Oct. 22nd, 2010

zwol: ((mad) science)
Suppose for the sake of this hypothetical that magic works if and only if a quorum of observers expect it to work (sort of like in Waldo & Magic, Inc.) You have constructed, in the privacy of your lab, a security checkpoint which works by magic: it casts "detect malicious intent" on anyone who walks through. Perhaps it can even do this to objects, picking up on the intent of the assembler, and so for instance distinguish a bomb from a properly packaged shipment of explosives.

If you could get everyone to adopt this device, security screening at airports and elsewhere would be faster, more accurate, and far less intrusive. But the trouble is, it only works if people believe it will. (Assume it's not a problem if the person being scanned doesn't believe it works, as long as the operator and enough of the other people in the area do.)

How do you persuade people it works?

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