The emergence of digital technologies may generate a new type of social entity - the virtual self. The virtual self is an image of an individual formed as a composite of multiple digital information sources, including medical, educational, criminal, credit, or military databases, electronic mail, and relay chats. The human ability to engage or suspend disbelief when interacting with a virtual representation may be a key component in the acceptance of the virtual self as a social entity. Implied in the concept of engagement is the idea that the suspension of disbelief is temporary; however, the effects of the virtual self on an individual will be present beyond the temporal constraints of the computer session itself. The set of virtual selves referencing a specific individual forms a digital individual - a multidimensional representation of the original person. The digital individual can function as a proximate representation of a human being - a digital shadow - raising serious issues of privacy.
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