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RTP Discussions • View topic - The Informed Consent Protocol

The Informed Consent Protocol

Discussion Area for the Play - "Resurrection"

The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby HarryStottle » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:44 am

I've just posted as promised in my response to the by our newest member MrJSSmithy. This, post is where, hopefully, any discussion of it will kick off.
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby Stone1 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:49 pm

Nice that the omortality topic is back on the agenda, Harry, and your blog entry seems to cover the relevant issues of such a protocol.

I'll try to make a sketch of what my conditions for awakening my Simulee or Virperson as I suggested (Virson? I just entered that word in and it doesn't seem to exist yet, sounds not too bad to me).


First off, I would not want my digital version to linger around while I'm still organically alive and kickin', because we already have augmented reality and that is a rapidly evolving technology, so we'll soon have instant access to cyberspace, probably even through brain-implants by the end of this decade - good riddance google glass...! - and I don't see the purpose in having a digital version (or even several of them, that'd take schizophrenia to a whole new level) of myself cluttering space. And as a bonus this evades the difficult moral implications Harry argued. The only occasion I could imagine right now when I'd like my virson prematurely awakened is in case I'd have lost my sanity because of an illness or accident. Only then my (approved) virson should take over my responsibilities like an advocate, and put itself back on standby (after a resynchronization) should my organic self recover from said status and retook responsibility.

Secondly, I'd probably not want to be awakened immediately after my organic death, giving my relatives some time to mourn (or feast) without having a digital version of myself around instantly, I guess organic dying will still be a 'special event' then and probably psychologically difficult if there's no period of absence of the freshly deceased. I guess some months up to a year or two should suffice, something in between that would be my minimum amount of time until I could be reawakened. Hoping not leaving unfinished business behind that can't be procrastinated.

Thirdly, I guess it's too soon for myself to formulate overall outer conditions that should be met to allow resurrection of my virson, I'm still too optimistic to believe that there will be a time when the whole world (including cyberspace) will be ruled again by religious, political or economic despots. The virson would have the ability to check out the overall status at first boot (unless he is resurrected by an evil future hacker in some sort of digital cage matrix, that would be a future crime I'll leave for the lawyers to work out, in case something about Harry's proposed trusted surveillance goes wrong) and can then decide on his own whether the world seems interesting enough to explore or to press the snooze button and turn around for another nap.


In review, I'd reckon when digital omortality becomes standard, we won't need a specific word for those Simulees or Virsons, they by then will have become real and the word "Person" will suffice. They'll call us organic people "Opersons" then, maybe :).
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby HarryStottle » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:53 pm

interesting aspect you raise with the option of ad hoc activation while the source (I've decided I don't like simulee and I'm not keen on your suggested alternatives either. I also agree that, eventually, the name will be a non-issue, so it's not worth getting hung up on it now) is alive but temporarily unable to function; acting with Power of Attorney at some time other than end of life... Can't see why not (subject to the other problems being resolved).

Also interesting that you prefer NOT to attend your own funeral for fear of reducing the solemnity or seriousness of the occasion. I take a diametrically opposite view. I want to attend precisely to avoid such solemnity or grieving. What's to grieve about? Here I am, Omortal, I've conquered death. We're here to dispose of my now redundant meat machine, as tastefully as possible, but certainly not with any sense of loss. Damn, that's the whole point of Resurrection!

That said, I suspect I'm the odd one out in this respect and that your attitude will be more typical. So the handling of such matters will no doubt be a matter for individual preference...

...you also raise an interesting point with the notion of hijacked resurrection by an "evil doer" and, now you mention it, I can conceive of sundry dark motives that might attract the usual suspects. Ransom, revenge, sexual gratification etc. But I think the solution will be relatively simple - for a digital being. I spoke of a while back, in the context of implants for organic humans. For digital humans, they'll be a doddle. So once the clone has been revived and assessed its "situation", if it is anything less than happy to be active, it's mindlock should be able to shut it down regardless of the attacker's evil intent.

