How do clones work?

Well clearly the concept is a simple one, but maybe not some of the EVE fiction written around it. A genetic duplicate is constructed and stored in some way until it needs to be “activated”.

Memories are transferred at some point so when activated it is a duplicate of the original (minus any physical wear and tear the original had suffered e.g scarring, injuries etc.). So delving further in, lets think about the technologies required:

  • Human cloning (to a large degree already possible, though not at the accelerated growth rate clearly required).
  • Reading, copying and impressing memory (we are still in the realms of sci-fi here, at least for the moment).
  • Assorted other technologies that are not the focus of this article and don’t create too big an issue, such as data transfer over distance (clone activation and memory transferral) and clone storage (conciousness suppression and life support).

So the issue starts to appear when we give some thought regarding to the fiction around it and the game mechanics. Apparently you can have only one clone active at a time (although one EVE novel had someone who could control multiple active clones. Apparently they didn’t last long and caused mentral strain to the controller).

Why?

It’s a copy, it’s not linked in anyway to any central controller or other clones. A genetic copy with the up-to-date memories imprinted on it.

This is when other thoughts start to appear, it’s not the same life-form as its predecessor and even if you believe in a soul (which I don’t), clearly there’s no way our technology is linked with such spiritual concepts. One life form dies, another, or potentially any number of duplicates, begins.

So what if it was linked to some central digital consciousness contoller, controlling a host of automatons but only capable of keeping one active at any time? Again, why would it need to be centralised? Memory space? Surely the clone doesn’t constantly access a central memory bank just to work, it’s a stand alone replica.

If it did however, the a central digital device would surely be capable of maintaining many active clones at once, also not forgetting that if that were the case then humans wouldn’t be necessary at all, other than being drones of centralised computing functions.

So we have to return to sentient, fully autonomous, genetic duplicates. Why aren’t there loads of copies wandering around in New Eden? Only if humanity purposely did not allow copies, but unless it was uniformly adhered to by all, which sounds improbable, this would rapidly be forgotten in an arms race of mass clone production.

Further thoughts to explore:

Do capsuleers age? Surely not, they can pick the age of their next clone and memory transfer away. If so, never dying, sanity, sociopathic tendencies and total memory storage capable by the unassisted human brain start becoming interesting topics of their own.

I know it’s sci-fi and good fiction relies on suspension of disbelief, but the thing about sci-fi is, its a window into potential futures and where our technology will take us. In short sci-fi by it’s very nature is often thought-provoking fiction.

It’s not important, but once I started thinking about it, it had holes in it and it niggled me 🙂

By Greenbeard