Best Friend Sophtware
Best Friend
Image from Bernd Helfert
Many types of artificial companion sophtware are available throughout the Terragen Sphere, and are used for a variety of different uses. These entities are often known as Best Friends, and are created using detailed psychological assessments of the target's preferences and needs. The Best Friend sophtware is tailored to respond to the target's requirements, and may be an entirely virtual entity, a robotic symaiote or a biobot familiar, or the sophtware can be integrated into a artificial body of the same clade as the target. Best Friends are often fully sophont, but a significant fraction of this type of entity are user-friendly vots or robots with interfaces that can mimic sophonce very closely.

For modosophonts who are required to spend long periods of time alone (in sparsely populated systems oort clouds or interstellar space), Best Friends are invaluable as a strategy to reduce loneliness, erratic behavior or mission drift.

Best Friends are often used by third parties to influence the behaviour or development of the target, often providing physical, intellectual and/or spiritual support and guidance, and reinforcing desirable behavioural characteristics. Many Best Friend variants are used for more dubious or morally-ambivalent purposes, often associated with memegineering; a Best Friend may steer the target towards certain types of consumption, induce brand loyalty or reinforce the political, philosophical or religious beliefs favoured by the third party. One particularly devious strategy is to place the Best Friend in danger, or threaten its welfare in some other way, to exert pressure on the target. This strategy can significantly alter the target's behaviour, but is illegal in most legislations.

Best Friends are distinct from companion entities designed for sexual purposes, most of which are erotobot or erotovot in nature. Such amorous companion-entities may also be used by outside agencies to influence the target in various ways (a practice which also proscribed or severely limited in most polities).
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
from an original idea by Michael Beck
Initially published on 21 September 2000.