Here's how Rudy outlines the idea himself:
The idea, which is fairly familiar by now, is that you might be able to emulate a person if you have a really large database on what they’ve written, done, and said. And if it’s SF, then we add some AI to the lifebox so it’s an intelligent mind.
I care not at all about emulation, but the gathering and development of that "really large database" does appeal.