Friday, February 26, 2010

A Digression [Off Topic]

It 's a bit late but I had some thoughts after watching the finale of "Dollhouse" regarding the nature of identity

I think that if we ever develop downloadable brain scans, we will have a big problem with societal issues that depend on identity,  Right now, we can equate personal identity with the physical body - we are, or are in, one body.  It is possible for others to influence us, but we are ultimately in control.  But if it were possible to download someone else's personality into our brain, we lose that mapping.

Consider how voting is done - we prove our unique identity by proving we are the physical body named in the voting rolls.  If that body could contain a different person, the "one man, one vote"  assumption fails.  While voting is perhaps less susceptible to this kind of fraud (as it's easier to crack the voting machines and fake tallies than to alter individual votes one by one), there are still a number of cases where the unique identity we ascribe to the physical body must be accurate, or we risk much - suppose the President was "replaced" - how would we be able to tell?

And even further out - uploaded minds can be copied at will - how do we vote for things when each side can produce multiple copies of its voters?

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Brian Tkatch said...

Interesting point. Care to develop it a bit more?

Dixie Software Ninja said...

Well, how do you mark votes from a digital entity? Presumably with some form of public-key encryption. But if you can make an exact copy of a given "mind", each will have a copy of that key. If the key is distributed from an external source, what keeps any entity from cloning itself many times to "stuff the ballot box"?