28
$\begingroup$

An alien artwork carelessly flung out into space (most likely an Assiti Shard) strikes Earth, with the following effect: all live humans present on Earth at the time have their bodies duplicated.

  • Each of the duplicated pair is conscious* and certain it is the original.
  • Each of the duplicated pair is somehow aware of the existence of the double at a gut level.
  • Each member of the pair seems to only require half the food they used to eat, (or one half could eat for both), so it is probably a phasing-type-phenomenon going on.
  • The memories and experiences of the two versions are synchronized every 387 minutes and 17 seconds (in an experiential flash that is reportedly as vivid as the experience itself, if greatly sped up).

(EDIT:)

  • The duplicates both appear wearing a perfect replica of the original's clothes and other personal items at a survivable location that appears to be otherwise random, but at least 128 centimeters radially from where the original was located.

(EDIT 2:)

  • If one of the duplicates dies, as some people quickly found out, the surviving duplicate feels an immediate experiential flash and starts to suffer from a lingering feeling of absence with varying degrees of intensity, ranging from mild to utterly crippling. Food requirements return to normal, as the phasing appears to cease.

How does society react? I'm most interested in a) the immediate reaction and b) long term adjustments for individual households. Does everyone take on two jobs, or do you send your other self on a permanent vacation? Would people try to kill their doubles?

*If the original was conscious. Fetuses and brain-dead people are duplicated too, the former inside their also duplicated mothers.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ So.. does this continue like - if one clone were to later get pregnant and the other doesn't, only one child is born with no clone? Or does a new duplicate of that child also get created somehow? $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Aug 3 '15 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ Tangential published story Kiln People - it deals with the question of identity and duplication (though not any alien power or single copy). $\endgroup$ – user487 Aug 3 '15 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ If a one member of a pair is killed, what happens with regard to memory synchronization? $\endgroup$ – sumelic Aug 3 '15 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ erm shouldn't we double our population in 2100? our food and water supply can barely keep up at 7 billion full strength and now OMG! $\endgroup$ – user6760 Aug 4 '15 at 3:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, to add to your story, but not a full answer: (1) organ transplants will be easier, (2) genetics might get messy if you mate with the same people, (3) global energy consumption will spike. I'm not narcissistic, but I probably would enjoy having a beer with my other self. $\endgroup$ – Mikey Aug 4 '15 at 12:47
13
$\begingroup$

Direct aftermath

First, I will assume that your aliens were friendly enough to avoid a huge chaos: no one is left in flying planes or on crash-landing areas. No one in cars, or in cars way, etc. Ships might be avoided for the same reason. So no one died in the event henceforth known as Duplication. Everyone has now a copy of him/herself separated seemingly randomly from a few centimeters away to the other side of the world.

I think the immediate questions would be (in general) along the lines of

  • What happened? I had this strange feeling that something happened, and I can't explain it.
  • Where am I? I was there, and now I'm here... wherever that "here" may be.
  • Is it only me?1 Looking around, people's faces seem as puzzled, so whatever happened seemed to have affected everyone around me, until...

Before the first sync

I realised that there are some clones/copies/Doppelgänger/duplicata/whatever, I don't know how to put a name on it. How that happens depend on different cases. It might be that strange gut feeling I was having. Maybe, I witness two identical persons staring at each other where there were only one before. Maybe I am facing at myself without any mirror.

The reactions of most people would follow the usual steps

  1. Shock like "what?!", "who are you?" and the like. People would stand frozen on the spot. Those with no double to be seen will continue to look around to search for more cases or simply stare at how those react.
  2. Denial In particular, those facing their clone in public, we'll tend to deny the existence of their clones. "You're not real", etc. Those who don't see their clones will deny the strange feeling that they have.
  3. Anger if the clone can't be denied, it can surely be killed. So fight might broke out at that point, with both clones fighting in a way or another. Some will be killed. Also to be heard at that stage are the like of "How made that?" "Who is responsible?", military, government officials, police, banks, etc. may be attacked at that point, for taking the blame.
  4. Bargain Since it is hard to find a culprit, and the police members seem to be equally affected, then it might be a better idea to bargain. For those who aren't sure of their clone yet might consider saying: "Ok, to whoever did that, I see what you did there. I'll be a good boy, and you don't do it to me." The others will try to negotiate a turn back.
  5. Depression As some comments on previous answers show, there would be some depression part: "All secrents are left out of control: someone else knows them. For sure s/he is going to reveal it to everyone!" "I'll never be alone." "How are we to continue on living?" or maybe some more psychological issues. What happened to me? This person is going to kill me for sure, etc. Suicides may happen at this stage. This is an event too large to bare for a lot of people.
  6. Acceptance The acceptance of the whole thing will greatly differ from individuals to individuals as well as their own situation in the face of the Duplication. People facing their own clone, assuming they did not kill them or themselves in the previous stages, may kind of accept it as the appearance of a yet unkown twin brother. Those without clone in sight, might either follow their gut and assume that they too have a clone somewhere. And others might just ignore that feeling, and assume that for whatever reasons, some people got cloned.

