Last night I dreamed that some time in the future, humans had figured out how to build distributed computing platforms complex enough to upload consciousness. As part of the bootstrap uplift into digital immortality, some members of our species began to migrate to self-assembling clouds of smart matter — tiny, networked, neuron-equivalent autonomous computing devices that in aggregrate provided enough googol-flop grunt to serve as personality substrate. iCloud, for reals.
The next logical step, of course, was for some of these cloud-personalities to migrate into the solar system, and by downshifting their time-sense to compensate for light-speed limitations when the distance between ‘neurons’ became thousands, then millions, of kilometers, then astronomical units, become brains that encompassed the entire solar system, but whose thoughts were occurring on much longer time-scales, as neuron-equivalents fired at intervals of hours and days rather than milliseconds.
Our solar system became a cloud of billions of overlapping brains, their tiny components wheeling around the sun like starlings, thinking slow thoughts.
And then, because why not, a migration to galactic scale. Slow down the subjective timescale even further, with computational neurons circling far-flung suns, brains spanning tens of thousands of lightyears, thoughts forming on geological timescales, our galaxy a circling glorious hive of trillions of overlapping slow intelligences who might experience the epochs until the heat death of the universe as comparable in length to a human lifespan, totally invisible to organic life.
Then I woke up, because I hurt my back washing the car yesterday, and that was a disappointment.