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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Ditto Blank  
  A mentally unformed android, upon which a personality could be impressed.  

We cruised beyond the main portal, then on past sheltered loading docks, shipping machinery like freezers, imprinting units and kilns. Most of the ditto blanks that people buy are made elsewhere, but I did glimpse some specialty items as we swept by - rigid figures dimly visible inside translucent packing crates, some of them uncannily tall, or gangly, or shaped like animals out of some legend. Not everyone can handle being imprinted into a non-standard human shape, but I hear it's a growing fashion among trendsetters.
From Kiln People, by David Brin.
Published by Tor in 2002
Additional resources -

Thanks to Moomintroll for suggesting this item.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Kiln People
  More Ideas and Technology by David Brin
  Tech news articles related to Kiln People
  Tech news articles related to works by David Brin

Ditto Blank-related news articles:
  - Futurist Gets Around To Digital Immortality

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