Forrest Cameranesi: Geek of all Trades

(4x12) Life in Another World: Part 1, Episode 3

While the Virtuality team work on implementing the system allowing users to fork memory-erased copies of their own minds into their own virtual children, the concomitant possibilities of duplicating and modifying uploading humans minds raises serious questions about what moral, legal, and practical limits should be placed on such activities.

Conducting extensive surveys, they find that some people would be willing to do some truly reprehensible things if they could copy and modify themselves at will. Without some kind of limits of checks, it seems like it would open up the possibility of allowing the creation of effectively virtual slaves. Many people would have no qualms about creating altered copies of themselves, devoid of the memories with which they identify and so as far as they're concerned separate people entirely, who are modified to be subservient or otherwise to suit the whims of the original, with no regard to their own well-being.

To put a check against anything like that ever happening with some future abuse of the subsystems necessary for the virtual children feature, the Virtuality team devise a system whereby all copies of a virtual mind are merely front-ends connecting to the same unified back-end. That is, multiple "copies" of a mind are actually multiple different instances of the same mind-program, with different configurations and working with different sets of memories and running independent of each other, but all of the memories from all of them are stored together where they are accessible by the master instance of the mind, which can then, by thinking its own thoughts which are added to the shared memories of all instances, influence the actions of all instances as well. And, most to the point, that master instance, sharing the experience of all the other instances, has motive to care about the wellbeing of every instance, and would not spawn an instance of itself that it expects to suffer.

Some users, like Tom, end up taking great advantage of this feature, splitting different facets of their personality into wholly separate personas running around the virtual world simultaneously. In Tom's case, one of those separate personas is his female alter-ego, Tamara.

Next: Life in Another World: Part 2, Episode 1