When confronted with cloning which leaves the original alive, there is the known issue that the clone could want to replace the original (e.g. as seen in The 6th day). A shared consciousness is very strange to people as they experience at least twice as much information in a moment and have to deal with it, it's not popular. So if you are a "I wish it were me" person and don't like being at two different places/conversations/etc at once, what can you do?

A proposed solution is the rotating system: Original and clone change their duties daily. One day the original is at home, house-keeping and enjoying the otherwise free time while the clone is working, the next day it is the other way around. At midnight their brains will be synchronized with the Brain Override Security System™ (it is a lot like Version Control, really), so they share the memories of the day and keep the same personality. This way the consciousness is not shared per se, but there is little room for the "I wish it were me" problem. Waking up in the morning can be irritating, though. But usually the pairs can keep track of who is the original and who is the clone, although it's more like a self 1, self 2 mentality.

What could be the psychological consequences of such a rotating system? My guess is that it works for the normal human but there are always the exceptions. What are your thoughts?

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    $\begingroup$ I have a sneaking suspicion that the devil is in the details here. The particulars of the synchronization process may be incredibly important here, leading to variants from "just like normal humans" to "completely alien to us." I almost feel like the best answer to this is to write a novel about it. or a series. I could probably write novels in this series for the rest of my life and still not exhaust all possibilities. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Dec 16, 2016 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ I might suggest David Brin's Kiln People - which delves into a society full of cloning ("dittos") and synchronizing memories/experiences. In that society, different "colors" of clones (slightly modified from the original) are used for different types of duties. $\endgroup$
    – Ghotir
    Dec 16, 2016 at 19:40
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    $\begingroup$ If one of the clones end up having a distinct (dis)ability, I foresee a lot of confusion unless they develop a rather strong sense of self. $\endgroup$
    – Faerindel
    Dec 16, 2016 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ You mentioned "I wish it were me" which is part of the very closely related question How can you solve the copied consciousness conundrum (which also discusses answers to your question) $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Dec 17, 2016 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra I linked that question in mine from the very start ;) It is closely related but in my opinion still quite different. $\endgroup$
    – Ayutac
    Dec 17, 2016 at 16:27

3 Answers 3


I am not very much into psychology but know a lot about Version Control Systems. These systems work by keeping everything which is compatible and letting the user decide which change should be kept in case of conflicting changes. I will assume that your BOSS does somehow the same.

You said in your question:

But usually the pairs can keep track of who is the original and who is the clone, although it's more like a self 1, self 2 mentality.

This let me assume, that they still know that their changes had been rejected. This might be a new possible source for the "I wish it were me" problems, of the sort "I whish my changes/experiences would be kept": Every clone might want to make changes that will end in the merged personality.

This can lead both to try to figure out how BOSS decides which change would override and adopt their behavior to this. If they e.g. experience that exciting situations are less changed to fit with the others they might start to life a riskier life than they would without BOSS.

Edit: I had been asked to put an example for "conflicting changes". They depend a bit on how the problem of brains is actual mapped to the version control system. The question mentioned a post which says:

It also presents a unique perspective on "clashing code" - parts of the program where two programmers are working on the same part of the code. For this, our central versioning system would need some sort of "best integration" or "best outcome" metric, along with a facility to store, segregate and present the "other versions" as accessible memories that are kept separate from the "main branch".

Starting from this I assume, that the merging should give a valid personality. Now assume e.g. that you and the clone learned something at the same time but in different ways. This might be because they learned it from different persons, or because they learn it at the same time (in the same room) but with different "states of mind" resulting from different activities during the ongoing day. How would BOSS merge that into a valid learning experience? Will it first apply one learning experience and then the other one? Will it try to figure out which learning is the "best" and discard the other one completely? In my opinion these questions are similar to "merge strategies" and can therefore result in the problem described earlier.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you put an example of a memory equivalent to a code conflict? Because I can't think of one. Both clones being in the same room would be two distinct memories. $\endgroup$
    – Faerindel
    Dec 16, 2016 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Faerindel Thanks for your comment. I edited the question to explain a situation, where I would see such an conflict but will encourage discussion, if you disagree with me (to help me clarifying or changing my point). $\endgroup$
    – Buldelu
    Dec 16, 2016 at 20:14

I think that over time it they may lose track over the who is the original and who is the clone. The share the same memories and I don't see how they could tell which were the synchronized memories and which would be there own memories.

  • $\begingroup$ You just look who is younger. Since you don't want the clone to look like he is 100 years old (at least I hope so) , you don't want to sped up the ageing process. This means that the clone will be a few years younger than the original. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2016 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ I just thought they don't sleep in the same bed and can remember who went into which bed. $\endgroup$
    – Ayutac
    Dec 17, 2016 at 16:30

A clone is just someone who has the same genes as you.

A clone starts as a cell in a mother's (or artificial) womb. It then grows like a normal human/animal being cloned. After 9 months (if it is a human) a baby clone is born. It will probably look like the person being cloned did at that age, and it will not share any of the original's memories. Also, unless you manage to speed up the ageing process, the clone will be a lot younger than the original.

  • $\begingroup$ Uh, though I don't see any edit in the question, I suppose there wasn't the part where the OP says there is a handwavium daily memory synchronization. So, in a way, they will. $\endgroup$
    – Faerindel
    Dec 16, 2016 at 19:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Faerindel If one clone is in nappies, and the other is a 20-30 year old, you can't do it. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2016 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ also, I hadn't read the second and third pargraphs. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2016 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ Seeing the other 11 tagged cloning-questions it didn't occur to me to take a strict biological definition. If "clone" doesn't suits you, take "copy" if it helps. $\endgroup$
    – Ayutac
    Dec 17, 2016 at 16:33

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