Computronium Bell-curve Theory
Controversial theory that, as sophonts ascend the toposophic scale, the volume of computronium ey need for each successive ascension gradually levels-off and eventually becomes negative (yielding a bell-shaped curve), as the sophont discovers newer, more efficient modes of thought and denser computing substrates which require lower volumes (not necessarily less mass) of computronium.
Support for this theory comes from the observation that entities of intermediate toposophic levels that are created whole-cloth by higher toposophic entities (who presumably have access to more advanced and greatly miniaturized technology that even a sophant of the level ey are creating might not be able understand), usually have more compact substrates and use less computronium (volume-wise) than entities of the same toposophic level who initially ascended from lower levels.
According to this theory, the star-spanning archailects occupying Jupiter or Dyson-sized nodes represent the middle of the scale (the "top" of the bell-shaped curve where the volume of computronium required is greatest, but the toposophic level actually intermediate), while still higher-toposophic entities occupy progressively smaller and more compact substrates composed of ever more exotic technology.
Though many agree with the basic idea of this theory some claim it is based on the precept that the hardware of the S:4 and higher sophonts may be smaller but the surrounding infrastructure might be more voluminous. For example, S:4 and higher processors are alleged to involve hard-to-predict spikes in energy consumption, which require the use of dyson spheres or other higher power energy generation systems.
Text by Mike Parisi, additional material by Dagon
Initially published on 22 January 2004.
Updated November 23, 2017 by Todd Drashner