Anton Sherwood (
Mon, 11 Aug 1997 18:22:16 -0700 (PDT)

Some thoughts prompted by Max's talk Saturday.

Max mentioned one or more of Greg Egan's stories about artificial
personality. I'd add to the list George Alec Effinger's Arab trilogy:
When Gravity Fails, A Fire in the Sun, third title forgotten.

I thought for a moment that I might like a treatment to help me purge
myself of hypocrisy. ("If your beliefs don't make you a little bit
uncomfortable, they're not radical enough." -LNS) But on second thought
it wouldn't sell.

An immaterial mind might make its avatar literally "all ears" to
indicate polite attention. Even better would be the ability to
reassign part of one's processing power from a function not being
used at the moment to processing and understanding voices.

What parts of us are most important to other people's view of our
identity? Values, ethics? Conversational style?

There's room for a short story about strange attractors in personality
space. Suppose I want to be more like Alice, but one of Alice's deep
traits is that she wants to be more like Bob, but Bob ...

For a biographical encyclopedia of the far future, birth/death dates
will not be the most useful. Maybe it will give only a floruit ("known
to be active at date X"); where someone's life is well known, it might
be meaningful to state a period during which the personality's similarity
to that of the floruit is over a threshold.

Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*