The egomorph should not be confused with an informorph. While technically similar, there are profound differences. With the advances we've made in psychotronics, and understanding not just the human brain, but the very nature of the soul and human thought, it is possible to create a flash copy of a human mind. Impressive, yes, but not what people think it is. For a time, it was thought that this would be the way to immortality, to copy the organic brain, to translate it into a new receptacle, be it an artificial brain, or a new wetware unit.
This was quite simply not the case. The brain is a complex organ, and capturing the fullness of it's function is still not quite within the grasp of humanity. The flash copy is effectively a picture of a person's thoughts at the time of capture. These thoughts can be placed into a cybernetic cortex and will function as a lesser form of infomorph. Yes, all egomorphs are informorphs, but only infomorphs created from brain copies are egomorphs.
I wish I had a clone...
It is common for people to wish that they had more time, or a clone, or a double to help out with the things that needed to be done in their lives. In the Cosmic Era, a number of attempts were made to address this. The Hitome Unit and later domestic autons were created to fulfill domestic and household needs, ranging from cooking and cleaning, to personal companionship and everything inbetween. This was only moderately successful, as the machines inhabited the uncanny valley, and attempts were made to either make the machines inseparable from human, or to reduce them down to being humanoid without being human. Attempts varied in success, and the machines retain the basic flaw of high initial cost, long term maintenance, and anti-robotic sentiment.
Cloning exists, and was in vogue for a quite a while. This created it's own cornucopia of problems as clones were living, breathing, sentient beings, and could not be treated with the same manners as the machines previously attempted. Rather than a solution, cloning created a new caste of humanity, one that has had a mixed relationship with it's creator. Later attempts were made to address the multiple identities created from alpha level cloning, such as the Vingian array. This created psyche dissonance as a composite identity is something that the human brain was never intended to be part of.
The first Egomorph was an accident.
The First EgoMorph
The flash copy of a human mind was not new, and had been the basis of creating new CogNet programs and synthetic intelligence for decades before the creation of the first egomorph. An arcanotechnician struggling through a dimension science problem wanted to talk to himself concerning an issue with her theory. She used a cerebrograph to capture a flash copy of her mind and uploaded it into a MUSE tablet. The experiment was a partial success as she was able to conversate with a copy of herself, but the translation was incomplete. Gone were the nuances of posture, the use of hands and facial expression, and such. Frustrated, the tech linked her muse to an expy in the shop, as if she were using her tablet to surrogate the auton. The MUSE linked to the expy and created quite by accident, the first egomorph. The expy did not have sentience or self awareness, but was able to act and communicate like the tech, and was more than capable of providing assistance in daily operations.
So What is an EgoMorph?
An egomorph is quite simply a copy of a person's mind placed in a cheap expy auton. This bypasses the high cost of traditional autons and replicas, as well as avoiding the moral implications of clones. The egomorph becomes an extension of the person who created it, and can anticipate what the actual person wants, because they are a copy of the actual person, but lacking actual ego or self awareness.
To What Purpose?
Egomorphs are cheap companions when the only person you like is yourself. The egomorph shares the same skillset, and with a little time and skillsoft chips, an egomorph can be made to be as good at something as the actual, or better. This is all done on the cheap, with a egomorph equipped expy being the equivalent of a compact car, or electric, where the standard issue surrogate auton, or domestic droid is comparable to a mid range car in terms of cost.
There are major differences, the level of sophistication available for an expy is low, and the quality of an egomorph is variable. An expy has no biological simulation, they are nothing but machines with a human shape. Thus, they are prone to be a tad glitchy, pick up quirks and idiosyncrasies with alarming ease, and require frequent debugging and updating on the egomorph program itself. This largely keeps the cost cutting machine out of the public service sector, and out of high end industrial applications. Standard automation can do the same menial tasks with no software issues, and dedicated autons are better suited to public human interaction.
Egomorphs are typically used by technophiles, roboticists, home inventors, surrogate advocates, and those who haven't made the social and financial commitment to a full auton partner or domestic keeper.
Troop Squad - A gifted shadowrunner has taken the time to take a number of wojeks and modify them to carry egomorphs. These machines are now equipped with copies of his mind and they are a ruthless hit squad known for high collateral damage and infiltrating police operations. The squad moves with impeccable precision, and the clinical accuracy of robots with guns. The PCs have to take him out, hire him as back up, or are hired by said one man commando team as support.
Celebrities are Extra - Someone is stealing celebrity flash scans, and using them to create egomorphs. The egomorphs are being sold on the black market for a variety of uses, ranging from the simple star-stalking ways of super fans to more exploitative uses, such as simulated kidnapping, terror memes, and extorting personal information from the egomorph. There is concern that this could be done to government or corporate VIPs, or even sensitive personnel. The PCs are brought in to support or take out the celebrity puppetmaster.
Instant Backup - Having someone you can trust is a big deal in the Cosmic Era, and who can you trust but yourself? Egomorphs are useful for back up, personal advise, and just to generally have around.