Many more people could soon be getting an idea of what it’s like to have a double. It’s becoming possible to create digital copies of ourselves to represent us when we can’t be there in person. They can be programmed with your characteristics and preferences, are able to perform chores like updating social networks, and can even hold a conversation.
These autonomous identities are not duplicates of human beings in all their complexity, but simple and potentially useful personas. If they become more widespread, they could transform how people relate to each other and do business. They will save time, take onerous tasks out of our hands and perhaps even modify people’s behaviour. So what would it be like to meet a digital you? And would you want to?
To understand why and where this could be useful, consider the way that a person’s identity is represented on the internet.
The typical user has a fragmented digital self, broken up into social media profiles, professional websites, comment boards, Twitter and so on.
…People manage these subsets of their identity like puppets, leaving them dormant when they’re not needed. What researchers and companies have realised is that some of these puppets could be programmed to act autonomously. You don’t need to copy a whole person, just a facet, and it doesn’t require impressive AI and months of training.