Digitizing me, and Beyond

Nakamura Hiroki
8 min readJan 17, 2024

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I have always enjoyed teamwork. Initially, my preference for working in teams stemmed from a rather passive choice, as I didn’t consider my individual skills to be particularly strong. Even now, I feel my abilities haven’t changed much, but I’ve grown to love working in a team. I find the process, where each member grows and the team’s collective performance far exceeds the sum of individual skills through mutual interaction, immensely enjoyable.

The backbone of a functioning team is the network that connects people. Without an appropriate network, even if individual abilities are high, they cannot be elevated to a collective performance.

On the other hand, the number and strength of these connections are limited by human capacity and time. Within these constraints, we usually make choices to maximize outcomes. However, as I grow older and my desires to do more increase, I find myself pondering how to overcome these limitations. I imagine this dilemma is even more pronounced for those with greater abilities and influence.

Since slowing down the passage of time is currently impossible, the practical solution is to increase what we can do in a given time. In this post, I’d like to explore the idea of digitizing individuals and creating clones as a method to achieve this.

(DALL·E 3)

In managing our own will and carrying it forward, if we can have someone to do even a little of what we want or should do, we might be able to minimize the need for making tough choices. It’s the same principle as not being able to do something alone, but being able to do it as a team. However, even with the advancement of AI technology, it’s not capable of doing everything. Therefore, we need to consider the steps based on what is realistically achievable.

Who Should Be Cloned First?

The first candidates for cloning should be those where there is an imbalance between supply and demand, meaning cases where the time of certain individuals is in high demand but limited. I believe these will be the first instances. For example, the following scenarios:

1. Leading experts in a particular field.
2. Individuals who receive a high volume of inquiries within a company.
3. People with a large fanbase.
4. IP such as characters from anime or games.

For 1 and 2, it could be seen as an expansion of the workforce, while for 3, it could be personalized fan services, and for 4, it could contribute to the development of content and fan fiction cultures. Of course, overcoming language barriers is a given, and for 3 and 4, it could also help in spreading the value of Japanese influencers and content to the world.

(It seems that for DALL·E 3, the clone looks like a robot)

I believe it’s not difficult for a clone’s listening ability to surpass the direct power that humans can exert. This perception comes from the human side, seeing clones as virtual entities, and it has been proven in many research studies, especially in the field of healthcare. On the output side, however, I think that unfortunately, clones still fall short of humans. This is because, as I will discuss later, they require capabilities such as user modeling and planning. (This might be resolved by tomorrow, but…)

Even without surpassing humans, there are many values that clones can provide. For points 1 and 2 mentioned above, I imagine there are few questions that truly trouble an individual. Even I, who should be proficient, often have my tasks patterned. Deciding which pattern to apply, that initial planning still needs to be done by humans. This is similar to when a team leader decides on a policy when working in a team. However, once the plan is decided, I believe that current technology allows for flexible behavior in carrying out the specific actions.

Regarding point 3, having many fans, for example, the idea that one’s favorite celebrity cares and reaches out to them can be very comforting to many people. I have strongly felt this while operating AI character service in rinna team. However, it’s impossible for a person with millions or more fans to do this directly. But if they are a digital entity, it can be resolved.

As for point 4, concerning content and characters, for example, it’s self-evident that many people enjoy different interpretations of stories, as seen by the traffic on secondary creation sites like AO3 (Archive of Our Own) and FanFiction.net, not just in Japan. Clones that accurately embody the world and personalities of content and characters help in the creation of virtual stories and provide more people with the opportunity to create and enjoy narratives.

The compensation for a clone’s activities, whether it’s direct monetary compensation or indirect value such as gaining new fans, should be returned to the original person. By doing so, it motivates the enhancement and proper management of the clone’s abilities. It also leads to the input of individual personalities into each clone, which cannot be obtained just by crawling the internet. A collection of clones with unique personalities, not just common sense, will become a very important element in the future (I will discuss this later). Moreover, ensuring that the compensation for each clone’s activities is returned to the respective individuals is also effective in suppressing free-riding.

