X-Message-Number: 16464
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 12:01:57 -0700
From: Olaf Henny <>
Subject: I stepped on ice, now I need help
References: <>

Louis Epstein wrote:

>How far are we from these
>"mature molecular positioning
>abilities" needed for this

 I have no idea.  When I first read Ralph's estimate, I thought,
that *any part* of that computer would be at least 30 years away.
Then less than a year later I hear of the switch in that Aussi sniffer,
a potentially important component.  How they actually built that
thing and if any molecular positioning was involved was to my
knowledge never revealed.
I am heading here for a slippery slope, since I really have no
idea of what I am talking about, but I think a switch - on and
off - represents either 2 bits or 2 bytes of storage (Thomas please
enlighten me).  If it is bits, then Ralph's MB would require 4
million of them, which would, providing, that all my other
assumptions are correct, occupy about 1.4% of the available space
in that cubic micron.  If it is bytes, then it would only be
about  500,000 or 0.17% of available space.

>(isn't a cubic mm a little coarse
>for salt?)

Depends on what brand you are using.    ;)

>And how stable would these
>picocomputers be?

 Ask somebody who knows, but you may have to wait a few
decades.   ;)

>(Would be hell to have a crash that
>destroyed your own memories going on
>in your head.Redundancy and backup
>would be needed very much!)

Assuming, that the average PC out there now has 10 GB of storage,
the storage in 1 mm^3 of Ralph's computer would be the equivalent
of that of 100,000 contemporary PCs. Your suggested assembly of
12 of those should have plenty of room of redundancy.  As well it
could be easily accommodated in my cranial cavity (I refuse to reply
to any malicious suggestion of hollow spaces there).  There is of
course also the option of external back-up

>What would be the functional equivalent
>of bytes to brains?Is there any real
>estimate of the "storage capacity" or
>"gigaflops" of a human brain?

Your brain would be pretty much as it is now, but it would have
an enormous amount of directly accessible (or so I hope)
information available.  If you have *all* the information, you
don't have to make the decision.  It makes itself.  The point is,
you would be in complete control as opposed to relying on AI,
which, when sufficiently developed, might well assert self-
interest over your own.

>Without this,how can you tell how
>much of an improvement these petabyte
>salt grains would offer?

 For starters, I would know just about everything you know.  I
would not have to fish with '1000 terabytes', before I learn from
you, that it is one petabyte. :)
But I could easily carry around all the information contained in
the Library of Congress.

>(I assume you'd get something like
>a dozen,thinking of a triplicate
>SMP cluster of four...but the
>interface system might crowd your
>brain more than the salt-grain
>supercomputers would).

This might well be so.  But I believe, if it was possible to
connect a couple of dozen dendrites from various centres of your
brain directly to your computer stack, that would be sufficient,
since you would probably access the information therein only
selectively.  GOSH, AM I OUT OF MY LEAGUE - Help!).
One of the advantages would be that the memory would be hard.
None of that "I can't remember the exact words right now" .  It
would be right there, even when under stress or otherwise
emotionally distracted.  If you can get the connection to the
computer (-stack), you've got the info.


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