Deontological imprimatur: what, exactly, is it?

I’ve been intrigued by the expression “a mixed mechanism inducing a deontological imprimatur is required” but I have been unable to interpret it. The context in which it is used, too, is a bit difficult to understand for me.

Is there an available end-user level clarification? Thank you very much.

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Dear Roberto

Thanks for your question and please excuse the delay (October was a busy month).

I also apologize for the confusion: The paragraph containing the expression in question

In our view, a mixed mechanism inducing a (1) deontological imprimatur is required. Such an imprimatur cannot be static, but (2) generative; must be (3) compulsory enforceable, and have its secrets (4) provable, but (5) hidden. We envision human beings encoded as keys in HoTT formulations of closed-loop cybernetic control systems over keyed entangled states, with non-local multiplayer games and zero-knowledge protocols

was intended to trace the barest of outlines w/in the strict limits of the 1-page abstract (with more explanatory details to follow in a talk and later paper). This being said, let me attempt to shed some light on the numbered items in the sentence.

The goal is to embed ‘immortal’ information into finite systems. I posit that one condition must be that 1) if this information were absent, such systems would need to cease to function. This is the 1) ‘deontological imprimatur’, the sina-qua-non condition that the system must ceased to (usefully) function without it. In different domains and times, one talked about élan vital or a soul vivifying the body.

Another condition I foresee be that 2) this information needs be refreshed at every instance to be useful. For if the information were static (if one could freeze it statically in time) it could be captured, removed from the system and replayed as a hollow simulation, thereby defeating the purpose of permanent embedding. Hence this ‘soul’ information needs to be dynamically generated anew, changing in some respects yet unchanging in others.

Point 3) describes processes that enforce this imprimatur throughout the system. This is going to be more involved and I have to think how to present this in layman’s terms.

Point 4-5) provable but hidden means: It must be possible for the system to check/prove that it contains this permanent information, yet not reveal it. This is necessary to prevent it from being ‘known’ in a sense that one could freeze it in time. In computer science theory, we have a device called a zero-knowledge proof protocol – a probabilistic way of showing you that I know something without revealing to you that ‘something’ directly (see Ali Baba’s cave for a gentle introduction http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~mkowalcz/628.pdf )

If you discern echoes from seemingly bygone eras (eg Bergson’s “duration”, Aristotle’s “First Cause”, Descartes “constant recreation”, Baudrilliard “Simulacra” ), then I think we have reached some conceptual common ground.

Please let me know if these brief explanations were helpful. Thanks, as always, for your engagement.

Have a great day


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Dear Daniel,

I'm happy to hear from you again, and willing to give you a first feed-back, having the intention to post a wider answer later.

I have carefully read your answer (Ali Baba's story included) and I have collected materials about Bergson, Descartes and so on; however, I must confess that what you say is not yet perfectly clear to me. Reflecting on this, I found two points through which we could probably advance our discussion:

1) Instantiation: is it possible to concretely exemplify some abstract concept (like "immortal information", that I find crucial but also difficult)?

2) The boundary: MMIE implies a boundary between human and machine; this looks as difficult as to detect the boundary between human and apes "intelligence", but something about this should exist in computer science theory. Have you any hint for me about this?

Thank you very much and my best regards


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