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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Computronium  
  Intelligent matter; nanocomputing processors masquerading as ordinary material.  

"NASA are idiots. They want to send canned meat to Mars!" Manfred swallows a mouthful of beer, aggressively plonks his glass on the table. "Mars is just dumb mass at the bottom of a gravity well; there isn't even a biosphere there. They should be working on uploading and solving the nanoassembly conformational problem instead. Then we could turn all the available dumb matter into computronium and use it for processing our thoughts. Long-term, it's the only way to go. The solar system is a dead loss right now - dumb all over! Just measure the MIPS per milligram. If it isn't thinking, it isn't working.
From Accelerando, by Charles Stross.
Published by Ace in 2005
Additional resources -

See also the opposite - dumb matter.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Accelerando
  More Ideas and Technology by Charles Stross
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  Tech news articles related to works by Charles Stross

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