Re: Meme trace: origin of "Jupiter-sized brains"? (fwd)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Fri, 13 Aug 1999 19:51:04 -0700 (PDT)

Anthony Garcia <agarcia@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM> writes:

> Question: where did the phrase "Jupiter-sized brain" arise? I recall
> first seeing it used by Perry Metzger. Does anyone have another
> pointer to it?

You can look at the history, to the best of my ability to document it at:

Anders said:
> I think the origin traces back to Keith Henson's idea of converting
> the mass of Jupiter into computing resources to run versions of
> himself ("In the future, 9 out of 10 people will be Keith" :-). Later
> the Jupiter-brain idea has been discussed on and off in transhumanist
> circles.

As my history points out, Keith claims no ownership of the idea. JBs aren't discussed in the Great Mambo Chicken & Ed Regis has claimed no knowledge of the term (though GMC does discuss Keith's contributions to many other things including the Far Side Party). Given GMC was circa 1990, that would tend to confirm that Perry may have originated the term. Since the orignal use seems to have been on the private extropian mailing list (and since Perry did not seem to think Anders was a participant in that), only someone with access to those files could provide a real answer.

I would suggest that Anders review the letters I reference. I suspect he may have replaced Perry with Keith in his mind (which we should all take notice of, since if true, it may be one of those rare errors [~once per millennium] to have occured in his computronium matrix :-))

> I guess Stapledon was the first author to suggest a planet-sized mind,
> but then again, he was first with a lot of things.

I believe that Dyson has suggested that Stapledon may have known about and even borrowed from some of K. Tsiolkovsky's ideas. I've only got a little of Tsiolkovsky's work on line at this point and haven't had time to read the Stapledon works yet so I can't comment much one way or the other.