It should be noted that news coverage would be highly disrupted as the people presenting them are themselves walking through the above steps, and futhermore aren't all at their workplace. Internet might be an interesting sources of news though, but not all have means to check it, transported far from home without even a phone in your pocket.

After the first sync

And then it came: "The First Sync". Also the called The Shock. Yes you were teleported somewhere else, yes some people, maybe you, yourself had twi brother or sister appearning out of nowere, otherwise you might have that strange feeling you, were cloned as well, but are just enable to see the clone. But on the whole, you were kept yourself. But then... a flash, and strange thoughts and memories start to appear in your brains. Scenes you cannot have seen yourself. Thoughts that are somewhat familiar but aren't exactly your own.

This will produce a lot of anxiety to everyone. By that time not all arrived at the acceptance step before. Therfore the reaction will depend on many factors, but we can explain a few cases.

  • You accepted that, due to the Duplication, you have a twin just facing you. Somehow you always wanted to have a twin brother to see how that felt like. And after the Shock, foreign thoughts and memories came to you. But you can quite easily identify that those are from the other you facing yourself. So it is not only a cloning, you are linked to that person in front of you. No secret to keep from him/her, but none kept from you neither. That kind of a relief, if s/he were to spill your secrets, you'll know. You don't know how that happened, but there might be something to take from that.
  • "Who am I, what am I doing?" were the thoughts that were haunting your mind before the Shock. And those strange depressing ideas seemed to have sprung from that flash. This is much more than you can take. Better end it there than living through that pain and anxiety.
  • You accepted that somehow the Duplication created double of some people, but in yourself you have a feeling that you, too, have a double. But you are not sure. You sure can't seem to see him around. But then another flash. This time, it was shorter. But on the other hand, it was most stressing. But after the initial surprise, you realise that the new memories must come from that other you. Where could he be?

Slowly each will walk down the steps, and it will somehow be established that the Duplication created a double of each and everyone, and that some events may syncrhonise the thoughts. As the concept starts to spread, the second sync came in, which confirm the theory and established the fact that the synchronisation is something they will live by from now on.

The first month

The first month is the time of experiment. A great many people died due to fear, anxiety or psychological stress. I don't have any source for it, but we could assume that 10-30% of humanity died in the first days after the Duplication. Sometimes, only one of the double did, but at other times, both of them.

Nevertheless, the surviving ones are trying to re-establish a new life. Some are experimenting to see the limits of that strange effect. The synchronisation time is established with a great precision, so that people start to be expecting it. Some are travelling, looking for their doubles. Some engage in more frivolous experiments (foursome sex being one of them).

The lowered need for food per individual is found. So is the fact that somehow the food taken by one can be used by the other. Scientists start to study the communication between the two doubles, the sync process, the Duplication, etc.

Some young try to kill one double during a sync to experience death to the surviving double.

Some rules are established:

  • Humans have become more efficient machines. Even those whose double have disappeared only need half food income as they had before.
  • Thoughts, memories and ideas are synchronised every 387minutes and 17seconds.
  • Physiological attributes (food, sleep, etc.) are also syncrhonised at the same time.
  • Physical and biological events are not synchronised: the death of one double does not provoke the death of another, as stated in another answer, a cut will scar only one double. And consequently, a woman getting pregnant does not imply that her double will be as well.

It is a bit too early to tell, but it seems to indicate that the Duplication was a single event, and not a continuous. Namely the next generations won't have doubles (unless the event occurs again).

Society acceptance and evolution

The initial chaos is slowly brought under control. And people have gone back to work, the whole society is slowly going back to "normal", trying as best as possible to accomodate for the new individuals.

Legal

Politicians and lawyers will jump on scientific conclusions to produce some laws. Without covering the extend of all the laws, the humans are considered more like a moral person (like a company), which happens to be physically presented with two bodies. Due to the uniqueness of the moral person, everyone is responsible for the actions of his or her double. That might not be the best, but that was the easiest for most cases. Generally individuals are replaced by moral person.

