[ExI] SF - cyberspace and utopian narratives for meatless bodies

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Sat Feb 11 14:21:48 UTC 2012

On 11 February 2012 07:43, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:

> Maybe this isn't important.  People went around the earth when it took
> years.

We may have already had this discussion before, but I think that if we
should take contemporary IT as a good enough metaphor of intelligence in
general,  "hierarchical structure" is the answer to "latency" and "scarce

I am not persuaded that there is any real limit to acceptable latency,
given that any arbitrary computational node speaks anyway very quickly with
neighbouring nodes, no matter how "distant" it may be from an arbitrary
"centre", so the rationale to connect three of them is not so different
from having the last one added in a row of 10^10 of them.

This simply means that "long-distance calls" are reduced as much as
possible in favour of local computation and data caching.

Take for instance the contemporary scenario, where we have at one extreme
the internal working of registers of single processing unit, then the
processor with its internal cache(s), then your possibly multiprocessor
board with its RAM, then (virtual?) clusters thereof, then perhaps a
configuration such as folding at home where possible latency already may
measure in weeks - much higher than what would exist in a ideal, optimised
star-sized computronium sphere.

But even in organic brains I suspect that most computations already take
place at a "local" level, with neurons firing neighbouring neurons in a
limited area, rather than involving the entire system, as the latter
solution would pointlessly degrade the overall performance of the same.

Stefano Vaj
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