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Toposophic Level and Brain Size

Processing Substrate Parameters, from Modosophont level to the Third Singularity

Transapient Brain Infographic 2
Image from Arik

Terragen civilization is inhabited by a vast diversity of intelligent beings possessing myriad levels and types of mind. Ancestral humans of pre-Information Age Old Earth could be confident of being roughly equal in intelligence and capability to all of their peers, based simply on the fact of their shared humanity. A sophont in the modern era faces a much more complex set of considerations.

Intelligence in the modern galaxy may be based on organic or inorganic substrates. It may be naturally evolved, genetically engineered, or designed from the atoms up for a specific purpose or with specific abilities emplaced either by itself or its creator. It may be of any of seven toposophic levels (S0-S6) or may be of one S-level in most regards but with specific, engineered toposophic (or transavant) 'spikes' in particular areas of intelligence or ability. It may be concentrated (operating within a single processing node), distributed (operating across many processing nodes), virtual, or corporeal. Finally, it will almost certainly possess, or eventually possess, the experience and accumulated knowledge gained from centuries or millennia of contact with the titanic and ever-expanding mass of information that permeates and inter-connects the Civilized Galaxy.

In considering all the variables that may characterize a given intelligence within the known galaxy, the factors that are often taken into account are:

What is the processing substrate of the entity concerned?
What is the entity's toposophic level?
What is the origin of the entity?
If engineered or created, what was the S-level of the originating entity or entities?

Often known colloquially as The Rule of 3.5, these factors (if known or accurately determined) can often aid a sophont in gaining a basic idea of what sort of being it may be dealing with in a given interaction. Depending on the situation and available information, the order in which each factor is considered, and the degree to which it is considered, can often vary widely. The influence of each of these factors is explained below:

What is the entity's processing substrate?

When considering a given sophont, the material that its brain is constructed from can often provide insight into the likely scope and range of capabilities the being may possess. Substrate type can often determine the size, speed, memory storage, waste heat output, and likely durability of a sophont's brain. In addition, certain substrates can only be created or used by entities at or above a certain toposophic level.

What is the entity's toposophic level?

A being's toposophic level can have a very direct impact on the type and capability of its processing substrate. The majority of beings of a given S-level operate their minds on substrates that cannot be duplicated, or even fully comprehended, by sophonts of lower S-levels. At the same time, virtually all "naturally arising" sophonts of any toposophic level have originated using processing substrates that were far less capable than what the beings in question eventually develop for themselves.

When considering a given sophont, the toposophic level of that sophont can often provide insight into the likely size and type of processing substrate that the sophont may employ as well as its likely range of capabilities.

What is the entity's origin?

Sophonts may either evolve naturally or be created by other beings of equal or greater toposophic level. If a sophont has developed naturally or by its own efforts, or been engineered by others of equivalent S-level then experience has shown that the size and capabilities of the sophonts processing substrate will fall within well documented parameters depending on the sophonts S-level. If the sophont originates as a result of the work of a being or beings of a higher S-level, its processing substrate may be based on principles beyond its own comprehension and may be far smaller or more capable than anything the sophont could create by its own efforts. Nevertheless, if the toposophic level of the originating entity or entities can be determined, the parameters of the sophont's brain and abilities can again be estimated with a fairly high level of accuracy.

Storage of Mind-States

In addition to the techniques and technologies employed in operating a mind of a given toposophic level, many sophonts engage in the practice of recording and storing a record of their memories and mental activity. In the event that the being so recorded is somehow killed this recording, or Backup, may be used to "resurrect" the sophont in question and re-instantiate them into a replacement substrate to continue their existence.

Depending on the toposophic level of the technology supporting the process, the recording and storage substrates for a given S-level may vary widely in terms of size, fidelity, and environmental durability.

Transapient Brain Infographic
Image from Arik

S0 Near-Baseline Human

SubstrateNaturally evolved protoplasmic matrix consisting of hundreds of billions of electrochemical processing cells of various types. Uses a combiination of digital and analog computations to process sensory data from multiple input sources, regulate bodily functions, and support the mind-state of the near-baseline sophont.
Mass1.5 kg
Volume1500 cm3
DimensionsApprox 11.5 cm on a side if expressed as a cube
Speed1e18 bits/sec
Storage1e18 bits
Backup DataDimensions of backup modules: single molecular memory module 27 mm3 or approximately 3 mm on a side.

Total dimensions of backup module: Note that standard backups include triplicate copies of the user's mind state, as well as their biocode and body design to facilitate reconstruction. This increases the overall volume of a backup module to approximately 1 cm3


S0 Turingrade AI

SubstrateNanotech diamondoid processor matrix originally developed by late Information Age humanity, and refined over the intervening centuries to the present day. Uses nanoelectric processors and molecular memory to reproduce a modosophont level mind in a more compact and powerful substrate.
Mass1.2 kg
Volume343 cm3
DimensionsApproximately 7 cm on a side if expressed as a cube
Speed1e18 bits/sec (variable and individually controllable)
Storage1e18 bits
Backup DataDimensions of backup modules: single molecular memory module 27 mm3 or approximately 3 mm on a side.

