• Member Since 22nd Apr, 2014
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DEI Caboose


When Starlight Glimmer and Twilight Sparkle conduct an experiment into the inherent properties of magical duplications, both end up with far more then they bargained for when one such embodiment of Twilight's own image starts to show an unprecedented level of unique understanding and self preservation. The copy is alive when by all definition it shouldn't be, and Twilight and Staright must discover a solution while the duplicate continues to contemplate the nature of its existence and identity.

Featured 08/05/16

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 51 )

I like the premise. Totes tracking this.

I have been looking for a story kinda like this: I Forgot I was There by GaPJaxie

Now there is one! Can't wait to see how this story plays out!

I like how twilight is smart for having done something smart, but not so smart for thinking about the possible consequences only a meh amount

Is spike at that angsty age
I would be too if my mom/sister ignored me

Oh I'm so gonna follow this.

very well written can't wait to see the next chapter adding this to my favorites and giving it a like

Oh Jesus Christ. I'm not usually the one to be pessimistic, but how can you not see something wrong with creating sapient life, only to have it snuffed out mere moments later?

I don't normally read drama, but this was very well done.

'Ave a like and a fave.

This needs to be featured!

Ah yes...

Lets see what life is :pinkiehappy:

Well, there was that whole clone incident. If ponies think you're a philosophical zombie, hello laser to the face.

7452296 Twilight must of skipped all her philosophy and magical ethics classes back at Celestia's School. :rainbowlaugh:

Yup, the fully sapient version of yourself wouldn't have any issue with an expiration date, no-siree.

Huh. Seems like both Starlight and Twilight are having critical thinking failures. They keep saying they're not duplicating "bad" ponies, but, well, bad is very subjective. For instance, Starlight nearly destroyed Equestria and did her utmost to ruin Twilight's life through time travel, but now she is a "good" pony because she's sorry. They also aren't thinking about the fact that very few beings start out "bad"-I doubt foal Sombra thought, growing up, that he wanted to psychologically torture and enslave the Crystal Ponies. Continuing on this, they're not even contemplating how a literal expiration date on a fully sentient being might affect them-or what it might steps a duplicate might take to keep from expiring.

Frankly, it sounds like one of three things: both Starlight and Twilight need to review the ethics of creating entirely new life only to have it die later on, they're enabling one another with a lack of thought to particular morals that are really necessary in this sort of situation unless you're wanting some sort of revolt, or Equestrian morals are just weird, and creating sentient life only to essentially kill it after a while isn't a "bad" thing.

Personally, I'd bet on the latter more than the other two if you simply look at how they treat villains in the series-those who regret are fully redeemed and even forgiven no matter their crimes, and those who don't are still enemies/locked away for centuries and/or blasted by a rainbow laser of doom.

The 8/5 feature is just the 'popular story just updated' sort that lasts a few hours. The bottom 3 are like this, it's the top ones that are the multiple day / week feature thing.

7454343 7454990
Technically speaking, something I just thought about whilst reading these comments: but don't we all sort of have an expiration date? :duck:

7454990 In regards to the expiration of the duplicates and Twilight and Starlight's apparent lack of care towards it, I like to think that they're kind of disillusioned towards the whole thing, seeing what there doing as just harmless magic experiments and not really focusing on the long term consequences of what they're doing. I think Twilight killing a bunch of Pinkie clones and her general lack of forward thinking when using magic (Lesson Zero, Magical Mystery Cue, etc) shows that she doesn't always take into account the repercussions of her actions as well as she should, which will be addressed next time.

Spike, growing rather confused by the narrative, run a claw through his spines. “I don't know, those Pinkie’s seemed pretty free thinking to me!” “Well it was Pinkie Pie so anything is possible!” Starlight’s comment drove the group to laugh

What the hell? Why are they laughing? Just the mere possibility that those Pinkies may have been sentient cutesy of Pinkie's weirdness has horrifying implications-Twilight may very well have inadvertently murdered dozens of fully sentient Pinkie Pies. Hell, in other fics I've seen this brought up and everyone was horrified by the mere possibility, even if it was an incredibly low chance. This is just weird and...yeah, I can't think of a justification for why they're laughing here.

“I was wondering, if you make a magical copy of yourself that's able to feel, think and knows everything you do. Doesn't it know that after it runs out of magic it's going to… Vanish?”

His words stung...

“How could I be so stupid?” Twilight murmured out in disbelief, gripping her mane with her left foreleg, yanking at its roots. “Granting a manifestation sentience! What was I thinking! I'm an idiot! What have I done?”

There we go. You would think one of them would have thought of this well beforehand-hell, I know it was one of the first things I thought of-but better late than never.

“No time. Help me.”

:twilightoops: Yikes-only two possibilities here, as far as I can see-either Twilight helps her duplicate live on somehow and lives with the consequences of creating another version of herself who cannot do hardly any of her life's greatest passions-magic-and dealing the ramifications of there now being two Twilights in the world, or original Twilight is unable to help and has to watch her duplicate-a full, thinking being with hopes and dreams-slowly die and fade away.

