IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - June 2017 - 78

otherwise they didn't participate in the test. Another two
members of the army were designated by the commander of the 24th military zone in the state of Morelos
to participate as experts in the use, operation, and care
of the GT200 molecular detector. The defense lawyer
for the defendant and another member of the army participated as witnesses.
Before starting the experiment, the participants met
at an empty office within the AMC to receive an explanation of the protocol. They would be divided into a hide
(H) and a search (S) team, each with one soldier, one
experimenter, and witnesses. To avoid electronic communications between the soldiers, they were asked to
empty their pockets into bags that were kept in the
office. A planned scan for electromagnetic waves was
deemed unnecessary. To avoid conflicting remembrances of the test, each experimenter kept a journal and
asked the soldier in his team to sign his agreement to

The GT200 is claimed by its
manufacturer to be a remote
substance detector.
each individual entry. To avoid damaging the equipment
or contaminating the sample, the GT200 was operated
exclusively by the soldier SS of the S team and the sample to be hidden and the boxes which would hide it
would be manipulated exclusively by the soldier SH of the
H team. Two video-cameras were positioned within the
ballroom, facing each other to film the whole test and to
monitor continuously its two entrances. Furthermore, the
experimenters carried hand-held video-cameras.2
After discussing the protocol and dividing the participants into teams, we proceeded to an examination
of the area where the test was to take place. SH worried about inhabited houses close to the ballroom, as
they might harbor medicines that could link energetically with the detector. Nevertheless, he decided the
room was large enough to minimize their effects. On
the other hand, he demanded the removal of a table
with coffee and soft drinks. He also complained that
the envelope in which the bag of amphetamines were
brought smelled of marijuana and it would have contaminated the exterior of the bag which in turn would
contaminate the boxes, but he agreed that the test

2

Some video fragments have been uploaded to YouTube: http://bit
.ly/2atY3YY. The full 24 hours of recordings may be requested from the
authors.

78

could proceed after the sample was placed within a
clean, tightly closed plastic bag.
The participants also examined the eight opaque
cardboard boxes in which the sample was to be hidden.  The soldiers agreed they were suitable for
the experiment.
Before the test started the soldiers were asked to
sign a document stating that they understood the conditions of the test and that they considered them adequate to detect the sample, described in detail, with the
GT200, or else sign a document stating that they didn't
expect the GT200 to function adequately under the stated conditions, thus terminating the test. They chose the
first alternative.
We asked SH to place each box within the room at
the positions of his choice, allowing enough space
between them to permit detection of the substance in
any of them, and the triangulation and all motions
required for the successful operation of the device. SH
decided to place the boxes along a straight line oriented
east-west, at a distance of approximately 6 m from each
other and at a distance of 10 m from the north and
south walls (Figure 1).
We divided the test into a calibration and a doubleblind stage.
During the calibration stage SH hid the sample within
a box in plain view of all the participants and afterwards
SS searched for it, and the procedure was repeated for
successive boxes. Though we planned to hide the sample once in each one of the eight boxes, we had to cut
this stage early, as SS claimed he was becoming very
tired and that the GT200 wouldn't work if its operator
were fatigued.
Before the double-blind stage, everybody, except the
members of the H team left the ballroom. The S team
entered a waiting room in a building adjacent to the
ballroom while SH randomly assigned and placed each
of eight labels AAA, AAS, ASA... SSS within each of the
eight boxes. These labels actually correspond to the 8
numbers 0...7 written in binary but replacing 0 by A and
1 by S to permit choosing a box randomly by tossing a
coin three times (in México the result of a coin toss is
either águila (A) or sol (S)). The double-blind stage then
proceeded as follows:
1) The experimenter EH of the H team chose one label
randomly using the procedure above and SH hid
the sample in the corresponding box. After he verified that all the boxes were in their designated positions and all the lids were properly closed, the H
team left the room through its main entrance. EH
knocked on the door of the waiting room and after
allowing enough time the H team entered the waiting room. Meanwhile, the S team entered the ballroom
from the annex through a lateral entrance. Thus,

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

∕

june 2017


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