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Clone thyself as the next unicorn startup idea.

Imagine you have the superpower to clone yourself. You can send this clone to as many places as you like. These clone presense will be present 24x7 for you. Serving you. As you.

Like the various hats that you like to adorn, so do the clones. A clone for every Avatar of you that you’d like to personify. A clone for a situation, a clone for every need.

Yes, imagine Agent Smith of the last act in The Matrix. Hundreds of “him”, doing work for him. Only, yours will be benign and avoid evil. Because you are not evil, and your clone is but what you are.

My son was playing with a phone while I was on a separate WhatsApp call. He was making videos of himself, and he ended up capturing my voice from the call in the background. When I heard myself there, it gave me a start. Have you listened to yourself on a zoom call, video off, just a name displayed on the screen? Sarcasm aside, is that real you? Or is it an audio representation of you for that hour? Does that change between a call with a boss, and a call with the team and subordinates? An interview zoom call, and a friendly catch up with a childhood buddy? There is an essence of you in all of these clones, and yet the persona changes based on the prompt that you give. Be yourself, they say. This is being yourself. Do you notice such differences in your digital interactions?

Recently, I went through my resume. I read it a few times and tried to imagine how my audience, a screening team (and algorithms), would read it. Truth be told, there is a reason for them to be skeptical in the process. My resume reads unreal to me at times. Some things are too good to be true when crammed on an A4 sheet back-to-back. It lists how many times I have cloned myself in my professional life, and every time I claim that I was the Neo of The Matrix. Supposedly, this claim to fame is the ultimate weapon in a knowledge worker’s arsenal. And yet, it is one of the most poor and imaginary representation of yourself. If a resume is the door opener to take you to the interview panel, a brief, impersonal, one-sided, paper document that is seemingly fraught with false victories and promises, is a rather poor medium of choice. How about your resume?

Do you have your own personal website or webpage? I have been maintaining this domain for the website for a few years now. A typical personal website would be (or should be) like a public resume. Ignoring the contradiction of that statement for a bit, because there is none, think about it. We want people to come to your personal website to be dazzled. Therefore, we clone bits and pieces of us that we think are the best and most impressive and put them up in sections like portfolio, blog and pictures, testimonials, projects and client-lists, and our opinions. We window-dress our website or personal pages and leave it for the visitor to entertain or dazzle herself. And as an enforcement learning for her we go and SEO our links to get hits and likes, including paying for it. Most of such personal endeavor like this run out of steam sooner or later. (Neglect for years to this website is but one example.)

I’m fortunate to have known some of the LinkedIn top voices (no, no, the “blue tick” ones) personally. Their dedication to the craft is commendable. Like any personal branding hack would tell you, they personalised their messaging to the core. They try and bridge the gap between their product (mostly, opinions) and their personal presence by putting their personal photos and anecdotes. This is making your digital clone more ‘human’. Doing it a lot will take your clone to the brink of vanity, not doing it at all will make it sound mechanical. Admittedly, social acceptance to the norm vary and keep evolving, but balance remains the key.

The YouTubers are the most interesting lot. Since SmartPhones with decent camera and high-res screens become ubiquitous, you need virtually zero additional investment to be on YouTube, TickTock, Insta and the lot. Of all formats, these folks get the most bang for the buck - of the other way around - out there. Partly because it is the most ‘direct’ medium of them all, that engages Audio and Visual faculties along with storytelling, and partly because it is the most personal of the mediums. in most cases, you are showing you and selling a part of your life as a product. When optimized for adictiveness, it becomes unstoppable. (YouTube is the #1 website in the US in terms of daily hits.)

Therefore, if one were to look for a perfect digital clone - the Neo amongst all the Agents Smiths that we discussed above, it has to be an Audio-Visual presence. No more multiple personals on various platforms. one clone to rule them all.

When someone comes to your website, they meet you there - which is your digital clone there. They “talk” to you like they interact with an online agent. It is a conversation. A conversation about your portfolio, and projects, clients and testimonials, blogs, pictures and opinions.

Your resume is but a factual, historical, information subset of your digital ‘self’. For all practical purposes, the technical interview should be handled by your digital clone, while the HR may call you in for the human touch and a personality assessment.

Your future professional blogs, LinkedIn posts, and tweets can be written by your digital clone, freeing you up for mending your garden or walking your kids to school or getting onto that cruz for a world tour.

You can ‘send’ your Digital self to participate in a podcast or a talkshow and nobody would know the difference. After all, your clone had your perfect voiceprint. It has your exact vocabulary and the perfectly matching pitch and tonality. The ‘thoughts’ on the show are also a ‘derivative’ of your own. If it does blutter our some nonsense you can always argue that it was “under the influence” at that time.

There are no deepfakes anymore. What is there to fake? My clone is the true copy and it is accountable for all the time. The digital footprints shall negate any deepfake-induced claim contrary to the records. Can someone else create a deepfake about me? They can if they steal my identity credentials. That will be unauthorised cloning and not a deepfake. Unauthorised clones or parody can be regulated.

When metaverse comes along - indeed, it is a question of when and not if - your digital clone be the natural (sorry), logical , extension for your presence there. The interaction between clones in the metaverse would be seamless and extremely enriching because it would have the potential to demonstrate very human-like behaviour. You would not need expensive headsets such as Apple Vision Pro because your digital clone is truly digital and not a hybrid A/R solution.

As you would agree, this is totally exciting. There are no doubts on the desirability part of the proposition. It’s just there, an the potential is enormous.

In the next part of the blog we will see the Feasibility and Viability aspects. Stay tunes!

Someone said that the idea is already a Unicorn. What do you think?


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