Re: Truth Maintenance

Wei Dai (
Thu, 18 Sep 1997 20:50:38 -0700 (PDT)

On 18 Sep 1997, Anders Sandberg wrote:

> The original post gave me a vague idea, inspired by some
> other discussions, like memetic civil defenses ("How do
> we protect our culture from destructive memes?" - essentially
> what a senior officer asked me) and the ideas for a
> transhumanist facilitator service. Could it be possible
> to form, on a volunteer basis, some kind of "truth maintenance
> service" that can in one way or another ensure that at least
> some essential facts cannot be distorted?

I'm sure many organizations will provide similar services, but not on a
volunteer basis (if by volunteer you mean free-of-charge), since these
organizations will be extremely attractive targets for subversion and must
have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Altruistic and wealthy
individuals might offer these services as community service, but I don't
see how they can convince people of their trustworthiness.

I would suggest avoiding free "truth maintenance services" if they are
ever offered unless you are really poor, because they'll most likely be
potential sources of disinformation and subversion.

One way to defend against or at least detect large scale disinformation
efforts might to make periodic personal backups of randomly chosen
Internet sites and to constantly cross-check them against the real-time
Internet for consistency. Possibly security organizations will give away
daily indices of global Internet consistency as advertisement.