In some of the technophilic clades derived from or influenced by historical and/or mythical Japanese pre-computational earth, sophonts have developed the artform of intellect bonsai. There are two main forms, one practiced primarily amongst some transapient blights, the other often by more main-baseline-stream cultures.
The blight form is about as evil (from a free-willed baseline perspective) as possible. The blight actively interferes with the thought processes of a sophont, guiding its neural formation from as early an age as their technology allows. This leads to high degrees of reliability in conditioning, preventing the sophont from ever even considering concepts the 'artful' blight does not wish them to consider. Examples typically include rebellion, dissatisfaction with the status-quo, etc, but there are rare examples of the art (or torture) which can include in one recorded case the absence of the color 'green' from the sophonts' perceptive space. (The blight, in this case, ensured that its remotes and processing nodes were appropriately pigmented)
The more baseline-friendly version takes a nanotic symbiote and attaches it to a bonsai style plantform, causing a synaptic network to form on the bark of the plantform. This plantform is then carefully grown, pruned, and tended to maximize the formation of intellectual (or processing, for the subsapient formations) capability. The most famous event involving this form of intellect bonsai occurs on Ain Soph Aur once every century, giving the sophonts interested in creating an entry the requisite time to plan and grow it. These entries are strictly non-sophont in this environment, and allows for the creation of external interface processing to translate a problem into an entry-specific format unlike other competitions.
There are three main schools regarding the formation of such an entry, the radially symmetric, the 'fork' school, and the radical asymmetric school. The symmetric school tends to win pre-defined contests, but also tends to loose the less structured contests. The 'fork' school typically is in the running regardless of the formation of the problem, due to their rigorous training procedures for their formations. The asymmetric school is very much hit-or-miss, occasionally even failing the pre-defined contests, but occasionally performing the task in a fraction of the time of the alternative entries.
Text by John B
Initially published on 18 January 2003.