Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)



Roy Freed, Computer Law Global Pioneer on Computers, Mind, Information and its Serious Implications

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Roy Freed.

Roy FreedRoy Freed, Computer Law Global Pioneer on Computers, the Mind, and Information, and Their Serious Implications.

About Roy Freed

Roy graduated from Yale Law School in 1940. He is known as the "grandfather of computer law," having introduced that subject in 1960 and was its acknowledged guru internationally until retirement in 1986. He authored the first book on that subject and countless professional articles, and lectured about it throughout the world.

Roy taught the subject as an adjunct at the Boston University School of Law for seven years. He is one of the seven founders, in 1971, of the Computer Law Association, now the International Technology Law Association, a bar association.

Currently Roy is a specialist on the physical functioning of the human mind by its unique manipulation of evolution-exploited natural physical energy signals that represent facts and ideas. He is writing a book for non-scientists about his pioneering work. Roy believes that the human mind is a unique animate machine that both operates, roughly like computers, by means of coded discrete batches of electrochemical signals that are counterparts of the electromagnetic signals within computers, instead of the solid parts of traditional mechanical machines, and performs thinking by purposefully manipulating those batches to serve as the control center of the entire body as it circulates maximally autonomously in the environment in its various societies. He also believes that all information is those coded batches of those different types of energy signals, rather than the nebulous something people implicitly assume it to be, if they think about it at all. In addition to those internal mental signals, human communication is conducted by means of natural analog sound waves and light photons, which the senses automatically convert into their mental counterparts. Hence, the mind is the creation of evolution. Also, the mind operates in accordance with internal instructions equivalent to computer programs, being, on the one hand, the instincts equivalent to operating systems, and, on the other hand, mental application programs constantly updated by thinking and from inputs from the environment. This functional approach to those two fundamental topics provides long-needed understanding of human behavior from a constructivist cognitive psychology perspective and has significant long-overlooked ramifications for various information-related professionals, especially lawyers and mental health therapists, and through them, for their clients and patients. The legal implications are multifaceted, enabling many laws to be improved by being stated factually more accurately to carry out more faithfully their underlying social policies in such fields as constitutional law, tort law, personal property law, intellectual property law, and tax law.

Furthermore in extended communications with Roy, he provides: His Perceptions

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


"A Functional Explanation of the Evolution-created Information Technology of the Human Mind and Its Encompassing Body, and Its Legal Implications: A More Informative Approach for Non-scientists Than at a Neuroscientific Level." —Roy Freed


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:56: How would you describe yourself in five sentences or less?
"....I try to be an open-minded objective and a helping person and combine both those aspects to think deeply about the human mind....It appears that I have a better functioning mind at 94 than I ever had before and I have the luxury in retirement to exercise my mind as fully as possible...."

:02:40: What currently usable life and career lesson can you share from your long history of successes and impactful roles?
"....First I must admit that I've made my share of mistakes and has my share of problems, but I'm fortunate that early on I recognized the importance of being adaptable to change...."

:04:28: What is your current role and how will you achieve your goals?
"....My present role is to publicize my deep interest in the human mind..... It's a wonderful opportunity; it's enjoyable to engage in that thinking and believe that I'm making an advancement of knowledge and contributing to society...."

:06:40: Why is it unreasonable to attribute behavior to a supernatural force?
"....I think that it is unreasonable because it diverts people from recognizing that they are responsible for their behavior and are entitled to claim credit for their good behavior. It's unreasonable to think that undoubtedly a non-existent force contributes those aspects of life...."

:07:26: Why is teaching both the universal mind and computers an ideal way to inspire people to think deeply and to want to learn about STEM?
"..... I think the prevalence of knowledge about computers which fascinates people is an ideal subject because it is so related to the mind....That's particularly true to (so called) STEM, which is the teaching of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics because computers are so integrated into that area of practice and knowledge..."

:08:34: Do you have a view on the global mind or collective minds working in unison?
"....The entire world is, in my estimation, a gigantic haphazardly operating computational mechanism. I think that comprehension is an ideal way to understand the environment in which all of us are existing...."

:09:40: How does social learning, social evolution, Fox P2 gene uniquely lead to the human mind?
"....Social evolution is normal interaction of people as they develop, add new knowledge and understanding they are the mind and our living is the result of their operation automatically...."

:10:24: To what degree is the mind a tabula rasa at birth and how does this explain the adult mind?
"....Evolution provided this interesting mechanism by which that knowledge it needs arrives automatically from the environment. The environment of course starts with the parents, but it continually expands and because the mind is continually plastic throughout life (like a sculpture). The sculpting occurs automatically by the receipt of input signals from the environment and that creates a unique point of view, state of mind or ego for each person....."

:13:06: What is the role of epigenetics in your model of the mind and of environmental influences pre-birth on the mind? For example, food scarcity while pregnant influences behaviors throughout life for the newborn.
"....This subject of epigenetics in not a subject I'm qualified to talk about. Of course, the development of the fetus is influenced by a number of factors...."