Nevertheless, your point emphasises the need to build bomb proof security into the whole process so that it cannot be abused. Definitely a Trusted Surveillance candidate...
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby Stone1 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:40 pm

Hmm, ask me again about my funeral in several decades and I might have changed my opinion, it's just how I feel about it at the moment. The social context will be quite different by then, I suppose.

It's been a while since I've read your concept of Trusted Surveillance and I'm still having my doubts whether such a perfect security system will ever be possible to implement under real life conditions. Mindlock or not, hacking is human - for some at least who seem to not know other means of satisfying their curiosity - and once the technology exists to encrypt something, there's always a way to reverse the process, what comes to my mind first is that in the nearly unlimited space of future cyberspace, there's more than enough room to clone a targeted individual, simulate it's usual surroundings and get the unlock-key this way. Until the real person notices the illegal access to his or her data, anything could be compromised.

I'm no expert and this is just a simple example, but I fear that we'll have several sorts of - from todays vista rather strange - future crimes. How could we tell apart a cloned individual from the real one, if the clone didn't even know that he or she is not the original? That will of course only be a problem until humanity at large becomes a more rational and peaceful race, but I guess the first decades of digital living will be rather hard. Though that's how it has been for pioneers throughout history.


Speaking of cybersecurity, what do you think of mining? I've mutedly heard about it through the last year or two, but just last month there was a comprehensive article about it in my IT-mag, and I thought what a perverted way of spending money, energy and processing power on... well, what? Some cyberbucks which are traded at the stock exchange? As a normal user you'd never make a break-even until your shiny new hardware gets outdated, unless all of a sudden the stock market rate exploded. So you'd have to sell your hardware to someone who's even more dumb than yourself and order a new mining rig. Are these the next credit default swaps? I just hope that it won't bring down the real-life economy in the same way that other financial super-products did. We're just at the point now where an end of the 2008 crisis is in sight.
Wouldn't it be wise to be cautious for the next few years and to not invent shiny new hazardous ways to create more (virtual) money?
And has it at least any beneficial sideeffects on publically available encryption? I might be proven wrong but I expect that this issue will make a good topic in Daniel Suarez's next novel, although rather no, the financial system was part of his first book already.
One reader of said IT-mag wrote a letter to the editor stating that the inventors of this stupidity should be smacked on both cheeks. I tend to share that opinion. Like it was back in the days of the gold rush, the only ones who will get rich are those who sell the shovels.

Feel free to answer to this last paragraph in the thread, as I'm digressing... once again.
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby HarryStottle » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:33 am

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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby Stone1 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:05 am

Sorry for raising that impression about Trusted Surveillance, I know you've 'just' sketched a general concept of such a security system.

Your argumentation to soothe my security concerns sounds plausible, and from the scientific knowledge I was able to humbly assimilate up to now I'd support everything you say in your answer, and by the way I don't grok the mathemathics either, except for one thing.

A tiny little bug keeps gnawing at my synapses and leaves me with a not ignorable unease. That's where my silly brain (although it's probably in good company of I'd say 99+% of the full amount of human thought processors, including those of many physicists) hits a barrier - hard as I try, I can't predict how quantum computing will change the future of... well, the world in general, I suppose, in lack of a better explanation. We'll see isolated applications first, for special purposes like encryption and other mathematical equations. Quantum-maths, I wonder when that will reach the high-school curriculums - and admire everyone who understands that today.
There's a damn whole micro-world at the subatomic level which our brains just have no language for nowadays, and as long as we haven't found out how exactly the physical laws of relativity and quantum mechanics are interconnected, I'll not be certain about whether it's possible to speed up - read: compress - the real-time simulation of our universe. How can you be certain about that?

We're getting into deep water territory here, but whom better to ask in such a situation than a philosopher, so instead of writing a short article on my own blog - about recent medical research: heavy metal music could soon be prescribed by your medic and sold in pharmacies, big pharma complains about dropping profit from high blood-pressure pills..., umm no, that's too long for a teaser - I'll continue here and

Suggest that it is imaginable that, and I'll paint a mental picture here because that's easier than talking about the maths and physics, we live in a bubble universe together in a foam bath with infinite other universes. Each universe got blown up by a mechanism resembling a bubble-maker toy, and each bubble has it's own set of materia and laws of physics inside of it, then - and the following presupposes that there's no more reaction between these universe bubbles than possibly that they destruct or bounce back when two or more of them collide - there would be a finite set of possible conditions in each such universe, all of them computeable. And a quantum computer could, theoretically, calculate and store all such states in finite time.

