Volume 1, Issue 4
4th Quarter, 2006

Strategies for Personality Transfer

William Sims Bainbridge

page 14 of 15

As explained in a NASA-published essay, the personality could be reanimated in robots, genetically engineered organisms, or information systems on distant Bainbridgeplanets.[1] The data can be delivered to other planets either on spacecraft or through radio, and it is even possible that files of personalities for reanimation can be exchanged between Earth and distant, galactic civilizations.

The personality capture process would begin with a several-day visit to the Center, where special equipment and trained technicians would administer tests, carry out observations of the person’s behavior under varied conditions, and administer questionnaires. One good choice for the questionnaires would be the first 500 items in Self II, which include variants of measurements for the “Big 5” and comparable scales. Another would be The Year 2100, because the 2,000 items not only measure many beliefs and values of the individual, but also orient him or her toward the future he or she hopes to experience. 

Image 8: A screenshot of Bainbridge’s “Year 2100” program

These questionnaires would be administered on a computer as intermissions between more physically active kinds of measurement process. During the visit, the person would also receive instructions and materials for continuing the recording process at home. The aim would be to capture the general outlines of the individual’s personality, along with dynamic images that could be used to create a realistic computer avatar.

At home over the following few months, the person would answer additional questionnaires on a home computer, sending the files by e-mail to the Center for analysis and archiving. The Center would return personalized analyses to the person, partly to motivate continued participation, but also because a valuable byproduct of personality capture can be self-knowledge. Perhaps monthly, the person would receive from the Center a computer program, rather like a simple video game, that would administer additional psychological measures, such as one comparable to STM to measure short-term memory.

Additional visits to the Center might come later, including an annual visit in the form of a check-up to determine which personalized processes needed to be run, to maximize any side-benefits such as personality improvement, and to carry out further measurements requiring special equipment.

Participants might also volunteer their time to activities designed to support the personality transfer movement. In the early years, these would include scientific experiments to increase the accuracy and efficiency of personality capture, public awareness campaigns, and possibly political activity to protect and enhance participants rights to capture, transfer, enhance and emulate their personalities. The first priority should be on developing good means for personality capture, and our knowledge of how to use computational means to enhance or emulate personality is still rather primitive. Thus a social movement will be required to concentrate the expertise and enthusiasm needed to give humanity a practical route toward immortality and the stars.

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1. Bainbridge, William Sims. 2002b. “The Spaceflight Revolution Revisited,” pp. 39-64 in Looking Backward, Looking Forward, edited by Stephen J. Garber. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (back to top)

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