[ExI] Smallest human-equivalent device

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Fri Oct 11 03:35:56 UTC 2013

On Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 3:37 PM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 09, 2013 at 12:16:05PM -0700, Keith Henson wrote:
>> > From: Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
>> > How many Eugens could you fit in the head of a pin (make it a sphere
>> > 3/16 inch diameter)?
>> 27 years ago Eric Drexler worked this out and got around a 10 cm cube
>> "volume of a coffee cup" for a human capacity hardware.  With enough
>> power and cooling it would run a million times faster than a meat
>> state human.
> Nanosystems uses an engineering analysis based on diamond rod logic.
> Deliberately conservatively, in order to be easy analyzable. There
> are a few problematic assumptions there as well. So it is an answer,
> but not an exhaustive one.

### I am surprised that the estimate is so, well, bulky. 1 liter
volume is very close to actual human brain volume and I simply don't
believe our brain is anywhere near the limits of miniaturization.

There should be large improvements just from removing metabolism from
the brain. Human brain already does a little bit of that: Neurons
offload a lot of their metabolism (i.e. energy generation) onto glia
through lactate exchange. Instead of using a lot of real estate to
extract all chemical energy from glucose, neurons do a quick-and-dirty
glycolysis and let the glia pick up the pieces, allowing the neural
cytoplasm to do more computationally relevant chemistry, such as
processing of neurotransmitters, adjustment of synaptic strength, etc.

A designed neuromorphic device would be fed energy in a highly
computation-friendly form (DC current, light) just like today's
computers rather than using chemical precursors like our brain does,
and that alone should bring the volume down by a large percentage.


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