It follows that at some point in time there will exist a stored version of everything that ever has had and will have happened in our universe available. Surely some secret service wants to get their hands on that - although nowadays they should be more concerned about ensuring the safety of their president, did you hear that a shizophrenic sing language interpreter confessed having a seizure when translating at the funeral of Nelson Mandela? Is there even a limit to weirdness? Mandela is not a person to forget about easily, but I guess this circumstantial event and the irony on behalf of the US Secret Service burned the memory permanently into at least my synapses. Even if the story was untrue.

So with access to this storage - and here we are at the core of my concern: The security system stalls. At quantum level, there seems to be instant access to all possible conditions (states) of our universe. And quantum computing is bound to grant us an interface to that access network, probably sooner than most of mankind would reckon today. And there's always some wizkids who read the sign "Restricted Access - Dangerous Area" more as a guideline than an order.

I hope you can conjecture what my point is, because I have slightly lost my own crumb trail :mrgreen: , and I admit that I'm not thinking in the very near future here. Also I'll surely be more assured when eventually physicists will present a united theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. I wonder how you deal with that uncertainty yourself? What are the consequences from a philosopher's point of view? Probably I should give up on reading stuff about the multiverse. Causes a sore brain.
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby HarryStottle » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:40 pm

No need to apologise. It provided a useful opportunity to clarify my claims.

Your concerns about the threat of quantum computing is, I suggest, misplaced. NOT because it couldn't be abused as you suggest but because the same powers to intrude can also be used to block such abuse. It is no more, no less than the same problem Trusted Surveillance is proposed to solve. We already live increasingly the age where Surveillance tools are being abused against us. But used the way I advocate they will protect us. That paradigm is true WHATEVER the technology doing the surveillance. So - as ever - our concern should not be focussed on the technology but on the decision matrix which determines how it's used and who controls it.

You raise the notion of the higher level overview represented by String Theory's Quantum Multiverse. As you say, we're getting in deep and well above our pay grades, but hey, let's live dangerously and enjoy the ride. It is often said that anyone who claims to understand Quantum Mechanics, doesn't. And I don't even make the claim in the first place. But, as usual, I follow the logic of the consequences of their speculations. And, as I understand what they're saying, the only "computer" that could successfully store all possible states simultaneously would be "The Universe". It's another "incompressible algorithm" problem. And even having arbitrary access to the information contained in it wouldn't tell an observer much "useful" information. By definition, such a computer would contain every conceivable path every conceivable event chain could follow. How would that help?

For example, I would very much like to predict those Euro lottery results I mentioned earlier. But such a computer would tell me no more than I already know - every single possible outcome. It wouldn't tell me which outcome was going to be experienced by my conscious event chain or timeline. It would only be of any conceivable use (to me) if it could identify the timeline in which I personally held the winning ticket and somehow enabled my to transfer my conscious experience to that slice of the multiverse.

That's exactly the same problem which would face a hypothetical Big Brother Quantum Spy. Yes they could theoretically see all possible outcomes but they couldn't distinguish their own timeline from all the ones in which "bad things happen" or, indeed, navigate to one in which "no bad things happen". The only real use for such a computer would not lie in prediction but in post mortem. In other words, it would be very similar to the advantages I claim for Trusted Surveillance. After any event, given such a comprehensive record of the universe, we would always be able to retrace the steps that led up to the event.

The real problem for Big Bro in such a scenario is that you can't "index" the universe!

So you couldn't do what you might imagine would be incredibly useful to the authoritarian overlords. You couldn't "just" search for, say, future occasions on which loaded passenger aircraft were deliberately (or, come to that, accidentally) flown into tall buidlings. The process of searching would inevitably take as long or longer than "real time".

