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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Recorded Personalities  
  Computer firmware that saves a person's characteristics and reactions.  

The idea of a construct, or a recording of a person, was introduced in Neuromancer, by the same author. In this quote, however, the concept is given a delightful form, with more detail.

There were similar things in her father's study, four of them, black lacquered cubes arranged along a low shelf of pine. Above each cube hung a formal portrait. The portraits were monochrome photographs of men in dark suits and ties, four very sober gentleman whose lapels were decorated with small metal emblems of the kind her father sometimes wore. Though her mother had told her that the cubes contained ghosts, the ghosts of her father's evil ancestors, Komiko found them more fascinating than frightening. Her father sometimes meditated before the cubes, kneeling on the bare tatami in an attitude that connoted profound respect. She had seen him in this position many times, but she was ten before she heard him address the cubes. And one had answered. The question had meant nothing to her, the answer less, but the calm tone of the ghost's reply had frozen her where she crouched, behind a door of paper, and her father had laughed to find her there; rather than scold her, he'd explained that the cubes housed the recorded personalities of former executives, corporate directors. "They're not conscious. They respond, when questioned, in a manner approximating the response of the subject."
From Mona Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson.
Published by Bantam in 1988
Additional resources -

Gibson shows his writing ability by seamlessly fitting tomorrow's concept into a way of life that has endured for millennia. Meditating before pictures of people that you respect is common around the world; in this case, getting an answer is easier. Also, ancestor worship is deeply rooted in Shinto beliefs; certainly, a recorded personality has the power to influence the living world.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Mona Lisa Overdrive
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Mona Lisa Overdrive
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

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