In JJBA: Stardust Crusaders, there was a two-parter with a falcon stand-user, called Pet Shop, as the antagonist. The character kinda intrigued me, so I decided to steal it while Araki wasn't watching.

I made some changes... which led to a problem:

As of now, Horus is a genetically "uplifted" falcon, and the user of the "Ace of Clover". In other words,

  • he possesses intelligence and personality nearly indistinguishable from that of humans', obviously capable of speech as well.
  • He can also fly just as good as, if not better than, ordinary falcons.
  • All whilst being able to aim and fire 1-6 bolts of nanomachines.

That's a tall order for bird-brains to fill. And I'm not entirely sure how he could pull it off. On the outside, Horus looks just like a normal brown falcon, so how can he have so much computing capacity?

Just to be clear, I didn't specify tech level because, at this state in the setting, anything is doable (that doesn't outright violate the laws of physics), but I wanted a solution that doesn't have strings attached and is self-contained (like is in the bird itself).

But if you really want to know, there are two important things, the first are quantum supercomputers that can be used to simulate entire living beings, the second is advanced nanotechnology, allowing nanocomposite materials, enzyme-like nanomachines, and microbots (150 micrometers in length) to be precisely constructed from the molecular level.

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    $\begingroup$ Whatever his brain is made of, it ain't normal bird brains. Bird brains are really interestingly arranged and optimised for performance against weight, but they aren't magic. Personally, I think he'd have to be a wee bit bigger than the original, but humans can't spot the difference because they don't socialise with various falcons often enough. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ Do the beings that created/engineered Horus have access to hyperspace or pocket universes? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Agrajag The only thing his creator "The Joker" has access to is nanomachines and a quantum computer, so nope. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ "nanomachines and a quantum computer" well there's your answer then, Horus's "brain" isn't (all) in his body, micro-transceivers connect him to a dedicated quantum computer that manages most of his thought processes for him, the only on-board adjustment to his body needed then is replacing his tongue & vocal apparatus with a parrots so he can talk ~ presto! one talking falcon with human intelligence. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 0:00
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    $\begingroup$ Better, although better still would be to rewrite your question to incorporate the details rather than simply amending it with what appears to be frustration. You'll note that you answered your question by selecting the trope: nanites. That's why I asked you what you were expecting. "How would I change X, which we don't understand today, to achieve Y?" questions always have this problem. They're trivially answered with tropes. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Apr 7, 2019 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Surprisingly enough, this may not actually be a problem. Birds have incredibly dense brains, and songbirds for example already have pretty robust speech centers. Plenty can make tools, socialize, etc., which is pretty much humans' big claim to fame. To make Horus indistinguishable from us, you could simply give him a slightly larger brain, say 20% bigger, and rejigger it to allow for human speak instead of birdsong.

But since that's boring, here are some alternatives:

Cyborg bird: since you've already got nanomachines, give our friend Horus here a couple billion tiny computers in his head. Like neurons, but better.

Fancy Neurons: the traditional neuron acts like a sort of signal repeater. If it gets a high enough input, it will send an electrochemical signal and potentially activate more neurons. Plug a ton of these into eachother and bam, there's your brain. Every neuron in the brain is essentially the same, its the structure of it all that determines how it will work. Alternatively, people have done some nifty stuff recently to make cells do simple computations. Horus could have a brain made up of these. They would not have to be much more complicated to double efficiency. Possible neuron improvements include:

  • Each neuron could have multiple outputs (real neurons have only one)
  • Neurons could have DNA memory. No one really knows how real memory works, but this would be far more space efficient regardless. With altered cells like these you could store bits of information inside each cell. You would save big on both memory storage and computation
  • Neurons can do more complicated computations

Ancient Bird Family: Horus is from a long line of falcons, bred for their anthropomorphic traits.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi, welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! If you haven’t already, please read through our tour page. What a great first post, i’ve just read this normally but did not think to check your reputation, i was very surprised when i saw this answer again in my review tab, you wrote it like an experienced user. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ @Liam Morris thanks for the warm welcome! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ "Ancient Bird Family: Horus is from a long line of falcons, bred for their anthropomorphic traits." so to look reasonably human or humanoid then, it might help if you read the OP's question a bit more carefully "Horus looks just like a normal brown falcon" which then going back to your "Birds have incredibly dense brains" yes they do, but unless their a lot bigger than a normal birds brain they won't be as intelligent as a human, will they, because if they were then ordinary birds would be already, (unless I have) you've misunderstood the facts of the question. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ ^ the point is that the OP appears to be talking about a normal size ordinary falcon while your answer seems to assume it's a humanoid human size man-falcon? unless I've missed my mark it's a complete mismatch of question & answer that appears to invalidate your answer in all important particulars. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 23:04
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    $\begingroup$ Anthropomorphic doesn't mean "humanoid," just "human-like" in a more general sense. Talking or thinking like a human are all anthropomorphic characteristics. As for the brain thing, some birds have a comparable number of neurons to a medium-sized primate, so I think its not too unreasonable, it would just require some creative re-wiring. Some more mass too if we're being reasonable, but not so much that Horus would be unconvincing as a falcon $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 23:13

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