Family and Relationships

The new laws have a strong incident on the family. Mariage is a contract between moral person, meaning that you are considered married to the same wife as your double. And you are also consider the father of your double's children. Affairs are exploding: you can be faithful and have an affair at the same time. And so can your wife. Non-married relationships becomes complex: A1 is with B1, when B2 is with C1 and C2 and A2 are together (when A, B, and C represents moral persons, and 1 and 2 their physical doubles). And it can get worst than that. The number of open relationships also increases due to the possibility of multiple relationships with synchronised minds. This creates resentment towards the laws, but conservatives refuse point blank to change it and some progressists also point out that the next generation will differ and that one should account for that. Nevertheless the traditionaly family view crumbles.

Work and Economy

Most people work because they need. Meaning, they work to get money to pay the rent/mortgage, for the food, etc. Food consumption does not increase, even worse, it has decreased due to the high mortality of the aftermath of the Duplication. Housing per moral person has increased, the amout of space is higher, regardless whether they choose to live together or not. Transportation, clothing, etc. costs all increase. However due to the increase of work force, the wages tend to be reduced. But nevertheless, few really work the typical 80 hours a week, most setting themselves to 55-60 hours per week. Different individual organise differently. Some work in shifts: one after the other for half a work day, some set that only one work on a precise day and the other relax, sleep, take care the house, or just enjoy free time (e.g. travel). Among those there are some who never changed turned, those who change everyday, or every month, etc.

Spiritual

Slowly, all the consequences of the Duplication are known. But the cause remains a mystery that continues to elude the scientists. The emotional stress of sharing a mind with what appears a foreigner lead many to what can be called a renewed Spiritual Spring. People go back to the usual religions, but new ones appear and gain some popularity. Those are often centered around a mythology which explain why (one of) the god(s) created the Duplication, and the message it meant.


I knew it would be long, but I didn't expect to be that long. I tried to limit to some points in each part only, but I think you can fill the blanks by yourself.

Thanks to all those who bore with me until this line :-)

1: Of course for people being alone, that step would limited, and they might have to move to identify the extend of that event. They may see their clone even before seeing anyone else.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Very Thorough Answer! $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Aug 4 '15 at 20:18
17
$\begingroup$

There will be a lot of death and destruction unless cars, planes, etc. are handwaved into safety - there would be a lot of vehicles that suddenly did not have anyone controlling them. I'm going to assume that the event prevents vehicular mayhem and just focus on the human reaction.

Also, you should consider whether or not you want to have chaos caused by prisoners and being duplicated outside of their prison. My answer is already long enough without exploring that aspect.

Immediately after the split:

The first thing that everyone notices is being moved at least 1.28 meters. That's going to be sufficiently disorienting to give everyone (or at least those who are awake) pause and wonder what in the world happened. Then comes the realization that you suddenly have a duplicate. Those who are not within sight of their dup will wonder if they're going crazy - moving without remembering it and then suddenly feeling like you're got a dup would definitely seem like you're having a mental breakdown or something.

Those who are within sight of their dup are going to have a wide range of reactions - in the first second your mental processes will be the same, but they will start to diverge immediately. You are not standing in the same place as your dup, nor are you looking at exactly the same things. This should be enough of a difference in stimuli to cause you and your dup to be able to not completely mimic each other. The first few things you say might be in unison, but all it takes is one thought of "he's closer to the chair than I am" to break the synchronization.

Deaths and injuries in the first few moments will depend a great deal on how you and your dup are located and oriented, but I don't think that as many people will die in the first few minutes as you may think. People are confused and disoriented, not angry. There will be some people who end up having a quick-draw with their dup and shoot each other, and in some of these cases both will die. There will also be cases of only one dying, and cases of both surviving.

When the dups don't pop into existence facing each other, the asymmetry will be enough to prevent one from immediately killing the other. If you are able to pull a gun or other weapon on your dup first, you're not going to immediately kill them - you're going to grill them for answers about what in the world is going on. It's not going to take too long before you realize that they're just as in-the-dark about the situation as you are.

However, I've only described what is going to happen to people who happen to be alone. If you're in public, you're going to notice everyone being equally disoriented. You'll see some people who now have dups and see that both copies are equally disoriented. It will be easy to figure out that everyone has been duplicated, and it's not some alien invasion trying to replace people or something.

Before the first sync

It won't take long before it's common knowledge that this has happened everywhere. Flip on a TV, and they'll be talking about it on every channel. Check the internet, and everyone will be talking about it. Society comes to a temporary halt as everyone is still trying to figure out why in the world this happened and how to deal with it. People are still weirded out by their duplicates, though some will have come to accept the new reality.

People with twins are barely going to flinch. They will wonder why in the world they now have additional twins, but they're used to the general experience.

