Forecast / ideation / Technology

Forecast Friday: Digital Clones

Identity theft is a pretty big issue nowadays – a cautious person will know not to put too much of themselves “out there” where impersonators can latch onto bits of private information and steal parts of their lives.

Well, here’s a worse scenario. In an MIT Tech Review interview (link here), Martine Rothblatt maintains that we will eventually have self-aware machines and software, and we will need to consider how to protect the personhood and rights of these non-humans. This is a recurring theme in scifi, but aside from the debate about the rights of sentient machines, Martine introduces something else into the mix.

She talks about how we upload all this information about ourselves, which becomes what she calls a “mindfile”. As digital assistants become more sophisticated, they’ll be able to take this data and become virtual clones of the original person. How will we determine whether the clone has its own identity? Or even whether the digital “person” loaded with the mindfile has as much claim to that data as the original.

Of course, Martine maintains that human minds are a collection of atomic reactions, and cyber intelligence could be that way, too, so how is the consciousness of a human mind any more valid than that of a digital one?

I’d really like to think that there’s more to us than an advanced digital assistant. Or a clever search engine.

Are we really nothing but programming and chemical reactions? Or is there something else that transcends the physical and truly defines our consciousness; a soul, perhaps? And if we can’t discover or define what that is, where it resides, and how to measure it, then how can we tell whether or not these self-aware programs also have a soul?

Just saying…



FindingSanctuaryCoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “Finding Sanctuary”:

After generations searching for a home, the colonists of The Promise think they’ve found it. But is this seemingly perfect world where they’ll find Sanctuary?

(A bit of sci-fi, a pinch of fantasy, a slice of horror; a good mix of what makes up speculative fiction. Add in alien spiders – how can you go wrong?)

“Finding Sanctuary” just started with the idea of a human colony ship wandering through space in search of a home. Eventually they find one. But an alien planet suitable for life would of course have alien life, wouldn’t it? It would be nice to think they’d be welcoming, but…, well…, WE’D be the aliens then, wouldn’t we?

Use coupon code FD38W to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until August 27th. Here’s the link:

“Finding Sanctuary” is also available in the collection – More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND.


ScentOfTheCrimeCoverToday is the official release date of “The Scent of the Crime” (Detective Jimmy Delaney story #4) :

Detective Jimmy Delaney finds himself involved in yet another murder. He knows something smells in Barnstow, but can he use that to find the killer?

“The Scent of the Crime” is a short, private detective fiction set in the near future, with a slight sci-fi element fiction. And a little humor (Jimmy likes to think of himself as Sam Spade, but has more in common with Jim Rockford.) This one started just because I wanted to play with some advanced scent memory, I liked the title pun, and then the story took over. Hope you enjoy it!

“The Scent of the Crime is available at all the usual places, including (but not limited to):




William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest publication “Obsolete”, can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri



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