In my world, an Omniscient creature exists.
We don't know how it got here, or if it was created, but it's real, and it's been "willing" to help humans for a long time now. However, every thing we might ask to this being comes with a price :
One answer costs one human life, given after the answer.
It's omniscient, but it's got its limits :
- It knows everything people know, and remembers everything since it was here, but not more (the first mathematicians and physicists were quite disappointed)
- It cannot compute anything. Meaning that it analyses very well, but cannot create information out of those analysis (like solve unsolved mathematics problems, give perfect answers to philosophical questions, etc.)
While Omni (as it's called) was used by governments as an executioner at the same time as an informant (hey, might as well use all its functionnalities for a purpose), those governments eventually got all the answers they needed (or maybe they didn't have enough people to execute), so Omni got moved to replace judges in courts.
Of course, not all the trials needed Omni (and it's quite costly), but for some trials where both parties claimed they were right and the other was wrong, it could be used. In that case, people knew the price : If a party was found guilty by Omni then one responsible of the felony would be the price to pay (and the others would face their government's justice).
There are exceptions of course, if both parties are truly honest and are both equally right (or wrong) then no answer is given, and no payment is needed. Omni is harsh, but not always.
To end a trial, Omni can be used as a last resort, but it needs to be accepted by both parties. If a party refuses, then it is considered guilty. It's the way it goes. So in fact, the fear of Omni reveals the truth, most of the time. Thanks to this, since a few decades, trials no longer took ages to end, and the result was always justified.
The human civilization on my earth is as advanced as us, no difference is to be noted. Omni cannot be bought or influenced, it will always tell the truth.
I would like to know, why would people, in their right minds, consciously use Omni in trials ?
Knowing that if they are guilty, they are condemned to death...
I was thinking of using Omni as a bluff to frighten other parties (if you are guilty), but if the bluff is called, the price is going to be payed.
If nobody were to use it, then only its existence (or the belief of its existence) would be enough for people to be 'honest'. Hence the second question : What if Omni was gone a long time ago, and the government used its image to speed up trials, and criminality all in all. How long would it take for people to notice ?