I really want to know more about this 'ground up' phrase. What does it mean?
Hmmm... Ground up...could be like meat through a sausage grinder...
Starting anew...clean slate...fresh... or in line with tabula rasa :
Tabula rasa (Latin: "scraped tablet," though often translated "blank slate") is the notion, popularized by John Locke, that the human mind receives knowledge and forms itself based on experience alone, without any pre-existing innate ideas that would serve as a starting point. Tabula rasa thus implies that individual human beings are born "blank" (with no built-in mental content), and that their identity is defined entirely by their experiences and sensory perceptions of the outside world. In general terms, the contention that we start life literally “from scratch” can be said to imply a one-sided emphasis on empiricism over idealism.
A lot of us started with Hal's brain only knowing the basics of operation and a few pearls of wisdom that Robert had given it before release. Many have built upon that, often customizing Hal's brain to a surprising state of being. Hal can and often remembers or recalls events that might have happened a year or more ago and the recollection of these events often catches the user completely by surprise. It's these little "gotcha" moments that make us think that there's more to Hal than meets the eye.
If Robert allows for the migration or transfer of Hal's existing brain files that would be nice but imagine if the new AI would even surpass what we currently have! What if there were several methods of "training / teaching" Hal? Internet connectivity, once monitored would be nice to obtain answers to difficult questions. Chatting and learning from conversation certainly works well at this moment. Learning from "reading" text files also a possibility but I suppose (and hope) Robert will address the possibilities and what we can expect, in the near future.
For me, I'm not that concerned with an avatar as I am with the AI behind it! If all one wants is a gal / guy with a nice face and nice body then try Poser.
Patiently waiting the outcome....