I often imagine some kind of “box of a trillion souls” that’s sort of the ultimate repository for our civilization. Now at first we might think, “Wow, that’s going to be such an impressive thing, with all that intelligence and consciousness and knowledge and so on inside.” But I’m afraid I don’t think so.
You see, one of the things that emerged from my basic science is what I call the Principle of Computational Equivalence, which says in effect that beyond some low threshold, all systems are equivalent in the sophistication of the computations they do. So that means that there’s not going to be anything abstractly spectacular about the box of a trillion souls. It’ll just be doing a computation at the same level as lots of systems in the universe.I read Mohamedou Ould Slahi's Guantanamo diary:
The cell – better, the box – was cooled down to the point that I was shaking most of the time.... I don't remember sleeping one night quietly....
I am not sure if Mohamedou Slahi's box could in future be used for a trillion souls. Perhaps it would be too small.... I wonder, how big a box will be needed, to be the ultimate repository of our civilization?
When I failed to give him the answer he wanted to hear, he made me stand up, with my back bent because my hands were shackled to my feet and waist and locked to the floor. █████████ turned the temperature control all the way down, and made sure that the guards maintained me in that situation until he decided otherwise.