Usually you'd expect people to start blaming each other, such as (in the US) republicans and democrats claiming the other party is somehow responsible for an event. However, this is improbable on a scale that I don't think blaming will happen too much. The claims that do fly around will be along the lines of being a punishment of God or (accurate in this case) caused by aliens.

People are going to talk with their dups about how to get as close as possible to the previous normal. High-risk activities, such as driving a car, won't be possible until a person is at least somewhat comfortable with their dup - you wouldn't want to let your dup drive in case they might try to steal the car, but you wouldn't want to go with them in case they try to crash the car. As people become more and more comfortable with the existence of their dup, they'll be better able to get on with their life.

The first sync

Everyone is again disoriented - they don't know it's coming, and they've never had 6 hours worth of experiences given to them in a short period of time. This disorientation has the potential to cause quite a few deaths due to car accidents, etc., even if the sync is instantaneous.

Everyone rushes to TVs, the internet, whatever to see if this also happened to everyone. By this point, some people have also noticed the reduced need for food and water. The idea of each person and their dup actually somehow being one person in two bodies has been discussed, at least briefly, on TV and the internet, but that theory starts to gain more and more traction.

The sharing of experiences is going to help a lot towards everyone becoming comfortable with their dup. Knowing that they've been just as worried about you will be very comforting. Society is really starting to get back to normal as fewer and fewer people are still paralyzed by the uncertainty their dup causes.

Long term

With each passing sync, everyone comes to feel more and more like they and their dup are only a single person. Many people will stop referring their dup as someone else and start referring to them as their other body.

Legal definitions could be all over the map all over the map (see what I did there?). There's no reason why every country would (or even should) define it identically. Some options for legal definitions:

  1. A person and their dup are two different people. There would be a lot of complications with this, particularly in developed countries. For example, you would not be allowed to work for one company while your dup works for a competitor.
  2. A person and their dup are a single person. In some places this will include things like working limits - if the previous limit was a 40-hour work week, the new limit is still 40 hours, but is now combined for you and your dup.
  3. A person and their dup are one person with two bodies. I think this is what will effectively be the case in most places because it is the most flexible. This allows for laws to be updated sensibly - a work limit could be 40 hours per body.

Whatever the situation, people are going to try to take advantage of the system. For example, it would be much easier to take advantage of exchange rates - if food is 100x cheaper in India, your other body could go live there and make your food bill negligible.

Schools will take advantage of the synching to teach at twice the speed. As the first single-bodied generation reaches school age, for one year the cutoff will be double- vs. single-bodied rather than age. There will still be accommodations for the single-bodied - some people will lose their second body due to disease or accidents.

There are going to be a lot of salary renegotiations. In some cases salaries will increase but won't double because your needs as a double-bodied person are proportionally less. In some cases salaries will double because you are able to do twice as much work. I think there could also be cases where salaries would more than double - as a programmer, I consider it entirely possible that pair programming with myself could more than double my productivity.

The ability to experience a vacation while still attending work is going to improve many people's quality of life. Which body takes the vacation is going to depend on which one needs it more physically.

The biggest change will be an awareness of when the next 387 minute 17 second period will end. You will avoid anything dangerous right around then to avoid being fatally distracted by the sync.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Love the point about the potentially fatal distraction during the sync! $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Aug 3 '15 at 23:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is a quite positive view on the events. I'm not sure it would be that good. Nevertheless the India thing is only partially true. I mean would YOU go to India to let the other YOU enjoy himself? Alright you share the memories and everything. But I mean HE could go, couldn't he? $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Aug 4 '15 at 10:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is great. I love the idea of pair programming with myself. We'd work for 4 hours together, then he'd take a break and eat and drink. I'd feel less hungry, so we'd both work for another 4 hours. I'd go watch an inspiring movie, and time it so that it would finish just before the sync. We'd both feel inspired to work another 8 hours, then we'd each sleep a few hours so together we feel well slept. One of us could enjoy a social life while the other works. Productivity would be off the charts, and yet enjoyment of life would be unmatched. Sign me up $\endgroup$ – TheEnvironmentalist Aug 4 '15 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ Forget about who drieves your car. What about your home, your bed, your spouse(s), your workplace? $\endgroup$ – Hagen von Eitzen Aug 5 '15 at 6:33
7
$\begingroup$

I suspect that just like humanity itself, humans will react in a wide variety of ways. As HDE pointed out, some will try to kill each other. Some will ignore each other as much as possible, and some will get along.

Me, I figure if there's a phasing duplicate of myself, then in reality we're really still the same person (it seems logical). So I don't care about secrets - I already know my own. Which means this alien artifact basically effectively doubled my lifespan while giving me copious amounts of free time, since I don't need to work two jobs. So, niiiice.

