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Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
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Virtual Person

"The way you write science fiction is: you sit down at your writing machine and you open your mind to the first thought that comes through."
- Frederik Pohl

  A device that captures a person's life experience in software.  

‘‘Religion’s one thing, Mr. Leckesh, but immortality’s something else. Lo says immortality’s no big problem anymore.” He drew a business card out of his pocket and handed it to Leckesh. ‘‘This is modern; this is digital. Whenever you’re ready for immortality, my sister Lo's got it...”

Lo took a device the size of a cigarette pack out of her desk. It had two little grills, for microphone and speaker. ‘‘We call this a lifebox. Basically, I want you to tell it your life story. Tell everything. It takes most people a couple of weeks.”

‘‘But . . , I’m no writer.”

“Don’t worry; the lifebox has prompts built into its program. It asks questions.” She flicked a switch and the lifebox hummed. “Go on, Mr. Leckesh, say something to it.”

“I . . I’m not used to talking to machines.

“What are some of the first machines you remember, Doug?” asked the lifebox. Its voice was calm, pleasant, interested. Lo nodded encouragingly, and Leckesh answered the question.

“The TV, and my mother’s vacuum cleaner. I used to love to watch the cartoons Saturday morning’Bugs Bunny was the best — and Mom would always pick that time to vacuum. It made red and green static on the TV screen.” Leckesh stopped and looked at the box. “Can you understand me?”

“Perfectly, Doug. I want to build up a sort of network among the concepts that matter to you, so I’m going to keep asking questions about some of the things you mention. I’ll get back to the vacuum cleaner in a minute, but first tell me this: What did you like best about Bugs Bunny?”

For the next couple of weeks, Leckesh took his lifebox everywhere. He talked to it at home and in the club — and when Abby and his friends reproved him for ignoring them, he began talking to it in a booth at Yung’s bar. The lifebox was the best listener Leckesh had ever had. It remembered everything he told it, and it winnowed the key concepts out of all his stories. Leckesh would respond to its prompts, or simply go off on tangents of his own. Except for the dizziness and the constant pain, he hadn’t had so much fun in years.

Technovelgy from Soft Death, by Rudy Rucker.
Published by Fantasy Science Fiction in 1986
Additional resources -

Compare to lifelog from Halting State (2007) by Charles Stross, alibi-archive from Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer and the life recorder from Roger Zelazny's 1966 novel The Dream Master.

As far as the ultimate goal of the lifelog, to create a digital representation of a living person, see the entry for construct from William Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer. See also the biosoft from Count Zero (1986) by William Gibson.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Soft Death
  More Ideas and Technology by Rudy Rucker
  Tech news articles related to Soft Death
  Tech news articles related to works by Rudy Rucker

Lifebox-related news articles:
  - Augmented Reality Cemetery Tour - The Dead Speak
  - Digital Obituary News

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