I've received several mails asking for clarification on the recent posts about New Eden Operators and their relationship to pod pilot clones.
"And all the science, I don't understand. It's just my job five days a week." - Rocket Man
Space travel in New Eden has become very popular. However, no fully functional and sane human being would submit to the rigors and almost certain death sentence it entails (especially since the development of pod piloting, the human-machine interface technique of operating spacecraft). The development of pod piloting and the horrific, albeit efficient, life that results, led to the development of cloning techniques for the use of clones as pod pilots.
Clones were hyped as a way for space pilots to achieve immortality, but that propaganda failed once it became clear that the original subject died at the moment consciousness was transferred to a clone. It also didn't work out to use fully functional (mentally speaking) clones as they were prone to reject the idea of a life sentence of living in a pod. The brevity of life as a pod pilot was also unappealing.
Then, the corporate scientists that developed the cloning techniques, consciousness transfer, and clone-ship interface took things a step further. They realized that two things could be done with the clones that solve the normal human problems - the clones could receive whatever mental level and content the corporation desired and the neural-machine interface could be used to control the clone remotely. Clones could be created and controlled to serve as humanoid-cybernetic servants. They could be completely controlled via a relatively simple computer interface. In other words, they could and did become the space pawns of computer Operators like myself. No muss, no fuss.
The clones that today serve as pod pilots have no independent life. They are completely under our control apart from a wide variety of automated functions and do nothing important without our having commanded them via our computer interface. When we log off of the interface the clones go dormant until we log on again (dormant except for the ongoing process of acquiring new skills through a neural upload).
It seems harsh to treat clones as so easily disposable, but space is harsh and not for the risk averse. If Operators were not somewhat cavalier about the clones in their ship pods, it's likely very few would undock.
A final note for this post regarding faster than light communications for Operators.
If you saw the interface Operators use to command pod pilot clones, you'd be surprised to know that it's not real-time video. What we see is reconstructed information transmitted by camera drones. Live video is apparently too bulky to transmit, so the information is boiled down to essentials and reconstructed at our terminals. Yes, it looks a bit game-like, but generally does the job. Some find it strange that we don't have a through-the-window POV of the ship we are controlling through our pod clone, but you get used to it quickly.