For my book on em econ, I want to figure out something unusual about human psychology. It has to do with how creatures with a human psychology would react to a situation that humans have not yet encountered. So I ask for your help, dear readers. I’m going to describe a hypothetical situation, and I want you to imagine that you are in this situation, and then tell me how you’d feel about it. OK, here goes.
Interesting experiment. Never thought about it before.
Yes, but not to the same degree. Many worry about skeletons in their closet haunting their later life. At least there's some expectation that people might change over time. There's less excuse if the clone was made yesterday.
Sorry, meant to claim that soaps are /more/ cross-cultural. You get the picture.
I think you have many natural experiments along these lines from existing groups of people with similar jobs. When comedians get together from drinks, they have strong fellowship. Ditto for salespeople (even though they are direct competitors), telecom engineers, etc. The more specialized the closer, even though specialization implies direct competition. In my experience (international business, in telecoms infrastructure & consumer products), this camaraderie even transcends age, gender, nationality.
So my sense is that the communes would become very close, even friends. They'd feel "in this together" and be intensely curious about each others' social conflicts. Again, consider the natural experiment that soap operas seem less cross-cultural than, say, action movies.
I think that the various groups would become very competitive (inter group) - our biggest rivals seem to be close by (eg. local sports teams, envy of a co-workers rise vs. a CEO rise, discord between [very similar] local communities). A red vs blue them vs us would emerge, so there would be a lot of observing other groups (maybe some doing down negative-sum competition), covert copying (we thought of this first). So the various groups would move to differentiate (perhaps united if there later came an external threat.
Regarding observing behaviour (leaving ones spouse) - I think many excuses about why that Paul Ralley is totally different from our Paul Ralley would become the norm (well, of course the weather is different there...)
(I'm deliberately posting this before I read the other comments.)
I assume that we each get a new cell phone number / email / facebook / bank account / whatever, from-the or including-the 'original'. We even have new names even if they aren't meaningful, like Chicago:Paul and Moscow:Paul.
My first instinct is to establish the option to contact my alternate selves, so that we can conspire to solve problems, experiment against the group (I assume that each group has an internal status ranking, and that I want to climb to the top and stay there forever), and possibly even cooperate for greater influence outside of the group (running for president, robbing a bank, making a career change/self-insurance, self-orchestra, etc). So I would try to find their email/cell and establish some kind of secure communications channel. I could even quickly coordinate immediately after the copy using a shared-secret I memorized before being copied.
My second thought is that other people are also going to do this, so I can't betray them, or keep secrets from them, as easily. If I betray, I have to betray everyone at once. Of course, I may expect everyone to betray all of myselves at once, and therefore become more paranoid.
Third, psychologically I feel very uncomfortable talking directly to anyone else from another clan. This would seem extremely disloyal, as I could talk to the version of that person here in my own clan, and "people should be loyal to their own clan above other clans". I would more likely ask an alternate self to talk to that person on """my""" behalf.
I don't care about what happens at work, in my or the other clans, unless I can use it to increase my status. Working is for losers, particularly when I can work for """myself""" by conspiring with the """person""" I trust the most.
So I would lean toward specialization, but with my selves trying to keep each of the other clansmen synchronized. If everyone did this the groups would probably be quite different, but permanent individual personality-features of others would still be observable and useful to my selves.
While some people would prefer to interact mainly with their own copies, I think most would not. Work groups composed all of copies of the same original wouldn't have enough different temperaments to fill out all the different job roles well. Healthy social groups also need a diversity of temperaments.
If five years ago a small well-functioning community got cloned 100 times, that community and its copies have by now been completely destroyed. This is because intimacy is scarce, and the cloning would create 100 new kindred spirits for each person in the community. Within the first week, the world would reconfigure itself so that these clone-groups of 100 would become their own communities - a sort of familial clan, but many times tighter. How might you feel if your wife got sucked into such a sisterhood clan? Fine, probably, if you had your own superbrothers to be close with. (Neglected, if you didn't.) We already sometimes bemoan that our SO's are too hung up on their own families to pay attention to us. In this scenario, where they magically get 100 new supersiblings, who empathize with them like no-one else can, we - their spouses and tennis partners - would notice an immediate drop in our ranking of relative importance to them. The survival of such communities when contact/relocation is a possibility would require that its members have a psychology which is radically different from human. I think they would be unrecognizable within weeks. Or so it seems to me.
That synchronization of cells of people sounds like what was attempted in China's cultural revolution, Pol Pot's Cambodia and today's North Korea. My feeling about it is I prefer the failings of individuality over the successes of collectivism. Why, I even wrote a book about the good and bad of individuality taken as far as possible.
I can see areas of cooperation and areas of competition. People would be interested in whatever their doubles learned that might be applicable and important while being reserved about disclosing issues that might put them at disadvantage. I see no interest in synchronizing though I think much would occur as more successful approaches spread throughout the communities. The amount of interaction may diminish over time as the novelty wears off and there is less to be learned and less is applicable to unique circumstances and where the actions of others can be internalized and predicted without need of interaction. Their focus would not be differentiation but adaptation to their specific circumstances to be most successful. Fashions would be highly synchronized but each would continue to explore on their own. Twins will often mimic but frequently avoid direct competition and instead seek complementation.
OK, but the question here is about synchronization and tracking, not talking.
Our tendencies are highly context-specific, but we are judged as though they are unconditional (attribution bias). With one long life, I can more accurately weigh the costs and benefits of responses. With many short lives, I must either act suboptimally in particular contexts or suffer undue reputational harm.
I seek out people like me to interact with, so why not a group like me? So, yes, I'd seek them out. Besides, it would be interesting talking to a copy of myself.
People generally try manage what other people know about them - who has access to important secrets. Living a hundred times longer, I would still be able to do that. But with copies, it would be harder - if my copies and I didn't coordinate carefully, I could end up with a total stranger knowing me (via one of my copies) uncomfortably well.
A thought experiment: given the choice would most people prefer to create new individuals that are semi-random combinations of the traits of two (more than two is also technically possible) "parents" (so equialent to making babies, with genetic screening), or to create copies of themselves? An EM-society could choose to reproduce in such a semi-random fashion if it wanted to, couldn't it and it might spur more innovative thinking?
"but the question here is based on assuming that you have agreed."
The issue then becomes whether or not assuming the person has agreed to copying is a non-negligible case of selection bias (wrt. personality types).