How possible is it to build a Jupiter brain, a computer the dimension of a planet? Just in the previous few a long time, the quantity of computational energy that’s out there to humanity has elevated dramatically. Your smartphone is tens of millions of instances extra highly effective than the NASA computers used to ship astronauts to the moon on the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Computers have turn into integral to our lives, turning into the spine of our communications, funds, training, artwork, well being care, army, and leisure. In truth, it will be exhausting to discover an space of our lives that computer systems didn’t have an effect on.
Now think about that at some point we make a computer that’s the dimension of a whole planet. And we’re not speaking Earth, however bigger, a megastructure the dimension of a fuel big like Jupiter. What can be the implications for people to function a computer that dimension, with a fully monumental, just about limitless, quantity of computing energy? How would our lives change? One actually begins to conjure up the transformational results of having a lot oomph, from power technology to space journey and colonization to a basic change in the lifespan and skills of future people.
But whereas hypothesis of that kind can simply lead us into the fictional realm, what are the recognized info about creating such a powerful computer? How exhausting wouldn’t it be?
The limits of a Jupiter brain
Building a Jupiter brain can be depending on particular components that restrict the energy of a computer, as outlined by the Swedish computational neuroscientist and transhumanist Anders Sandberg in his seminal 1999 paper on the topic.
The particular bodily constraints Sanders present in supersizing a computer are the following:
1. Processing and reminiscence density
The parts that represent a computer and its reminiscence models, all the chips and circuits concerned, have a finite dimension, which is restricted by physics. This truth creates “an upper limit” on the processing and reminiscence density of any computing system. In different phrases, you’ll be able to’t create computer elements which can be smaller than a sure form, past a sure dimension they’ll cease functioning reliably.
2. Processing velocity
The velocity of data processing or reminiscence retrieval is said to how briskly electrical alerts can journey via the computer, decided by the “natural timescales of physical processes,” writes Sandberg.
3. Communication delays
If we build a gigantic computer the dimension of a planet, it would expertise delays in communication between its numerous prolonged elements due to the velocity of gentle. In truth, the quicker its processing velocity, the longer the delays may really feel “from an internal subjective point of view,” as the scientist describes. If we wish to have fewer delays, the distances in the system want to be as small as potential, or else not want to make the most of communication over lengthy distances.
4. Energy provide
As you may think, an especially giant computing system can be a main energy hog. Computation on such a scale would wish great quantities of power and the administration of warmth dissipation. In truth, in search of the warmth emissions from giant computing system is one potential manner to scour the sky for superior alien civilizations.
Sandberg suggests some methods to take care of these challenges. While the energy and velocity of particular person processors could have a restrict, we should flip our focus to determining how to make parallel methods the place all the disparate parts work in unison. He offers the instance of the human brain the place “even fairly slow and inefficient elements can produce a very powerful computing system.”
The processing components and the delays in communication could have to be dealt with by creating a computing system that’s extra concentrated and modular. Among different concerns, he additionally proposes giving “reversible computing” (a theoretical kind of quantum computing during which the computational course of is to some extent time-reversible) a nearer look, as it could be potential to obtain this sort of computation with out having to expend further power. It includes no bits being erased and relies on reversible physics. An instance of this could be copying and pasting a report, together with its inverse. Such machines might be doubtlessly constructed by using reversible circuits and logical boards in addition to quantum computation, amongst a number of different approaches proposed by Sanders.
Technologies you would wish
One of the enjoyable elements of attempting to design a Jupiter brain is determining the technology that might be mandatory to accomplish this mammoth job. Besides the potential military of self-replicating swarms of nanorobots that would wish to be employed to put this immense computer collectively; in an appendix to his paper, Sanders suggests a design for what it will take to make a Jupiter brain he known as “Zeus.”
Zeus can be a sphere 11,184 miles (18,000 kilometers) in diameter, weighing about 1.8 instances the mass of Earth. This super-object can be made out of nano diamonds known as diamondoids. These would kind a community of nodes round a central power core consisting of quantum dot circuits and molecular storage methods. Another manner to manage the nodes and distribute data might be via a cortex “with connections through the interior” which Sanders finds most “volume-efficient” and finest for cooling.
Each node can be a processing factor, a reminiscence storage system, or each, meant to act with relative independence. Internal connections between the nodes can be optical, using fiber optics/waveguides or using “directional signals sent through vacuum.”
Around the sphere can be a concentric defend whose operate can be to supply safety from radiation and dissipate warmth into space through radiators. Zeus can be powered by nuclear fusion reactors dispersed on the exterior of that defend. This would make a Jupiter brain significantly distinct from different hypothetical megastructures like a Dyson Sphere or a Matrioshka Brain that Type II civilizations on the Kardashev Scale may theoretically create to harness power from stars.
Where would we get the provides to make a Jupiter brain? Sanders proposes gathering the carbon positioned in fuel big cores or via star lifting, anybody of a number of hypothetical processes that might enable Type II civilizations to repurpose stellar matter.
If planet-size computer systems will not be sufficient of a problem, Sanders additionally proposes some data processing options that even he termed “exotica”, as they contain creating or purely theoretical applied sciences. Among these are utilizing quantum computer systems, which aren’t solely quantitatively however “qualitatively more powerful than classical computers.” Sanders additionally believes they permit for reversible computation and are the “natural choice” when it comes to computing methods on the nanoscale or the even smaller femtoscale.
Black Holes may doubtlessly be used as processing parts if they don’t destroy data, a at present contested notion. If data is launched from black holes through Hawking radiation, they may presumably be tapped as data processors, conjectures the scientist.
A community of wormholes, theoretical tunnels that join distant elements of the space and time continuum, is one other yet-to-be-proven hypothetical structure that will function “extremely useful” for data processing and communications.
Another philosophical nugget that might be at residence in any dialogue involving The Matrix additionally emerged from Sandberg’s paper: As a civilization grows and expands its data processes to the limits of bodily legal guidelines and technology, it should in some unspecified time in the future turn into “advantageous in terms of flexibility and efficiency for individual beings to exist as software rather than (biological) hardware.”
Why is that so? Fewer of the increasingly scarce resources would be required to sustain such a being, which will evolve automatically as code. The limits of this virtual existence are bounded by the computing system it exists in. “As technology advances the being will be extended too,” writes Sanders.
The Swedish philosopher and computational neuroscientist Nick Bostrom wrote a now-famous paper on the Simulation Hypothesis titled “Are we living in a computer simulation?” In it, he estimates that all the brain activity by all the humans who ever lived would amount to somewhere between 1033 and 1036 operations. By comparison, a planet-sized computer like a Jupiter brain would be able to execute 1042 operations per second. It would be able to simulate all of human brain activity ever, all the consciousnesses of all the people who ever lived, “by using less than one millionth of its processing power for one second,” writes Bostrom.
Certainly, these applied sciences and their implications are extremely speculative at this level, however visualizing the futuristic gadgetry is one step in making it actual ultimately, as has occurred with different tech developments. If we will think about it, properly, maybe we will build it.