Re: Truth Maintenance

Anders Sandberg (
20 Sep 1997 03:29:14 +0200

Darrell Parfitt <> writes:

> Reality protection is an idea that has been kicking around for a while.
> Eric Drexler has long and strenously emphasized the use of freely
> available expert discussion on science through hypertext technology.
> Of course, there are organizations around the world that perserve the true
> word about this and that subject, but someone who doesn't know very much
> doesn't have any way of seperating the genuine experts from the political
> lackeys.

Exactly. What I was thinking of was some kind of system that could
keep truth (or empirical facts) safe, available and uncorrupted. Of
course, this is not just a matter of piling up the information in
the vault of a trusted group, we need something more flexible and
able to withstand info attacks and the need to change some information
as new evidence accumulates. Perhaps some kind of constitution-like
system of rules guaranteeing slow and carefully inspected change
combined with a distributed network and strong cryptographic verification.

> I can see VR providing a defense from disinformation campaigns, in that
> they could be used by a responsible organizatrion to remove the filter
> entirely. In an entirely immersive environment, people could see events
> and processes without editing or commentary, see everything there is to
> see on the process and thus make their own decisions.

I can imagine John laughing so that he falls on the floor reading that -
as he said to me: "Thats *exactly* what we would like you to think!".
The problem is that the more VR and internet we use, the more we use
second-hand information that can be tampered with. Do you really trust
your filters? Do you really think you see things directly over the net?

> The interactivety
> is even more important, as somebody could keep accessing information on a
> subject until they were satisfied that they knew what was going on.

Very true. This is the one strength of the net - you can get several
independent files and check that they say the same. The problem is that
most people don't do that.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y