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 The Technium: Brains of White Matter
(12-03-2018, 05:28 AM)extherian Wrote: I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you on the importance of brain size, Drashner1. While Transapient brains may well be structured very differently to human brains, they also require an enormous amount of processing power to run. In the case of the Athenaeids, 1 cubic centimetre of their brain is equivalent to 40 modosophont intellects, so clearly running a Transapient mind is not a trivial task. A human brain could never run a mind of such complexity due to its low computing density, and would need to be thousands of times larger to meet the minimum processing requirements, in addition to any restructuring required.

Er. Tbh I'm not entirely sure what part you're disagreeing with. Can you clarify on your specific objection to what I said please?

Processing power/performance is not the same as size however. A modern cell phone can vastly outperform a room filling computer from less than a century ago. And I didn't say that brain size is irrelevant - rather that it is overly simplistic to just assume that it is the only (or the main) factor to consider. As you say, a transapient brain is vastly more capable (more than 10,000x more capable) than a human mind but is not 10,000x + the size of a human brain. So the reduced importance of brain size that you mention in your next paragraph starts to kick in from the S1 level on up.

S1 don't actually use Ultimate Chips (unless gifted to them by S2 or higher), but their processing substrate is still much more capable than what modosophonts can manage. And it certainly runs better 'software'.

(12-03-2018, 05:28 AM)extherian Wrote: It's worth noting that this isn't the case for humans and our primate ancestors. Our brains are structurally almost identical to chimp brains, just scaled up to have a vastly higher neuron count, which required our brains to increase in size. We do have specialised brain areas for language processing and other things, but the basic layout of our brains is hardly different to other primates. We're nothing special or new in evolutionary terms, just a bigger brained chimp with more raw power and a few nifty new skills like abstract language.

Some might argue that those nifty skills (which may require either a bigger brain or a different brain structure or both to function) are both new and specialWink

In a similar vein, the various transapients (and possibly the various superiors) may have 'nifty skills' that only emerge from their greater brain power. But they may have others that are a consequence of totally unique structures that have no natural ancestor or equivalent.

(12-03-2018, 05:28 AM)extherian Wrote: Regarding Highbrows, they are described as being an offshoot of Homo Superior (they're listed under the category of Superiors at any rate), and so it's reasonable to assume that their brains are made of the same neurons and synapses as other humans. Our current entry on Highbrows doesn't explain how their brains work differently to those of Superiors, and to me seems to suggest that their increased brain power alone brings them to 'near-Transapient' status. Of course, it's a very old article, so this is forgivable, but Superior-level neural enhancements wouldn't be enough by themselves to fully utilize such a massive brain.

'Superior' is something of a moving target. The Su of the Interplanetary Age are not the Su of the Current Era. Likely the Highbrows of the First Fed aren't the same as those of the Current Era either. Both new brain structure and a total redesign of both neurons and synapses to something very different from that of 'baseline humans' could easily have taken place (perhaps multiple times) in the thousands of years between when these species first arose and Y11k.

Also, as you say, the article is rather old. Highbrows may be more capable than the more 'average' Superiors while still falling far short of even the least transapient, as we currently conceive them.


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RE: The Technium: Brains of White Matter - by Drashner1 - 12-03-2018, 09:59 AM

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