Now, things I'd do. First, work:

I don't think it makes sense to just have one person work all the time. Instead, do a 24/16 split - #1 would do Mon-Wed, #2 would do Thu-Fri. Then #1 would do Mon-Tue, and #2 would do Wed-Fri. That way they'd trade off, while getting long, long weekends all the time. You could alternate weeks instead, it's really immaterial how you split it.

Note that #1 and #2 are arbitrary distinctions, as indicated by a coin toss.

Occasionally you'd break this up for vacations. For example, #1 could go on a month-long vacation hiking out west, while #2 works. Then they could trade off the next month.

Personal life would be second. The biggest immediate benefit I see is that torturous public gatherings get cut in half (can you tell I'm an introvert?). So you only have to go to half as many family gatherings.

The massively increased freetime means that hobbies will tend to explode, as people are now able to dedicate a ton more time to them.

Other things:

  1. This will create massive legal issues. I'm not sure how that would resolve out, it really depends on the exact crimes that cause the precedents.
  2. If this continues for new children conceived after the fact, eventually society will make significant long-term adjustments. If it's just a one-time thing, our generation will be weird, but eventually humanity will get back to normal.
  3. The porn industry will absolutely go nuts. No pun intended.
$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I have an identical twin brother and we have previously discussed what it would be like to consolidate a life (if we had hourly jobs we could get massive overtime every week). The OP's situation would be just like that, but without the double food and what-happened-at-work updates that would doom a real world plan. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Aug 3 '15 at 19:16
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "No pun intended" <- This is very hard to believe. $\endgroup$ – Geobits Aug 3 '15 at 20:12
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @DanSmolinske I always thought that if I cloned myself by accident, the labels would be #1 and #A. $\endgroup$ – PyRulez Aug 3 '15 at 20:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Sadly, family members also doubling may mean that you have to go to more family gatherings - equaling out to be about the same. It's also harder to come up with "I'm busy" excuses where both clones just can't go. $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Aug 3 '15 at 21:27
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't necessarily assume that only one of the two would need to work, unless everybody on Earth agreed to do the same (unlikely). The increased workforce would drive down wages, and hosuehold expenses would go up because you would need to support twice as many people (food consumption may not go up, but other things will.) This could get tricky. $\endgroup$ – ON STRIKE - Jeremy Banks Aug 3 '15 at 21:42
3
$\begingroup$

Original answer

If I'm reading this correctly, every 387 minutes (and 17 seconds), both doppelgängers gain the same memories and experiences. They each learn what the other has been doing, seeing and thinking. Every 387 minutes (and 17 seconds), they become the same. Then things go back to normal (as it were).

The experience of syncing won't be as weird as the aftermath. When the sync is complete, you'll have the realization that somebody else knows all about you and what you've been doing.

I don't know about you, but I'd be scared silly.

The information is out there. You can't control what happens to that knowledge. You'll know all that your doppelgänger does with that knowledge, but after s/he shares that information with somebody else, it's out of your hands. The whole world could know it.

If you've got somebody spying on you, you'll want them to stop, right? You don't want other people knowing about your computer passwords, or love life (!), or interactions with friends. Sooner or later, everybody will think about trying to kill their doppelgänger, because there will be a constant reminder of his/her existence.

The planning will have to be quick; otherwise, the doppelgänger will know about it (within a bit over six hours). You rush, hurry, not stopping to think. You eventually reach your doppelgänger and prepare to execute your plan . . .

What happens next will be a life-changing experience. I like to think that most of us would stop and have a moment of compassion. After all, the other person might feel the same way about you! For most folks, there might begin some sort of metaphorical dialogue between the two doppelgängers - a rapport, if you will. There are endless possibilities, because everyone is different.

It all comes down to that moment before the strike, because I'm pretty sure that, eventually, everyone will be driven to that point.

Revised addendum

The real takeaway from the above is that most people will realize that there's no easy solution to this with violence. There has to be a deeper solution.

I suspect that, long term, research will be done on removing the connection between both individuals. That might make things easier psychologically.

Short term, people may accept that they're stuck with an exact duplicate of themselves, but may choose to attempt to forget about it by separating. Sure, every ~6.5 hours they'll be reminded of it, but it's much easier if you're not living together.

Here are some things I would find helpful about the scenario that I would take advantage of (my choice, by the way, would be to stay with my doppelgänger):

  • If I ever get lost, I know that somebody else will discover where I am within ~6.5 hours
  • If I miss a meeting, appointment, etc., my doppelgänger might be able to go to it for me
  • We can learn twice as much at the same time, possibly necessitating a shorter school day

How does society react?

