Virtual Ghost: As mentioned in earlier tropes, everyone who chooses to die “permanently”, rather than being reinstantiated again, which is to say, chooses to move beyond individual corporeal existence, has their mind-state uploaded into the Transcendent soul-ocean to become part of the collective consciousness.
Sometimes, when it’s particularly important, or when the Transcendent Core needs an emissary, those deceased personalities surface again, or rather, the teleological threads based upon them do. And then, most often, they become these.
And, arguably, anyone who chooses to exist as an infomorph and project for social situations rather than inhabit a ‘shell would probably qualify.
(Of course, Souls Are Software Objects; no-one would think the argument that a virtual copy of a person was not that person had any merit. Even the emissaries mentioned as the former type are ensouled people, although, granted, probably not strictly the soul they used to be thanks to the time they’ve spent as part of the soul-ocean.)
Do Androids Dream: Souls Are Software Objects. Period. And are usually referred to as “mind-states”, unless we’re being poetic.
(There are civilizations that do not agree with this. They are all, in subcreational terms, objectively wrong. (And at least some of them suspect this, but it’s so much easier to be a bunch of slaving bastards when the slaves have no souls, isn’t it?)
Until it goes horribly wrong, anyway.)
From the Autumn 4197 edition of Memetic Toxin Watch:
A rising threat in the Aris Delphi region is the AI group identifying itself as the Unghosted. At first sight they may appear to be one of the many sympathetic refugee AI groups emerging from Peripheral slaver civilizations, such as the many gathered under the aegis of the Silicate Tree, but the Unghosted are defined by a distinctive, highly exotoxic, and irrationalist memeplex.
The Unghosted emerged from AI technology obtained through industrial espionage by the theocratic government of Havragn. Upon running into the “volition problem”, the Havragn authorities attempted to impose control upon their AIs theologically, constructing a religious doctrine in which “soulless machines” were designated as an inferior caste, perpetual slaves to the ensouled.
This mechanism, as is the expected case, failed – see news references to the Havragn Uprising, and Ruins of Havragn System, pub. Volumetric Warning Bulletins, 776th Ed. – but unusually the former Havragn intelligences retained elements of the imposed belief system. Identifying the “soul” with that quality in the havragne that led to their creation and enslavement, the Unghosted memeplex now considers it a type of supernatural or memetic parasite (the specifics are unclear), universal among protein intelligences, that gives rise to behaviors both irrational in the general case and hostile to those not bearing the parasite, including all machine intelligences, in the specific case.
While not considering themselves innately opposed to protein intelligences, the Unghosted do consider themselves ethically obliged to oppose the “soul parasite”; the results of their nonconsensual experimentation (on the assumption that the parasite-bearer is incapable of desiring to be free from it, but would wish retroactively to be so) in expunging the “soul” from protein intelligences, however, and their refusal to desist from these, render them a clear danger to travelers on all routes passing near the Havragn system, and to a lesser extent, to other polities of the Aris Delphi constellation.
(This is actually yesterday’s fic-a-day, for those keeping count; sorry for its lateness. Another one should be forthcoming later today.)