I accused David of wanting to make stories about
> illicit sexual affairs the exclusive domain of science fiction writers
> like himself.)

Try looking at it from a different perspective. Imagine a world where
something like this has happened, and now look at our 'society' from
that perspective, which is more radical? And don't get me wrong, I'm
not trying to stop people lying or being adulterous, this is just a
prediction. If anything people would be more 'adulterous' in an open
society, we just wouldn't care anymore. I think most people would be
shocked (and in a bad way) by this future.

> The problem arises when people become so excited about this marvelous
> new world that they are willing to use force to get there. I think
> most of us would agree that these changes should be adopted
> People should be free to expose more of their private lives to public
> scrutiny, with the decisions being made on an individual basis.

Absolutely, I agree. The nature of the system is that if it is forced
it will not work. Also I don't think people will give up privacy for
peace on earth, they'll give it up for the advantages the technology
brings to them.


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