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July 12th, 2020
Lucilius watched the word count finally tick above the ten million mark. He’d finally generated the amount of content required to populate the mind of his clone. He sat back and watched as the word document saved. Some time ago, he’d reflected on all the things he wanted to do in life and realized that everyone’s occasional fantasy to generate clones of themselves was finally possible. The issue was content. Exact biological copies could be generated, but what about their thoughts, their memories, their beliefs? These had proved to be a particularly sticky problem as people’s first clones of themselves had quite quickly veered off on rebellious paths that were more in line with the stock content that cloned minds were being populated with. There were than a couple clones randomly waving twigs and shouting Latin in full expectation that magic would occur. Fiction had proved to be a problematic stand-in for the content required to populate a clone’s mind.
Lucilius realized that in order for the idea to work, he had to record his own mind, and so he’d embarked on a rather epic writing assignment, and he’d just finished. Two days later the cloning company he’d hired notified him that his clone was ready and he emailed them the enormous word document. A day later, there was a knock on the door.
Lucilius opened the door and there before him stood his own spitting image. “Hey,” the clone said.
“Hi,” Lucilius bumbled, thrown off by the actual experience.
“Well, I suppose introductions are somewhat unnecessary, so I think I’ll just get to work,” the clone said.
Lucilius stood merely still, gaping at the marvel of reality. “Oh, sorry, sure,” he said, moving aside. His clone waltzed into his home and walked right into the kitchen and poured itself a cup of coffee.
“Hope you haven’t worked on that program since you submitted the content document, I had some ideas about which direction it should go while I was making my way over here.”
Lucilius puzzled for a moment and then remembered the contract assignment he hadn’t worked on in several weeks, the repeated messages from the client and his total inability to get any work done.
“Oh, yea, no, haven’t done a thing.”
“Perrr-fect,” the clone said, comfortably striding to Lucilius’ desk, sitting down, sipping the coffee with satisfaction and then cracking knuckles with a stretch over the keyboard. The clone wiggled a little in the chair with excitement, Lucilius noticing for the first time that the adorable gesture was something he knew he did himself. Then the clone opened up Lucilius’ dormant text editor and started ripping apart code and writing in new lines. After a few minutes of staring the clone slowed a moment, stopped and looked back at Lucilius.
“Didn’t… you want to go camping or something? Or go on a hike at least?”
“What?” Lucilius said.
“That’s the whole point I exist isn’t it? You wanted a version of you that would actually enjoy this sort of work so you could go off and do other things that you really wanted to do?”
“Oh yea,” Lucilius said, turning away to let the clone work, stopping momentarily to look back as he scratched his head, puzzled as to how to feel about the whole situation.
Several days later he was sipping coffee on a rocky shore, having just awoken and crawled out of his tent. The days since leaving home had been splendid, kayaking north along the coast and camping each night, cooking trapped crab and mornings filled with meditation and cowboy coffee. The days rolled on pleasantly, but eventually Lucilius began to feel restless. The natural environment was wonderful, and the trip was one he’d been putting off for a long time, but there grew within him the guilty thought that he was getting a little bored. He’d planned a trip of several months, but after a few weeks, he turned back and headed home.
When he arrived, the clone was at the desk, typing away.
“Back early?” it asked.
“Yea,” Lucilius said with the eerie sense that his internal monologue was now externalized.
“Something happen? Thought you’d be gone longer.”
“No, just felt like coming home.”
“Well,” the clone said, swiveling around in Lucilius’ desk chair. “I’ve been busy. Completed that contract and picked up a few more, plus started a couple side projects. One is already done and doing quite well. The bank accounts are looking great.”
“Yea,” the clone said, “I opened up one for myself, I hope you don’t mind. Revenue from regular contracts are still going into the main account, but I figured it would be useful to track revenue from unplanned side projects in a separate account.”
“Oh,” Lucilius remarked. He went to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water while he tried to shuffle through the strange mix of feelings he was having. He couldn’t deny it, he was jealous. The clone had accomplished so much. All work that he normally had to drag himself through to get done, and it took the clone a fraction of the time. But isn’t this what he wanted, he wondered.
“Everything ok? You seem down. Figured that trip would perk you up a bit.”
Lucilius turned to the clone who was standing in the doorway.
“Yea, I’m fine,” Lucilius sipped the water, and as the clone turned to get back to work, Lucilius spoke up again. “Hey..”
“Yea?” the clone faced him again.
“You enjoying this?” Lucilius asked making a vague gesture to indicate the situation, the set up.
“Yea, the work has been great. Loving it.”
Lucilius stared down into the limpid reflection of his face in the glass of water. “Wish I had that kind of motivation.”
“You do,” the clone said. “Where do you think I got it from?”
“Well, I don’t think I’ve ever been as productive as you’ve been while I was gone, so I don’t know about that.”
“You know, I was thinking about that a little while you were gone.”
“Yea, I figure that I have all the drive and motivation and love for this sort of work that you have, but I don’t have all the things that hold you back, like doubt and that aimless restlessness that seems to give rise to boredom. I looked over the content document you submitted to the company. There’s nothing like that in the document, and so I’m pretty content with what I’ve been doing, but going camping? Or on a hike?” The clone sighed. “That just sounds unutterably boring.” The clone stared off in middle distance, imagining it, and then shivered. “But you, you have both. You like that sort of thing, and you certainly find the sort of work I’ve been doing gratifying. So maybe the two pull at each other?”
Lucilius considered the clone’s notion.
“You know as well as I do, that I’m not a true likeness of you. You filtered yourself, editing in the process in order to create me so that I’d be able to tackle this part of your life. So that’s why I created separate accounts.”
“I figured there was a possibility you might miss the work I was doing, and that you might want to do some every once in a while. There’s always more work.”
“Yea, that’s sort of the problem I was trying to solve.”
The clone shrugged. “You know as well as I that most solutions become bridges to better problems.”
Lucilius let out a short, stunted laugh. The clone’s smile collapsed a little.
“Well,” the clone said. “When you’re ready, I’ve got a side project on the go that I think you’ll like.”
Lucilius looked at the clone halfheartedly.
“Actually,” the clone said, “I could really use your help with it.”
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