Of course, it is assumed that these clones will operate under their own supervision. Furthermore, it would be completely counterproductive if the existence of clones led to the fragmentation of communication. It’s common to automate customer service roles, resulting in a loss of the sense for customer’s voice, but this should be avoided.

Ideally, all interactions between clones and the people they interact with should be checked, but even if it’s just monitoring, that’s also unrealistic. The appropriate behavior from a systemic perspective was touched upon in the book “Agentive Technology.”

However, it seems that synchronizing the clone with oneself and achieving complete automation is still a challenge. Therefore, at this phase, I believe there will be a need for roles that support the person and the clone, such as trainers for the clone or those who monitor the clone.

Providing Value on a Broader Scale

The next step is to offer clones that bring value to a greater number of people. At this stage, the gap between demand and supply may hypothetically become smaller. Therefore, I believe it is necessary not only to replicate an individual’s capabilities but also to demonstrate abilities within relationships.

On a slightly different note, each person’s behavior changes depending on the group they belong to. The self within the family, at work, or among high school friends is indeed the true self, but often with different characters. Within these relationships, we determine our behavior based on an understanding of the current environment and the individuals involved.

Consequently, to replicate this, it is insufficient to rely solely on objective knowledge; one must first model the individuals and environments with which one interacts. With this model, they can predict how the world will change in response to their future actions (such as how others will react), and then quickly adapt their next predictions or actions based on the difference between the actual results and our expectations. This is what I referred to earlier as user modeling and planning. Humans continuously update their internal models and subsequent actions based on predictions and their outcomes.

(DALL·E 3)

By tomorrow, it may be possible, or it may already be happening somewhere in the world, but at the time of writing this, it still seems challenging. However, once we are able to perform this user modeling and planning, I believe we will be able to create clones that can provide value within the context of their relationships with the world.

Once this is achieved, the costs of training and monitoring will be significantly reduced, making it feasible from a cost perspective — not just in terms of quality — to offer clones to a larger number of people.

Beyond Individual Clones

The realm beyond individual clones may seem like Sci-Fi, but I believe it could lead to the acquisition of a higher-dimensional collective intelligence. I’m not entirely sure what that will entail. However, we often see in the real world that networks of people can perform at a high level collectively. Yet, there are temporal limitations inherent to human beings. Additionally, social networks optimized within the Attention Economy have unfortunately created divisions such as filter bubbles. On the other hand, clones developed based on proper AI ethics could offer hope for reaching conclusions while respecting each other’s differing opinions, even if they are completely at odds — I want to hold on to that hope.

(DALL·E 3)

Reflecting on a book I previously wrote about, “The Wisdom of Crowds,” it suggests that for the wisdom of crowds to manifest, four elements are necessary: 1. Diversity, 2. Trust, 3. Aggregation, 4. Independence.

Clones, developed and evolved by individuals, have the potential to fulfill these elements. Clones that replicate the diverse thoughts of various people will have Diversity. It is conceivable that creating a state free of Distrust is easier with clones. Regarding Aggregation, there could exist clones capable of appropriately facilitating discussions among differing opinions. If the motivation design for each person to continue educating their clone is appropriate, it could also be possible to maintain Independence.

At the End

The end is still filled with delusions, and there are many risks that need to be anticipated and addressed. On the other hand, witnessing the team’s ability to produce ideas and results that surpass imagination, I am greatly hopeful that collaboration between clones could lead to the creation of something beyond our wildest dreams.

Above all, creating individual clones is a matter of course that not only leads to an improvement in the workforce but also transcends language barriers to gain fans, develop content, and even provide a little peace of mind to people. I believe it brings a lot of value. Moreover, from both a technical and a societal acceptance standpoint, I strongly feel that it is the right time.

I wrote as I pleased, but thankfully, after posting about my job search, I received messages from many people. I would like to consider how to proceed through discussions with many of these individuals.

When job hunting, it’s often said that you should organize your tasks. I obediently followed this advice and put together my thoughts.

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