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Evolution of the human brain: when bigger is better
It's not so much distance that's the issue, it's how many other neurons any one specific neuron can talk to at any given time.

With the current Highbrow design, even with a high-speed connection running down the spinal cord, the brain tissue in the main body cavity isn't directly connected to the brain tissue in, say, the front of the skull. That's not to say that such a brain couldn't work, but this connectivity issue would limit the benefits of all that extra brain tissue.

For example, if your cerebellum extension decided to slow down signals in the main part of the brain so that the brain tissue in the torso can catch up, that means that the main brain is being bottlenecked by the connectivity of the torso brain. Hence, the extra tissue in the torso would offer only a minor improvement in cognitive ability due to its inefficient location.

Don't get me wrong, ai_vin, I love your Highbrow article. The reason I'm taking such a critical stance on it is because I want to update it once I'm finished working on the Tweak and Superior articles.

With that in mind, I'm also thinking about how big a brain you'd need to facilitate Transavant thought. I think that it's not so much size that's the issue, but that you'd need Transapient-style mental processes like autosentience and the ability to edit your own mind as you think. A brain that was doubled or quadrupled in size could use its extra brain tissue as an additional layer on top of the left and right hemispheres, monitoring their activity and allowing for the kind of enhanced consciousness and internal feedback needed to understand Translogic.

Your existing article already includes this concept of an extra layer to the neocortex. Personally, I think this extra layer by itself could facilitate Transapient thought by allowing for this Hyperturing-style brain architecture, and that the extra tissue in the torso would offer minimal additional benefit. And I'm not an expert on the brain either by any means, but since Orion's Arm is intended to be hard sci-fi, I'd like to take as realistic an approach as I can with any potential rewrite of the Highbrows.

One compromise would be to give the Highbrows a compubone skull like the Athenaeids have. With all that computing power in a central location, latency would be far less of an issue, and dedicating the additional brain tissue/computronium to intensive mental abilities like autosentience would enable efficient use of the computing power.

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RE: Evolution of the human brain: when bigger is better - by extherian - 08-21-2018, 12:26 AM

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