Rebecca Roache, a philosophy professor at the University of Oxford, has discussed with the Daily Mail – that noted institution of social justice and progress – her hope that transhumanism and biotechnology will soon allow criminals to be locked up and tormented in artificial hells that last for thousands of years.
‘Of course, there is a widely held view that any amount of tinkering with a person’s brain is unacceptably invasive,’ she said. ‘But you might not need to interfere with the brain directly.’
Time distortion, for instance, is already a technique used in interrogation, where people are exposed to constant light, or unusual light changes, so that they can’t tell what time of day it is.
Another scenario being explored by the group is uploading the criminal’s mind to a digital realm to speed up the 1,000 year sentence.
‘As the technology required to scan and map human brain processes improves, some believe it will one day be possible to upload human minds on to computers,’ Dr Roache said.
This means that with sufficient computer power, it would be possible to speed up the rate at which an uploaded mind runs.
Similarly, uploading the mind of a convicted criminal and running it a million times faster than normal would enable the uploaded criminal to serve a 1,000 year sentence in eight-and-a-half hours.
‘This would, obviously, be much cheaper for the taxpayer than extending criminals’ lifespans to enable them to serve 1,000 years in real time,’ said Dr Roache.
Despite being a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, Rebecca Roache doesn’t appear able to see that some of the most basic and obvious requirements of justice would be lacking in such a scheme. For example, a falsely convicted prisoner experiencing a subjective hell of 1,000 years in an objective 8 and 1/2 hours would not have the basic hope of appealing and having his conviction overturned during the sentence, or indeed of making any appeal over the length and severity of his punishment. A punishment lasting a thousand years or more (subjectively) would be completed without any possibility of a wrongful conviction being corrected before its completion. In the real world, social mores change from generation to generation. Perhaps if they had had this proposed technology in 1952, Alan Turing wouldn’t have been simply ‘castrated’ but sentenced to a 100 years of subjective torment. He would still have died long before society came to the conclusion that his conviction was a stain upon humanity.
But none of this may be of any concern to her, because it appears that Rebecca Roache doesn’t seem to take issues of false accusations and the possibility of wrongful convictions very seriously at all. This is a tweet she made on January 16th, when Bill Roache (presumably no relation to her) and Dave Lee Travis were still going through their personal hells facing their (false) accusers in court :