Yeah, no matter what happens this is going to have serious ramifications and likely be just a little traumatizing for all involved.

I'm not sure who I feel worse for, Twilight or dupli-Twilight; probably the former, since no matter the outcome she's going to be the one stuck living with the consequences. :twilightoops:

At a guess I'd hazard Original Recipe Twi will try to find some way to plug New Coke Twi into her magic reserves.

I've been working on and pondering a theory of consciousness lately. This story (and too-many Pinkie Pies) poses exactly the kind of question that one has to deal with when addressing the subject. Here's the question that I think is a very useful tool for getting to the root of the matter: If an alien gave you a working consciousness detector, how would it work?

Consider your brain. It is a bunch of particles, a few quarks and photons, electrons and neutrinos. The universe doesn't operate on a level higher than that. A particle doesn't know if it is part of an apple or a rock or dense star or free-floating in space. It has 6 values that are conserved such as mass, momentum, color (the physics kind), spin, etc. Somehow, certain arrangements cause consciousness. This consciousness is like music vs a sculpture. If you see a sculpture you can remember it instantly. Music requires time to recall enjoy-- it lives in the 4th dimension so to speak, while the sculpture lives in 3 dimensions. Your consciousness is like music in that it flows forward. Time seems important to the question of consciousness, so if we plot a particle forward in the 4th dimension of time it would appear as a line, and any moment is a slice of that line which appears as a dot. A brain would look like a tangle of spaghetti rather than a line. The detector would probably need to measure an area over time to determine if a consciousness existed. What is it about that tangle of spaghetti (brain particles) that is different than a dead brain? The tangle complexity? Put a dead brain in a blender and the particle location changes in more complicated ways than a living brain. Another organ such as a liver has essentially all of the same particle movement (particle-spaghetti would look the same) as a brain, but it isn't considered conscious (one hopes). The brain has the ability to store and manipulate data. But so would any number of things, such as the internet or a computer. If a computer could be made to be conscious, could the math that the CPU does be done on paper and also result in consciousness? If the program is run over and over again, and since computers cant really make true random numbers, would it live the same life every time you ran it? Or just one life regardless of how many times you ran it? If a computer could be conscious, how could the alien consciousness detector be triggered by both the computer and a brain? There's almost nothing in common as far as the particles are concerned.

I could go on and on. A great example is this: Once in the 70s two chess masters played an amazing game. One beat the other against all odds, with no good pieces and it blew people's minds. Think of that game of chess as a story-- The story of the "amazing game". You can watch a video of the game. You can read about the game in chess books that spell it out in chess-move-notation. You can watch it played on your computer. You can play it yourself with wood pieces, plastic pieces, or metal pieces. The story is the same story. By the way computers use a sort of 'recursion' method to play chess by quickly playing all possible moves for X moves into the future and picking the one that they figure has the best odds of winning. They sort of simulate a multiverse and pick which one to manifest. So here's the thing... When did the amazing game (A story) first come into existence? In the 1970s when it was first actually played? Or did it exist as one of the possible games resulting from the rules of chess? Did it come into existence when the rules of chess were invented since all possible games (stories) lie within the rules? But the rules of chess result from the rules of physics which created the brain of the guy that invented chess rules. It seems that the universe is probably simply a mathematical structure. Or a set of rules. A meme, so to speak. Nothing actually exists any more than a chess game actually exists. Its just a concept, an interaction of rules like a game of chess.

So perhaps consciousness is just a point of view in a story that results from some kind of rules. The question is, how does one create that point of view, and is it even possible to detect it from outside (the imaginary alien detector). Now we come to the point. Perhaps it isn't possible to know if something is conscious because its a point of view and there's nothing to detect. Find me five pounds of point-of-view! Or laughter or sadness! Only consciousness knows that a bunch of particles is an apple, rock, star, or space dust because it generates a story based on incoming signals from the senses and creates a little symbolic understanding of the universe in the mind. A setting for the story so to speak. After all, what we don't really KNOW whats outside our skulls. You know there's a tree in the yard but you couldn't describe every branch from memory-- Its just stored as a quick description that relies on other descriptions and so on. And thats the universe our points of view actually live in. Were the Pinkie clones sentient? I think they clearly were. Twilight's test was stupid and if anything probably simply detected less mature minds rather than unthinking NPC brains. Perhaps the simplest test is to see if the Pinkies had self-preservation instincts and go with that. They did.

Anyhow, lets see what happens in this story. My guess is you have the beginnings of an arch evil mage that learns that she needs to eat a whole unicorn worth of magic per day to stay alive. Tirek but its not optional for her-- A matter of life and death. She'll skulk the streets and burn the horn off of a unicorn per day until they're so rare she has to burn out the flying magic of 10 pegasi per day to keep it going. Eventually Equestria is drained of most magical creatures and she ends up about to vanish, and as she does, she realizes that nothingness is painless and she needn't have feared this whole time.