Total dimensions of backup module: 91 mm3. Note that backup technology for turingrade cybernetic entities may include a design for a physical support matrix, but may not require as much data storage to characterize. For this reason AI Backup media, even allowing for multiple redundant copies, are generally less than half the size of biological equivalents.


S1 First singularity Hyperturing

SubstrateNanotechic diamondoid processor matrix developed by transapient level intelligences. Although superficially similar to modosophont designs, uses a variety of design and programming techniques that defy modosophont analysis and comprehension in most regards. These design enhancements permit a much greater than modosophont level of intelligence in a processor substrate that is comparatively only slightly larger. Similarly optimized biological equivalents to this processor are roughly 25% more massive and four times the volume of the diamondoid equivalent.
Mass55 kg
Volume15625 cm3
DimensionsApproximately 25 cm on a side
Speed1.56e22 bits/sec (variable and individually controllable)
Storage1.56e22 bits
Backup DataDimensions of backup module for a hyperturing: single molecular memory module 8814 mm3 or approximately 2.07 cm on a side.

Total dimensions of backup module: With standard Backup triple redundancy functions, total unit is approximately 3 cm on a side.
Modosophont equivalentsProcessing and storage substrates built with S1 technology but housing minds of lower S-level.

Turingrade AI/Modosophont Upload Processor: 1 cm3
Turingrade AI/Modosophont Backup: 0.6 mm3 or 0.85 mm on a side.


S2 Second Singularity High Transapient

SubstrateSecond Singularity intelligence is based upon the foundation of the so-called Ultimate Chip a diamondoid processor matrix of considerable power. While exact measurements are impossible to make, it is theorised that in general the portion of the S2 mind that is accessible to nearbaseline understanding displays an intelligence and range of capability perhaps 1e7 times that of a modosophont mind. The remainder of transapient processing capability is believed to be devoted to modes of thought and comprehension that have no modosophont equivalent.
Mass4,031 kg (not counting support structure)
Volume1,145,082 cm3 (not counting support structure)
DimensionsApproximately 50 m on a side including support structure
Speed5.1e27 bits/sec (variable and individually controllable
Storage5.1e27 bits
Backup DataUltimate Storage Unit Array: 10.65 m3 or approximately 2.2 m on a side.

Total dimensions of backup module: With standard Backup triple redundancy functions, total unit is approximately 3.2 m on a side.
Sub S2 EquivalentsProcessing and storage substrates built with S2 technology but housing minds of lower S-level.

S1 Processor/Backup: 3200 mm3 or 1.5 cm on a side. With triple redundancy functions, total unit is approximately 2.15 cm on a side

Note: due to storage limitations it requires approximately 32 Ultimate Chip units to successfully run an S1 mind.

Turingrade AI/Modosophont Processor/Backup: 2.05E8 um3 or 590 um on a side. With triple redundancy total unit is approximately 851 um on a side.


S3 Third Singularity Highest Transapient or Godling

SubstrateThird Singularity intelligences generally make use of a 'hot' Ultimate Chip array, usually arranged as a Moon Brain, although other designs (cf. Banks Orbital, Matrioshka Micro-node) are not uncommon. While exact measurements are impossible to make, it is theorised that in general the portion of the S3 mind that is accessible to nearbaseline understanding displays an intelligence and range of capability perhaps 1e11 times that of a modosophont mind. The remainder of transapient processing capability is believed to be devoted to modes of thought and comprehension that have no modosophont equivalent.
Mass7e21 kg
Volume3.35e10 km3
DimensionsApproximately 2000 km radius including support structure
Speed2.98e38 bits/sec (variable and individually controllable)
Storage1.64e45 bits
Communication Rate5.12e40 bits/sec
Backup DataAs of this writing, there are few confirmed instances of Third Singularity entities being resurrected from Backup. Credible reports of the destruction of such entities are extremely rare and in all cases were the result of the efforts of equal or higher toposophic entities, making the survival of any hypothetical Backup extremely unlikely. Nevertheless this has happened on rare occasions.

The sheer amount of data in the mind of an S:3 makes copying or backing-up a time consuming task. A typical S:3 has memory capacity of 1.64e45 bits, and a maximum bandwidth at the surface of 5.12e40 bits/sec. This means it would take nearly nine hours to transmit the S:3's mind to another location or
copy it into a Backup and so on, if it does absolutely nothing else
with its time, gets rid of all external sensors and replaces them with
transmitters, transmitting in all directions at once. This is not very practical, although physically possible.
Sub S3 EquivalentsProcessing and storage substrates built with S3 technology but housing minds of lower S-level.

Third Singularity storage and processing technology that has been made available to lower S-levels seems to use hardware that is effectively identical to Second Singularity systems, although the software running on it is routinely far more efficient and capable. Whether these apparent limits on hardware are the result of some actual limit, perhaps imposed by temperature or shielding issues, or represent a policy decision by higher toposophics is unknown at this time.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner

Initially published on 23 October 2006.

 
 
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