Like I said, there's a chance that some people will want to separate from their doppelgängers. However, I suspect that some ground rules will be made:

  • Something must be done to distinguish the two. AndyD273's idea about a physical cut might be the best way. Perhaps more subtler ways (e.g. implanted chips) would be discovered and implemented.
  • Society must decide if the two are the same person or not, with all the legal implications that go along with it. The possibility of testifying in court against yourself would be interesting; it might or might not be breaking the 5th Amendment (self-incrimination).
  • . . . ?
$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ My thinking went mostly towards things I'd do with my girlfriend, my double and her double in the bedrooom. If I started thinking along the path you described, it seems natural (and greatly worrisome) to expect that the double would think the same way! $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Aug 3 '15 at 18:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The thing is that every 6 and a half hours they become perfect copies again in regards to knowledge and thinking. If I wouldn't tell my dark secrets to others, why would I tell them either? The first 6 and a half hours would be the hardest part, but most people aren't that prone to violence, and maybe it'd be better if the ones that are would wipe themself out. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Aug 3 '15 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ This is how a single person might feel, but the question is about society. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Aug 3 '15 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Samuel I'm arguing that people will go through similar thought processes. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Aug 3 '15 at 19:08
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Well, except AndyD273 and me with him (and our doubles). That other person who knows everything about me, is me. We'd both do our best not to embarrass ourselves. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Aug 3 '15 at 19:10
3
$\begingroup$

In the Peter F Hamilton Commonwealth series there is a character that has "gone multiple", which means 1 mind with 20 bodies.

The big differences are that his was a conscious decision, and this wouldn't be, and his was synced in real time, while this is synced about 3 times a day.

So, if I could go multiple, I'd keep one body working my full time job, and the other body would possibly work freelance/part time and the rest of the time spend time with family and getting the projects done that I never have time for.
And I'd have someone to play co-op video games with.
Also, they would take turns sleeping, so that I'd never have to go fully to sleep again.

Some people might go nuts and try to kill their other self, but because of the syncing of experiences to keep differences from emerging, the majority wouldn't be able to tell which was the "real" them, and would learn to appreciate it.

The part that would raise the most debate would be in regards to relationships. If I'm having sex, and also working in the yard, is one me going to get jealous? After the next sync it'll stop being a problem, but some people might not see it that way.

Edit: I would totally give myself a massage!
My wife says I give good massages, but she doesn't have the hand strength to get the knots out.

Edit 2: When I say "one would work full time" I do not mean one of them would be the designated worker. Just that I would decide which of me would go to work based on different factors, mostly alertness. The first think I'd do is figure out how to stagger the sleep schedules so that one of me is awake around the clock. I get my best work done after midnight, but it makes work the next day tough. If one could get to sleep at a reasonable hour, then other could stay up doing things, and go to sleep after one has gone to work. the next day they could switch, or not, depending on how the day went.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ What if both of you like one wife more than the other one? $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Aug 3 '15 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ Haha, how could you tell the difference? $\endgroup$ – Leprechaun Aug 3 '15 at 18:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Oldcat They would be basically the same though, especially at first. Over time some physical differences could crop up (one me is careless with a knife and gets a scar, etc) but with a 6.45 hour refresh rate no major psychological differences should occur $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Aug 3 '15 at 18:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SerbanTanasa Unfortunately there are now two wives. With twice the nagging... Of course, with a second me, she might be pretty happy, since I'd be able to get the honeydo list taken care of faster, and still have time to do what I want to do. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Aug 3 '15 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyD273 - not really, each Andy could claim it was the other one who promised to do all the work. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Aug 3 '15 at 20:17
3
$\begingroup$

Aftermath

I think something that most have failed to notice is this part here:

The duplicates both appear wearing a perfect replica of the original's clothes and other personal items at a survivable location that appears to be otherwise random, but at least 128 centimeters radially from where the original was located.

This description is a bit ambiguous. Clearly outer space, Mariana's Trench, and the inside of volcanoes are not survivable locations, but what about the middle of the ocean, on top of a mountain with lower than average oxygen, little food, and no easy way to get down (not to mention the cold), or the middle of a desert? These are immediately survivable, but not indefinitely survivable. For the sake of simplicity, I will assume we are being sent to some "habitable location," which Wikipedia claims to be 59% of the land surface1. I find it interesting that most people are discussing the possibility of being harmed in an automobile accident, but only about 1.5% of the possible spawn areas is urban (note, not just roads)2. Statistically speaking, we would expect people to have a fairly even population distribution across the Earth, obviously with some areas being more or less densely populated than others. The total area of the spawn sites is 87874600 kilometers2. With a current world population of almost 7.3 billion (essentially 14.6 post-Duplication) there are about 6000 meters2 per body, or about an acre and a half.

