Seems to me that the autonomous system is guilty of aiding and abetting a
crime, or conspiracy, or something like that. Either it's a sentient being
and must follow the law, or risk punishment of some sort, or it isn't, and
Bob has to be responsible.
On Fri, Mar 1, 2013 at 6:54 PM, Anon195714 <anon195714(a)sbcglobal.net> wrote:
Since I couldn't make it in person...
Assume the existence of intelligent computers that can make autonomous
decisions, which many folks believe will become a reality in the near
Alice Analyst publishes virus source code in an online computer security
publication. So far that's clearly protected speech, nobody here would
Bob Badguy reads the article and types the code manually into a computer,
with the overt or covert intent for the computer to broadcast the virus and
infect other computers.
Does it matter whether the computer into which Bob enters the virus source
code, is an ordinary computer that does what it's told, vs. an intelligent
computer that has the capacity to make autonomous decisions?
Clearly if the computer is an ordinary one that is not capable of
autonomous decisions, then Bob's typing of the virus code into it would
constitute an "action" rather than "speech," and would not be
He could be successfully prosecuted for unleashing the virus upon the
But if the computer is an intelligent one that can make autonomous
decisions, then could Bob rightfully claim that his typing of the virus
code into that intelligent computer was _also_ protected speech, merely an
exercise in communication with another sentient being, the same as Alice's
On 13-03-01-Fri 8:22 AM, Eddan Katz wrote:
Dear Kopimists and the People who Love Them.
For the featured Filo delicacy for Friday Filosophy, we will have potato
I propose we talk about the difference between source code, object code,
and executable code in regards to 1st Amendment protection. In other words,
when is code speech and when is it a speech-act subject to less legal
Below is an excerpt from an essay by Lee Tien, a brilliant EFF attorney
for more than a decade, on Software as Speech (2000). These two paragraphs
are in the section: Viruses and other "dangerous" software.
Of course, as always, we can talk about whatever else. Such as
conscience and the unconscionable, perhaps.
Lee Tien, Publishing Software as a Speech Act, Vol. 15 Berkeley Tech.
Law Journal (2000)
Let’s return to the virus
main concern lies in the fact that the software may be “diverted” toward
unlawful purposes, regardless of the speaker’s intent. This concern is,
however, not unique to software. It also applies to other types of
information usable for mischief or harassment, whether highly technical
like information about nuclear weapons, or utterly mundane like a person’s
name, address or telephone number.
Even if the virus author merely posts the source code and fails to release
it in active form, the issue remains whether the posting was done with an
intent to communicate. If the author claims that she intended it to
communicate, we would need to examine the context to decide the
plausibility of that claim. There will often be a plausible claim. There is
no question that people study viruses and other dangerous software in order
to prevent or relieve
way to control a virus is to publish its source code so that systems
operators can disable or protect against it. Communicating a virus’ source
code as part of such an effort qualifies as a speech act because the
publisher intends to communicate how the virus works in a conventional way.
In fact, one could imagine entire journals or Internet sites devoted to
viruses and other dangerous
such publications aim to alert the world to these dangers, their intent is
sent from eddan.com
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