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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Micromind  
  A computer helper.  

I couldn't find much about this technovelgy item in the book, but I liked the term. Like maybe micromind software is just what we need to do with all those old PCs we have lying around.

When he came through the hatch, Shibo was standing with uncharacteristic immobility, meditative: her arms wrapped around herself, thumbs hooked into her shiny black exskell ribs. Normally her hands would be moving restlessly over the boards, summoning forth the Argo's energies and microminds.
From Tides of Light, by Gregory Benford.
Published by Bantam in 1989
Additional resources -

They are not BIG BRAINS! They are microminds; maybe just big enough to make up their minds on very particular subjects, like what to have for dinner tonight, or how to avoid that asteroid that just popped up on the screen.

Simple examples of this technovelgy are already at work on the Internet. They are called "intelligent agents" and have the following kinds of features:

  • You can give them a particular subject you are interested and tell them to "go fetch" - and off they go to search engines and thence to the websites you might be interested in. They gather information and references and return to you.
  • Some intelligent agents can learn your preferences; once they get some idea of what you want, they can search for things that might interest you.
  • Another application is the shopping bot, which can be given the task of looking for the lowest price on the web for a given object or service.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Tides of Light
  More Ideas and Technology by Gregory Benford
  Tech news articles related to Tides of Light
  Tech news articles related to works by Gregory Benford

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