Re: Proof by construction, again (was Re: [sl4] prove your source code)

From: Stuart Armstrong (
Date: Mon Jul 21 2008 - 06:45:50 MDT

> Entity A could prove to entity B that it has source code S by
> consenting to be replaced by a new entity A' that was constructed by a
> manufacturing process jointly monitored by A and B. During this
> process, both A and B observe that A' is constructed to run source
> code S. After A' is constructed, A shuts down and gives all of its
> resources to A'.

Good idea. This should reduce the problem to a pure monitoring issue.

> An agent making a copy of itself would have the same problem. It could not verify that the copy is exact. It has to trust the copy process.

Well, yes. Just as it has to trust that its code is not getting
rewritten day to day by large scale coherent quantum fluctuations.

The copying process just needs to be accurate to within x%, with the
agent aware of this x% and in agreement with the risk. The agent
expects to gain from the process; depending on its utility (including
its attitude to risk), it will determine whether the x% is acceptable
or not.

Perfection doesn't exist, and is not required.


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