A space opera sultan has a problem. Sentient androids are haram, but an unwelcome android spy has saved his life and helped prevent a coup. Rather than have the android destroyed as his ministers demand, the sultan has declared it will be encased in a dewar sarcophagus filled with magnetized liquid oxygen and disposed of off-planet. (Apparently there is an ancient electromagnetic dewar sarcophagus in the basement of the royal palace for exactly this purpose).

The android's main characteristic, aside from being an abomination in the shape of a human female, is its mutable skin which can be deformed to fit sockets, data jacks, and terminals. It's presumed the android can also transmit and receive electromagnetic signals through the skin – creating a universal interface to hack and control all data systems.

The android is probably not invulnerable or particularly strong, as it has been separated from its armored exo-suit. Actual operational parameters of the android are unknown. For the moment it is cooperating.

The sultan needs to fully incapacitate the android – at least until it becomes someone else's problem. Truth be told, he doesn't really care if the android survives the ordeal, but he also feels he begrudgingly owes it a life-debt. Securing the safety of his planet is the priority.

What is your advice to the sultan?

  • $\begingroup$ What is "electrified liquid oxygen"? Liquid oxygen, all right, but what does it mean to "electrify" it? (The usual meanings are "to pass an electric current through it", which won't work, liquid oxygen being an insulator, and "to charge with electricity", which would work but I cannot see what it would do to the gynoid more than what plain liquid oxygen would.) And to what degree is it to be electrified? $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 26 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP Whoops! I might have meant "dielectric" and gotten confused… the goal is to prevent em signals in or out (or to overload them with noise). How should I edit the question? $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit May 26 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ Dielectrics (aka insulators) do not do anything to block or hinder electromagnetic signals; hence their name, through-electrics, because electric fields pass through them. To block radio signals encase the sarcophagus in a metal jacket, preferably a good conductor such as copper, silver or gold. $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 26 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP , but a sarcophagus in a sarcophagus seems less glamorous (but believable and far more practical)…. How about an alternate liquid? Metallic hydrogen maybe? $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit May 26 at 15:36
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    $\begingroup$ It's not a sarcophagus in a sarcophagus, it's a full metal jacket sarcophagus! Very stylish! $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 26 at 17:22

Oxygen is electronegative and paramagnetic. Under extreme pressures is can be conductive, but since you are using terms like dewar, I am assuming you that mean Oxygen that was cooled until it liquified.

The electronegative quality means that oxygen atoms will scavenge free electrons and become stable ions. This makes it difficult to electrify LOX.

The paramagnetic quality means it reacts in response to external magnetic fields. Apparently, if you place a magnet in LOX (let it cool down so it isn't boiling away the LOX), then if you pull it out the LOX will adhere to it like so many iron filings.

So, if your containment system used LOX in a dewar with electromagnets then as long as the electromagnets were powered the LOX could be solidified -- depending on the strength of the magnetic field.

The paramagnetic quality means that the magnetic dipole of the Oxygen atoms will align with the local field. This would distort, but not block, RF radiation and make digital communications protocol less reliable.

  • $\begingroup$ "adhere to it like so many iron filings" Thank you @EDL, it's a graphic novel, so this sounds like the visual I am hoping for. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit May 26 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ "Adhere to it like so many iron filings" -- quotation definitely needed, unless you are talking about a mind-blowingly strong magnet... $\endgroup$ – AlexP May 26 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP One of many demonstrations of the paramagnetism of Oxygen. youtube.com/watch?v=Lt4P6ctf06Q And, I think the word you intended to use was citation, not quotation. $\endgroup$ – EDL May 26 at 21:49

If all you want to do is imprison it and make sure it can’t communicate using wireless signals then put it in an underground prison. If it isn’t stronger than a normal human than normal iron bars will hold it. That would be the most expedient solution for the Sultan to just forget about it.

But if it was personal and he was really angry and wanted it to suffer, a sarcophagus with a built-in Faraday Cage (copper shielding) to block RF communications would be a sensory deprivation prison.


The problem is not the sentience. The problem is that it is an android.

A human shaped sentient that is artificial could be reasonably considered haram. Fortunately, the builders of the android put it in a human shape chiefly to meet market demand. Certain functionalities depend on that shape, but the intelligence of the android does not.

And, very fortunately, this android has mutable skin.

The sultan moves the intelligence of the android to the body of an animal. The androids skin will be removed and can conform to the new skeletal structure. The intelligence will remain intact. I was thinking a flightless crow would be good because it walks on two legs, they are expected to be intelligent and can speak. If the different body plan is too much for the android to cope with, it could be placed in a humanoid body which was explicitly nonhuman enough to appease the scholars who decide such things in this society.


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