That limitation is probably true even for intelligent entities who exist in the 11th Dimension which some string theorists postulate. From their perspective, our space time continuum is a tiny point in the even more mind bendingly huge multiverse they inhabit. And they may well be able to focus in on our little bubble and see the "big picture" of all our timelines and their outcomes simultaneously. But even they couldn't drill down to me sitting here at my computer right now and tell me exactly which timeline I'm subjectively going to experience. They could tell me ALL the timelines different versions of me are going to experience but even if they tried to nudge me in the direction of one I'd prefer, all they'd really be doing is creating yet another new timeline!

In other words, if we give any credence to the Multiverse model at all, then the logic of that model is that ALL realities and ALL the timelines WILL happen. So even if you spot a timeline, in advance, where the "evil doers" cause yet another atrocity, and you act to prevent it. All you've done is navigate away from that timeline. You haven't prevented the timeline existing and, by definition, you cannot!
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby Stone1 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:51 pm

Hmm, hmm, hmm *scratching my head*.

You're possibly right that it's not the technology we really have worry about, and I should have a talk with a quantum physicist about that, but those are not available in abundance on my private contact list, which is an euphemistic description, though there's one physicist on scienceblogs whom I might dare to adress on the matter. I should read his series on quantum field mechanics first, though, and that's not a small task, I've already tried but soon my mind became overstrained. Too bad I wasn't enduring enough when I was younger and stopped studying physics long before the lectures on quantum mechanics. It is highly probable that I'm just too confused about the gap between relativistic and quantum mechanics.
It's already hard for our human brains to understand the consequences of relativity, and for our reallife experience mostly even classic newton mechanics is highly sufficient, so for simulating our thoughts and emotions I guess no quantum 'thinking' has to be emulated, but the simulations will run on quantum-based hardware.

Thus I still doubt that the mindlock system as described by you will provide such a good security system. From my point of view, it'll be a (very) sophisticated fingerprint, and yes, provide good one-time padding also. However, you don't seem to contemplate that the human brain isn't such a sophisticated computer after all, and by the time the mind-recording and resurrection technology becomes available, our computers will have surplussed our own capabilities and therefore it will be possible to neatly copy, simulate and compress a human brain then, because our sensual equipment can be tricked easily. At least that's what I suppose, because in contrast to simulating our whole universe, our mammalian brains and their naturally perceptable surroundings are a piece of cake.

Anyways, all of that will never have happened on planet Earth should our economy collapse and disintegrate our society on the way down. Any schedule on when to expect your blog article on Bitcoining? I really should get my own four letters up and start working on the EU/economy essay I've announced months ago, but with all that family christmas business rolling in now I surmise I won't have the opportunity to do so until the beginning of 2014. It's a good thing though that I've set up my own blog, that's a nice tool to focus one's thoughts in textual form and make notes. From one geek to another, would you have a practical recommendation on how to automatically backup my whole blog to a local harddrive? A handy tool perhaps so I don't have to take care of that on my own via tedious copying and pasting?
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby HarryStottle » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:56 pm

The key point I think you're not considering is "subversion".

I'm talking now about copying for the purpose of spoofing - fooling an authentication system into believing the copy is the original with the purpose of gaining access or priveleges available to the target being spoofed.

That you could copy the target is not in question. Indeed, copying will be a vital part of our security against all sources of harm. We'll have backups throughout the network. The question is: could you somehow unlock a copy (we've already agreed they're going to be maximally encrypted so that no one can read your content) and get it to perform the authentication procedure ON BEHALF OF AN ATTACKER.

Now, I'm assuming that the target would not willingly permit access to the attacker because otherwise the attack is unnecessary. Hence, my point is that, in order to achieve a successful attack, you'd have to persuade the reactivated copy to behave in ways we know it doesn't want to; so you'd have to force some kind of change in it, in order to make it cooperate. And that change, however small, would, I argue, be sufficient to prevent the authentication succeeding and thus the attack would fail.

Quantum Computing is a red herring. It has no bearing on that issue.

If you're inclined to argue that having unlocked the copy, it might be vulnerable to other attacks, such as social engineering (fool it into believing that everything is hunkydory so it authenticates without recognising the attack) then, while that may be valid, it is not a weakness inherent to the copying process. The original target will be just as vulnerable to such attacks.