:14:07: What are your views on biases?
"....Upon birth the infant starts to receive input signals constituting information from the parents and the environment and that tends to automatically create in each mind a singular independent unique body of knowledge that constitutes the point of view, mindset or ego or persona and that influences the lives thereafter as it grows. There's a susceptibility that each mind has to ideologies represented by the point of view, of the parents especially, but also the environment in which the person is living...."

:17:19: What are your views on resistance to change?
"....Ive encountered that in my efforts to publicize my perception of the mind and it's amazing how self destructive it can be for so many people and it's a big challenge to counteract it...."

:18:02: What are your views on this concept of: "I think, therefore I am" versus "I am, thus I think"?
"....As I think of them I think they are two sides of the same coin. People have to think in order to exist. They have to think both for devising their activities and operating their body structure....When you talk about 'I am, thus I think', that indicates the fact that people normally are created by evolution to think both overtly and subconsciously in order to operate as an individual functioning animate machine...."

:19:44: Roy explains how computers can be models for an overall top-down functional explanation of the human mind.
"....Words and numbers are purely abstract in the mind and the mind operates only on these physical batches of energy signals. Computers provide a model for inferring the presence of the various features in the mind and provide opportunities for comparing those in computers with those of the mind...."

:23:18: In the context of the mind, what is free will and creativity?
"....That's the unique feature of the mind. The ability of this entity within our skull to combine items of knowledge, to innovate new knowledge and to actually override some of the influences that automatically arise in the mind from its internal programming or instructions that are comparable to programs in computers...."

:24:08: How would you explain, Shannon's statement that "Information is signals that are not noise"?
"....Signals that arrive that ordinarily would be representing knowledge, facts and ideas arrive at a mind or computer and seek entry into that machine, but they will only be received if the mind or computer is instructed or programmed to accept them and work with them. So signals that purport to be information that are not acceptable are technically in Shannon's idea, noise...."

:27:37: What are your views on machine learning research and its relationship to your mind model?
"....I think that machine learning methods introduce ways to introduce signals of knowledge into minds in the hope that the recipients will benefit from them. Those signals are equivalent to signals introduced by people in a natural interaction by teachers or otherwise...."

:28:07: What are the legal implications in terms of all your thinking and all of the innovation that you are doing now about the mind?
"....The functional perception of the mind provides an ideal way to understand how minds operate (especially how they operate on information as it is physical batches of energy signals that represent facts and ideas). I think it's important for people in the law to recognize this functional operation of mind in order to write laws that are factually accurate and properly carry out the social policies behind them...."

:30:18: What should be the legal implications of your writings about mind information?
"....I think legal people should start to recognize the physical functioning of the mind in various contexts and apply it to their laws...."

:30:36: Why is your current work more significant than introducing computing law in 1960?
"....Early computer law was so basic that it pales in significance....Thinking of the mind is so much more significant and addressing the legal aspects of behavior and conduct and their fundamental concepts that should be accounted for in the law...."

:31:43: How does your work apply to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and sources of mental disturbances?
"....My perception is primarily helpful in providing a more accurate, factual perception of what's happening in the minds of people who look for help...."

:32:45: Roy shares how his work on the mind and information is transformational in other fields and domains of science.
"....I feel that the other fields and professions to which my perceptions are pertinent is almost unlimited and should be embraced...."

:34:30: What are your views on functional magnetic resonance imaging promise of mind reading? [Research is already demonstrating this]
"....I can't claim to be the right scientist on neuroscience. but I get the impression that magnetic resonance imaging primarily reveals where things happen in the mind, but not how they happen...."

:36:14: Why won't computers ever replicate the mind?
"....I'm not a seer, but I believe that the evolution-created actual detailed operation of the mind will always remain too elusive for people to replicate it. But that's my personal feeling...."

:38:00: I know this is difficult but how will computers augment our minds in 20 years time?
"....All I can say is the way that the trajectory is now in technological development. We will undoubtedly experience more helping aid for computation, communication and the creative minds will make that contribution, but where it'll end up I can't say. I certainly won't be around in 20 years to witness that...."

:38:45: Beyond what we have discussed, what would you consider some areas of controversy or much discussion in the areas that you work in or where you have interest?
"....My problem of controversy is this: I haven't really encountered people so far with whom I can discuss this and identify the controversies. It's been very frustrating...."

:40:57: What innovations in your areas of expertise should we be watching for in the next five years?
"....In the area of law, I think that the recognition or acceptance of my perception of the physical functioning mind would be an invaluable contribution....Adopting them would create an increased role for forensic psychologists who testify in court regarding mental problems and behavior and things like that in resolving issues of responsibility...."

:42:43: Related to your current work, what specific challenges and opportunities should IT practitioners and businesses embrace today and in five years?
"....With a better understanding of the way the mind works people can deal with each other in designing activity programs more constructively and possibly overcome the polarization...."

:43:26: From your extensive speaking, travels, and work, do you have any interesting stories to share from all your experiences and your interesting roles?(Perhaps something amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing).
"....The diverse way presumably intelligent people behave enhances my curiosity...."

:48:06: If you were conducting this interview, what 3 questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers?
"....I don't have 3 questions, I'm so focused on that subjectivity which I think is the fundamental limiting factor in the operation of the mind and the operation of society that it's worthy of intensive study to try identify ways to avoid it and overcome it...."