Thus, most people will have someone else nearby, but not right nearby. The odds that you and your duplicate are even in the same "country" (if those still exist, what with all the leaders, policemen, and mailmen being randomly teleported somewhere else) are not good. Communication with those around you won't be as easy as you might think. Even if you speak the most common language (Chinese), only about 1/5 can understand you4. English speakers can only expect to be understood by 1/9 of those around them. Even without the duplication, your first priorities would be finding a sustainable, clean water source, food, and/or urban structures (pre-made shelter!) Other people will be flocking here as well, so you're more likely to find people you can communicate with. Once people group together in cities and/or form sustainable communities, people who speak a common language (one with more than 50 million or so speakers) are likely to find at least one other person to communicate with, and over time people are likely to group up into linguistically unified communities, and then eventually the languages of the groups would become similar to each other's as they had to interact, or yield to the most common one (as happened with English in colonial America). People who spoke an uncommon language would likely be forced to learn a more common one (not as impossible as you might think when you don't have the option to just revert back to your native tongue!)

Of course, up 'til now I haven't even hardly answered the actual question, and I can't really contribute much more than what others have already said. I think I have, however, pointed out something that is important. There would be more of an immediate emphasis on survival in the impending anarchy than perhaps on this strange feeling that you have a doppelganger. People would be wary at first, but eventually decide to break into houses to steal food and supplies. As societies were formed and languages united, a new government would form, possibly one that used the old governmental buildings, maybe not. People would have to find farms and try to cultivate the unfamiliar crops so that they could eat as the food available in cities dwindled. A lot of people would probably starve, although the ability of an individual to find food is effectively doubled by the special rule that you share food. Thankfully, people who had smartphones/backpacks with laptops could use them until the Internet potentially stopped working. This would allow for people to learn (almost exclusively through free hotspots/hacked wiFi) that there had been a globalized random teleportation and that a lot of people seemed to share their odd sensation that they had a duplicate out there somewhere. Since your duplicate would also have a phone, (s)he could potentially communicate with you (post on your Facebook wall, e-mail, etc.) if they thought to do so and had Internet available.

So basically, there would be a scramble for survival and information. Violence would probably increase, as people with guns would likely be less inhibited by the oddity and confusion of everything.

The First Sync

And then, your weird feeling that you have a twin is made even weirder by the sensation that you are gaining all the memories of someone else's most recent 6.5 hours. Unless your dupe happened to look in a mirror at some point you may not even realize it was you. You probably would, though, because you would hear their thoughts during this time and realize it sounded and reasoned a lot like your thoughts do. After the instantaneous transmission of several hours of memories, you would likely be very confused. You would discuss the occurrence with the other speakers of your language and potentially learn that everyone else had experienced what seemed to be the memories of someone else who seemed to be them.

Next Few Syncs

After a while, you would come to expect the syncs, although this isn't as easy as it might seem, considering they occur 4 hours, 38 minutes, and 9 seconds later every day. You would learn to communicate with them in an odd way: Since they receive all of your thoughts from the last 6.5 hours, you can think to them the way you could to someone who could read your mind. Of course, this allows for limited back and forth. It's more like writing a letter than IM. You could, however, use this technique to learn about who this other person was in relation to you and also to create strategies. By now you will have realized that you don't feel as hungry as you should, or sometimes as sleepy as you should (I'm going to assume that if something as substantial as appetite can be linked, sleepiness likely is as well). You and your doppelganger may determine that your appetites are linked, potentially allowing you to strategize on allocation of resources (food v. weapons or something else).

Long-term

I mentioned in the aftermath section that people would be stealing food from abandoned houses and whatnot because there would be no order or anything. In the short term we would expect services like electricity and water to fail because of lack of action by the people who were supposed to run them, but eventually someone with the necessary skills would come along, potentially with other people (s)he could convince to join him/her and take control of the service. This would allow the individual the ability to charge others for it. This could easily happen with something like an oil rig where a small group would take control of it, trade some of the oil for weapons and then be able to defend it from invaders. I think similar situations would eventually allow people to make use of factories and other such industrialized things, so that gradually technology would be restored to previous levels, except essentially everything would be run by different people from before who didn't necessarily know exactly how to work everything or the necessary safety precautions. Trade and communication between different areas would be greatly hindered until technology picked up quite a bit, potentially allowing for different languages to develop in different areas.

