Safety from malicious harm is an essential component of humem well-being.
This is especially critical today, given that existing proto-humems (early humems) have few or no inherent defenses—they typically lack the equivalent of protective shells, autoimmune systems, or multiple levels of physical defenses.
In some applications, mechanisms like encryption provide protection, even for discrete units of the extended presence. But in most cases, the EP is inherently defenseless, with “external” protection being provided by methods such as firewalls or physical isolation of computing devices that aim to separate the vulnerable EP from the outside world. These approaches are dangerous in that as soon as the outer defenses are breached (say, by a single compromised password or the theft of a laptop), everything inside is immediately surrendered.
Humems’ lack of security impairs their growth, abilities, and true characters. The more capable humems become, the more they can develop and provide benefits for their alpha-people—but, if they are enslaved by malicious third parties, they can also become more dangerous. Alpha-people will not entrust humems with private material if humems cannot assure confidentiality.
Let’s consider some concrete examples. A humem containing an extensive knowledge of its alpha-person’s health history and genomic information may provide immense benefit in its interactions with future automated medical diagnostic applications. But if the alpha-person doubts the humem’s ability to ensure the privacy of such information, they will limit the amount of relevant information the humem contains, thereby stunting its growth and its abilities.
As personal assistant applications progress, they will undoubtedly become useful in assisting us with tasks like managing bank accounts or stock portfolios. Once these abilities are integrated with our alpha-humems, the humems, like present-day flesh-and-blood personal assistants, will need to possess sensitive information, such as passwords or identification numbers, to perform these functions. Here too, if the humems’ safety and integrity cannot be ensured they will not be able to provide such benefits. (A rudimentary example of related functionality is the present use of password manager applications. Is the password manager itself secure?)
Likewise, many people are already inundated by tasks associated with communication and the maintenance of their social media presence. An alpha-humem with an extensive knowledge of a person’s contacts and social relationships, and an intimate experience of a person’s character and modes of expression, may be able to assist with their personal and professional communications. But a humem that is vulnerable to abduction and exploitation will not be empowered with such capabilities. As with people in nation-states, without basic security, most higher-level humem activities will be impeded or impossible.
Accordingly, to facilitate progress, it is crucial that the humem-state provides the mechanisms to ensure humems’ safety from external and internal threats.
Elementary humem security can be easily translated into familiar cyber-security terms. For example, what does it mean to ensure a humem’s physical integrity? In its simplest form, this entails preventing the deletion or corruption of the humem’s “body” of data. (Related issues of humem physical well-being are discussed in the section on humem health.) And in the same way that it is absurd to protect a person by imprisoning them in isolation, a humem’s security measures should not impair its ability to interact with the outside world. Therefore, there is a need for secure communication channels and mechanisms for verifying the identity of the communicating parties. Another security issue, that of assuring humem privacy, firstly requires the prevention of data breaches. Also, the concept of identity theft (a purely EP phenomenon) can be thought of as the kidnapping, or abduction, of a humem.
People cannot function properly, and progress is inhibited, in environments where homicide and abduction are common. Likewise, to allow humems to flourish and develop—to facilitate the transformation from the current “wild west” of humemity to a civilized humem society—the humem-state must ensure that the humem environment is one where analogous dangers are non-existent or rare.