Re: [sl4] prove your source code

From: Nick Tarleton (
Date: Wed Jul 16 2008 - 13:38:48 MDT

On Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 11:13 AM, Stuart Armstrong <> wrote:

> >> 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?
> >
> > A trusted third party with appropriate access (not necessarily a mind,
> maybe
> > just the operating system) could confirm this.
> Still don't see how that could overcome an SI deliberately intended to
> deceive. Commands such as "do this for ten thousand years, then change
> your code to this" would not be detectable.

If such commands were obfuscated, of course they could be a problem, as
could any number of other obfuscated commands.

> You'd need to give it a
> very thourough check, be in control of the hardware while doing so,
> and have an idea of the history of the source code.

The trusted third party could be in control of and inform you about the

I don't see why the history would be necessary, although knowing that a
hostile agent tampered with the source could make you more careful of
obfuscated nastiness. Either way, though, you'd want to rigorously prove
cooperation if possible.

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