In other words, secure copying, providing the copies are genuinely identical, does not increase the risk of spoofing because the copy will be no more likely to cooperate with the attacker than the original - and the mindlock (assuming, too, that this proposal conforms to my speculation - or else it's pointless) will prevent all attacks based on coercion.

So it doesn't come down to whether copies would be less secure than the original (they wouldn't) or what technology is used to copy or unlock them. It comes down to whether or not the Mindlock would work. And here, of course, your scepticism is entirely justified because I'm proposing something utterly revolutionary (in both neurological and authentication terms) and have no idea whether it's achievable.

What I do suggest - even assert - is that none of the above will be achievable without the Mindlock or something very similar which achieves the same degree of authentication and security.
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby HarryStottle » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:59 pm

On other matters: Wordpress backups are simple enough. Login to your dashboard. Select the Tools menu, then Export, then download your blog as a xml file. It's designed as a migration tool but obviously it works just as well as a backup...

The bitcoin blog is simmering. It won't really be about bitcoins, so much as what the bitcoin phenomenon reveals/confirms about "money". My modest proposal will be the complete abolition of all debt to date. But I need to find evidence for the material value of all the assets in the world and that's proving somewhat more difficult than I expected because most lists of global assets INCLUDE the debt I'm proposing to abolish. i.e. Country X's debt is regarded as Country Y's asset. I'm after a reliable source for the value of REAL assets. (Real Estate, untapped mineral wealth, "treasure" etc)
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby Stone1 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:50 pm

All righty, you managed to bushwack some dense scrub in my confused thoughts, thanks. I'll accept that quantum computing is a red herring on this issue. Until I fully understand quantum mechanics (so probably never) there will remain some unrest inside my mental storage, never mind that now, though.

...

Should have found out about that Wordpress export function myself, silly me, thanks a lot, and I promise I'll explore WP more thoroughly before asking more stupid questions like that.

On the bitcoin-topic: are you tormenting Wolfram Alpha on the real asset values? I just played around with it a bit, but unfortunately it seems to have only very limited data archives, although it would be the perfect tool for such research. Good luck on your quest!

I don't know whether you've already done that, in case you haven't it might be helpful: If you don't find enough exact data, you could try to make a good approximation calculating it as a . Or at least use this method to check whether your calculations are plausible.
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby HarryStottle » Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:43 pm

oh, don't beat yourself up on the WP issue. I didn't know the answer myself but I'm sufficiently familiar with the opaque WP menuing system to know that it's a waste of time randomly searching. Just google the question and you'll find the answer much quicker than trying to learn their structures. And your question made me realise that I haven't backed up my own blog since I migrated from Stumbleupon, so I used the XML export myself. However, if you open up the resulting file it has a warning about not being a full site backup. It's also obvious that you can't "use" the backup in any useful way so now I've re-installed my Teleport Pro (recommended, even though you have to pay for it - the open source cloning tools don't seem to cut it) and captured it that way. (Provides a proper browsable copy on your local system and can even pull in the external media you link to, if you let it, which I usually don't otherwise it would be a colossal waste of disk estate)

Feels like I've been waiting for about 10 years for Wolfram Alpha to become useful. It still ain't. 'least not for the stuff I tend to look for. And a Fermi approximation of the Asset values won't work in context. One of the points I wish to make is that current global debt massively outweighs global assets (when we exclude debt from the asset calculation). Hence, I will argue, the world as a whole will not suffer by the complete abolition of debt. Only a handful - those who hold most debt - will suffer and given the freeing up of all the debt repayments, we'll have more than enough to ensure that even they don't suffer, other than psychologically and, perhaps, politically. I need to have pretty good evidence for that in order to make that argument, so an intelligent estimate won't cut it...
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby Stone1 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 4:45 pm

Before it gets lost in my browser history, I note the link to an interesting article about recent obfuscation/cryptography developments here.
Sounds useful regarding the mindlock topic, maybe we can discuss it here eventually.
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Re: The Informed Consent Protocol

Postby HarryStottle » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:37 pm

hmmm... actually read a bit about that obfuscation option in the Reg about a month ago but this article provides a lot more information. Digesting...
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