After a while, you may decide you want to meet your dupe. You learned long ago where (s)he lives because of the various signs around town you saw in his/her/your(?) memories, but the time it would probably take to get there would discourage you, at least until technology had been restored to a reasonable level. Once you could reasonably travel to the continent where they lived, would you? What would be the benefit? Personally, I would be much more concerned with finding my family, which would basically only be possible once we were both connected to the Internet.

TL;DR: If this really happened, the fact that you got someone else's memories synced to your brain once every 6.5 hours would be almost superfluous.

Sources:

1: Earth#Habitability

2: What percentage of Earth's land is used for infrastructure like roads, buildings, all pavement, etc.?

3: Population Clock

4: List of languages by total number of speakers

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Assuming most people embrace this and don't destroy their society or themselves... (I know I would be freaked out at first, but would prefer to be able to experience twice as much of life as before)

The amount of manpower available has just doubled. One resource which suddenly seems very cheap proportionally is food and water. However, there are a number of other resources to think about.

Residential Spaces and Infrastructure - Both clones will want their own living spaces. Some may not be able to afford it at first, but it is likely going to be desired. Housing costs are going to go up. Each clone will prefer having their own car, and there will be a sudden increase of street traffic, but it will take time for street infrastructure to catch up.

Jobs - You now have twice as many available workers, but not twice as many companies. Some markets will double in demand (Both clones will want their own personal property, such as cell phones), but others won't (Food, since that is stated, but also potentially some jobs such as some Federal Government positions). There is going to be little to no support to employ these amounts of people immediately, resulting in a doubling of demand for material goods and services with little increase of supply, meaning costs are going to go up while there is a massive flood of new companies and new jobs being created to satisfy the increased demands. Once everything balances out, I am betting that there will not be two people sharing one job - but rather both will be working their own job similar to today.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Good point on the economics. Less-developed countries where food production takes up much of the entire population's work will become richer from a doubled workforce. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Aug 31 '17 at 5:48
1
$\begingroup$

A major aspect that people are missing is differentiation. People will continue their train of thought beyond syncing, meaning that moods will persist. Husbands, wives, and friends will all become convinced that the two people are different. Injuries will further add to this differentiation. Laws will need to be enacted to allow people to divorce or marry only one of the pair.

All of this will lead to a most people considering their partner a twin, and not another body despite the fact that they share memories. Governments will likely attach random numbers to the end of people's names, and people will adopt nicknames to differentiate themselves among friends. Some may fight over names, others will not.

Laziness will spread. We only have to eat half as much, but learning (which is very valuable in today's world) can be pricey. If you are attending school and your partner sits at home and plays video games all day, you are going to feel ripped off, especially if he goes and obtains a job with his new-found knowledge.

While there will be some cooperating pairs (those who both use their time wisely, share money, items, relationships), the majority of pairs will not cooperate, and will learn to ignore their pair. While there will be an increase in global knowledge, and some unique jobs that require both pairs (secret communication), I actually believe that the end result will be very similar to what we have today, as everybody who acted in self-interest before, will continue that way, and those more altruistic will simply act altruistic to their pair as well.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ "with his new-found knowledge" that you share. So you can get a job yourself. $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Aug 4 '15 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin correct, you'd both get the knowledge, but one got it for free. Its the same situation as dishes with roommates. Both get the benefit, but only one does the work, so eventually, nobody does the dishes (in most cases) $\endgroup$ – Nathan Merrill Aug 4 '15 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, but both roomates are eventually feeling like the washed the dishes, and both feel like they sat on the couch watching the latest GoT episode. Only one has wet hands though. I think a collaboration is more productive than a competition in this case. Money isn't shared but food, sleep and knowledge are. $\endgroup$ – bilbo_pingouin Aug 4 '15 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ @bilbo_pingouin That only works if they feel like they are the same person. I'm arguing that because moods, bodies, and situations persist, they will not feel like they are the same person. $\endgroup$ – Nathan Merrill Aug 4 '15 at 13:44
0
$\begingroup$

Narcissists are going to love this world. Lots of controversy over the first Self-marriage.

Marriages might be strained if one dupe gets into a relationship with someone else. Meanwhile almost everyone in a relationship gets to experience 3-somes and 4-somes.

Anyone with a dead dupe is going to be at a significant disadvantage, they can now only work half as many hours but they still need as much food as before.

Kidnapping takes on another grim aspects. Capture one dupe and leave the other home and every 6 hours they get an update of horrible memories until the ransom is paid.

Physicist are going to get excited about the information and energy transmission from a distance and try putting dupes in distant shielded locations.

A mission to mars or the moon becomes much easier. No need to carry food. Does a dupe even need to breath oxygen? One stays home and eats while the other builds the base on mars.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.