Inscrit le: 19 Sep 2009
Mer 30 Sep - 23:40 (2009)
Crime and Punishment
There are significantly fewer crimes that are possible to commit in S.A.’s highertech civilizations.
Robbery is just about gone. The average security system consists of a few thousand microscopic robots, which can sense airflow, heat, and visible light... and which are everywhere. How could they avoid getting a good picture of the robber? They’ll end up with the guy’s fingerprints, retinal scans, and a DNA sample before he leaves.
Pickpocketing, too, is nearly gone. First, most civilizations don’t have physical money. Theoretically one might be able to steal someone’s money by starting an illicit transaction with their dermal microbots (or their skin mesh), but you’d still need their voice and gesture for confirmation. Faking either one of those would be very noticeable. Breaking the encryption would be possible if you had enormous piles of computer time, but if you have enormous piles of computer time, there are probably better ways to spend it. Groups like the Tao might still have physical money, but if someone steals it the victim just deauthorizes it and prints some more — they believe in authenticity, not perfect imitation.
Crimes like speeding can be made impossible right now, today in the real world. Simply mandate speed limiters fitted into automobiles. If you’d rather enforce laws than prevent people from breaking them, you can just implant some cameras and velocity-meters into road signs. Just think, a ticket sent right to your house, with your picture on it, your speed at the time, and a picture of your car’s license plate number.
The nastier crimes, like murder and rape, are still possible, though it’s even less likely that someone will get away with it. You’d not only have to corner the person where they can’t yell for help, you also have to jam radio transmissions and vacuum up all of the victim’s microbots.
Con men are definitely still a problem, especially with the advent of powerful Metatechnology. If someone convinces you to do something, well, you did it. High-Meta characters can lie their way through rehab programs, talk their way out of most arrests before they go anywhere near trial, and sometimes even talk their way out of jail. Laws about exercise of personal charisma and persuasiveness are exceptionally difficult to write, but banning the treatments/implants/training that gives you such charisma would make your whole civilization fall behind in the technology race. It’s a lose-lose situation. Having a high-Metatech police force and judiciary system is very important.
In the end, well-made anti-crime memes and psychohistorical engineering help to keep down criminal intent in most civilizations. The fact that anyone with a decent level of Cognitech, Nanotech, or Stringtech can turn themselves into a walking talking LoJak will deter many would-be criminals. Confidence scams and the occasional high-stringtech flipout (“I’m pissed off and I can level a mountain!”) are the major remaining problems.
Traditional jails are generally acknowledged not to work. Rehab programs are much more effective, especially with high-Meta counselors. For those with the bad luck to be born psychotic or sociopathic, there’s always a control mesh... but that smells like the Cognitive Union, and most civilizations would be very unlikely to consider that in all but the worst cases. Even in the worst cases, other methods would be examined first. Drugging someone for the rest of their life is a minor invasion of their volition compared to literally rewiring their brains. There are the usual fines and community service, which are unlikely to ever go away — sometimes a slap on the wrist is exactly what you need.
The really smart criminals don’t start by committing crimes. They start by getting organized.