Unintended consequences of cloning

One of the more fanciful technologies in “Star Trek” is a transporter, which converts your body into energy, beams that energy someplace else, and then reconstitutes your body at the new location. A related technology is the replicator, which can create unlimited supplies of food, firearms, vintage scotch, and other essentials for modern living.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that prevents perfect cloning — two copies of you, where both are essentially the original — is social convention. Every once in a while this sort of thing happens anyway on “Star Trek”, and it never ends well.

It occurs to me, thinking about this scenario, how we would each get along with our own perfect clone. That is, if we were to encounter exactly ourselves as another individual — same memories, same personality, same everything.

A fundamental aspect of being human is that any other individual, no matter how well you know them, remains on some level fundamentally unknowable. You can never tell what thoughts or aspects of their personality they are choosing to hide even from their nearest and dearest. But this would not be the case for your perfect clone.

So if any of us were to come face to face with our own perfect clone, there would be no secrets. I wonder whether this would come as a relief, or whether it would freak the hell out of us.

3 Responses to “Unintended consequences of cloning”

  1. Sharon says:

    Sounds way worse than watching yourself on video 😉

  2. Arnt Richard Johansen says:

    Ah, but the perfect sharing of knowledge ends at the point when you split yourself. After that, information that flows to one instance of yourself can be kept hidden from the other, and there could be deception. Except that the second twin could anticipate the first twin’s intention to deceive. But then the first twin would be able to anticipate the second twin’s anticipation. And so on …

    I bet the right SF author would be able to create some pretty tense psychological drama out of this scenario.

  3. says:

    If a product is unique in the market, no matter how trivial it is, it is irreplaceable. Now think human as the product and nature the market. No matter how insignificant a person is, no one can replace him in this world. If that is going to be violated, I doubt the impact will be detrimental. If a person can be totally replaced by his duplicate, then what’s the point of his existence?

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