**From:** Wei Dai (*weidai@weidai.com*)

**Date:** Wed Jul 16 2008 - 06:15:37 MDT

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Lee Corbin wrote:

*> Naturally, they may have each other's source code at hand,
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*> and be able to study it at leisure. Doubtless they can even
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*> make some general prognostications. But I'm sure that by
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*> "know" you mean more than that.
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Actually, the difficulty I had in mind was the seeming impossibility of

*proving* one's source code to another. Sure, one SI can just send her

source code to another, but how does the other SI know that it's not just

some source code that she wants him to think she's running?

It seems that if it *were* possible to prove one's source code to another,

interesting things besides superrationality, like for example self-enforcing

contracts, would be possible. (One simply modifies one's source code to

guarantee attempts to fulfill the contract terms and then prove the new

source code to the counterparties.)

*>> I suspect that two machines of similar complexity and capacity
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*>> would run into a parallel concern.
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*>
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*>Seems clear to me too.
*

But the two SIs don't have to emulate each other perfectly. Assuming the

above problem is solved, they just have to prove to each other that the

source code they are running implements superrationality (or whatever). It

is a difficult problem to prove anything about an arbitrary program, but it

should be possible to construct a program in a way that makes the proof

easy. This is a known technique that goes under the name of "proof-carrying

code".

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