Calling that the next chapter's name is "I Feel"

Wouldn't "I am" make more sense?

7457585 It all depends on how you think about it. They all kept referring to the clone as if it didn't have feelings that's why I thought it would be "I Feel". But no matter, you were right.

It is tough nowadays, what with the canon show having a physical God around to be a deus ex machina for a weak writer.

Regardless, I really do like this story, and await whatever solution is presented.

Why do I get the feeling Starlight is referring to cutie mark magic?

Is the solution... Non-volatile storage?

How do we even know that it's actually conscious of itself? Maybe it just thinks it is? How do we know that its ‘free-thinking’ isn't just it acting like you would?

And Starlight has just discovered the problem of "I". Because the only person you know is real is yourself. Unless, of course, you're just being made to think so. :pinkiecrazy:

Twi could I suppose borrow all the other alicorns' magic again, and charge her up with that. They could imprison New Coke Twi in stone until they find a solution. The Elements might work, assuming they possess the regenerative properties fan-theory gives them. They could travel back in time and stop themselves from performing the experiment in the first place...

7457759 Discord's easy; he's just never around when you want him. :rainbowlaugh:

“I may have a solution,” Starlight began, her frown deepening upon her next words. “But I don't think you're going to like it.”

My first assumption when I read this several hours ago was some form of Necromancy as the quintessential magical "you're not going to like it," option, but then I realized something, in that special way you can only do while half-awake and focusing on something completely unrelated to the subject at hand.
She skipped a step.
Twilight made a pony, but it's not stable because she skipped a step very important the creation of new ponies. And the reason she's "not going to like it," is because it's a very long, drawn-out, uncomfortable step in the proper creation of new ponies that many who undertake the task often wish they could skip entirely, especially the part at the end:twilightoops:.

i wanna read about that clone twilight please?

I enjoyed this a lot.

ending was disappointing.

The end reminded me of this:

That was a really good story. A nice little commentary on what the definition of "life" really means.

I stand corrected.

Wow... That was really amazing, you really made a great story!

You know... You could make the sequel where Twilight makes an Ultron like character, that would be very cool.

No strings on me!

7461433 Ok after thinking for a while...

This story feels like Mewtwo! I mean come on it just has the feelings of the origin story for MewTwo in the movie.

I was half-expecting it to turn out that Twiclone knew that the idea wouldn't work and was just getting out of sight so Twiriginal wouldn't see her fade away, so I'm glad that didn't happen. :rainbowlaugh:

I'm left wondering if Twi will continue to work on a means to permanently sustain projections like this; I assume she would, given her decision at the end. I also wonder what the long-term effects of Everfree magic will be on Twiclone...

Overall I liked it! It's a poignant reminder to think before you act. :twilightsmile:

Edit: So... what happens if Twiclone trips and falls into the Mirror Pond? :twilightoops:

Okay. I read this over, and the premise started out as interesting, but the follow through left much to be desired. Reading about Twilight needing to recharge her duplicate every few hours made me believe that a comparison would be made to having and raising a child and taking responsibility. We don't see any of that.

The cover art lead me to believe the copy would turn evil or something. Oh well. Great story. Thought provoking and well written, barring a few typos. Good job!

Beautiful work! Have a like and fave!

I love stories that focus on things like personal identity and what a life really is.

Copy Twilight: Goodbye, Twilight. Goodbye, Starlight. Maybe our paths will cross again someday. *walks off into the Everfree Forest*

Twilight: Look at her go. Free in a world of her own kind where she can finally reach the full potential... *a manticore pops out and eats the Twilight Copy* Oh my God! She got eaten by a manticore!

This sounds interesting.

What else could it be?

:facehoof: Just so much :facehoof:

I would expect the magic in the manticore would be drained into the clone and split the beast into a bat, lion and scorpion with the clone just fine afterwards

I am pretty sure you’re thinking of sapient and not sentient, though at this point the clone would be closer to sentient. Sentient means that something is aware, while sapient is self aware (note: this is very much a simplification, so take it with a grain of salt).

On the topic of random numbers, just like computers, brains are unable to create true random numbers. In fact, the brain is just a extremely complex computer, built from a eight dimensional neural network (according to the latest study of the human brain, that I know of). However, there’s a lot of other factors that come into play, like DNA, RNA, and hormones. We have created self learning programs for a long time now, however, the real thing that people are interested in creating is a network that can both learn by itself, and by being taught. So far we have only been able to create one or the other. Our most impressive self learning programs are referred to as Deep Learning, which is a improvement from Machine Learning. I recommend you look it up, it’s rather interesting!

“She still has some time left,” Twilight said, her grin everlasting. “Besides, how else do you explain seeing another me outside your room? The copy being responsible is the only rational explanation, Spike! We have created a sentient pony!”

Only rational explanation? Did changelings not happen? Do illusions or transformative magics not exist? Use your head, Dumb Dumb; there are plenty of explanations before you discovered your clone was gone...

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