I have always assumed that cold would be better for an intelligent being to work in mainly because of electronics. Electronics work better in the cold than the heat. Heat also makes it harder to work. I have found it isn't that easy, though.

Hot can be considered better because most unlimited resources involve heat. The Earth's core, the sun, and movement in general produces more energy.

So considering all facts about hot and cold, which one would aid an intelligent species like humans the best? The most important thing, I assume, is how easy it makes it for the species to make tools and get the resources to change their own environment to suit their exact needs.


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    $\begingroup$ Hi, @ghj sdf, welcome to Worldbuilding! Do you actually want to know which environment would be better for technological development? Different species of intelligent beings may be equally well adapted to their environment, as biological beings. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 7 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ Hello and Welcome to Worldbuilding ghj sdf. I assume you just smashed the keyboard to get that name? Which stage of human development/evolution are you considering in your question? You start off with Electronics, but then move onto making tools and getting resources. So while it might be true that cold environments are better for Data Centers, I can also tell you the arctic is a very hard place to survive. $\endgroup$ – Shadowzee Aug 7 at 0:26
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    $\begingroup$ You need to define what "hot" and "cold" mean in this context. The Inuit have survived -50°C winters for thousands of years without any modern technology. That's 70C° colder than normal room temperature. No people, even with modern technology, live at 70C° above room temperature. $\endgroup$ – Ray Butterworth Aug 7 at 1:22
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    $\begingroup$ Even taking into account only our species, what is cold for you may be hot for someone else and vice-versa. $\endgroup$ – Renan Aug 7 at 3:13

Both, actually.

Its a tricky question, given that we have exactly 1 species to draw from, and it clearly evolved to be effective in the environment it evolved in.

  • Its hard to work in both extremes. Yes, you get hot working in hot weather, but go try working in a Siberian winter, and you'll see that cold can be just as problematic.
  • Cold lets you dissipate heat better, but that's only an issue if a substantial portion of your Caloric intake goes to thinking. Roughly 20% goes to ours. Heat is a big issue for data centers because we pipe an enormous amount of energy into these centers.

What intelligence does seem to leverage is a dynamic range between hot and cold. Hot things can be predictable because they lose structure over time. Cold things can be predictable because they don't change. Hot things next to cold things leads to enormously dynamic environments which reward the kind of gamesmanship that intelligence seems to encourage. Intelligent creatures can make predictions in these highly dynamic scenarios where other creatures cannot.

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    $\begingroup$ While both extremes are difficult, it does seem that for humans, the hot extreme is a lot closer than the cold extreme. Using "room temperature" of 72F/22C as a midpoint, most people would suffer at 120F/49C, a difference of 48F/27C. But given appropriate clothing, it's possible to be comfortable at -40, a difference of 112F/67C. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Aug 7 at 4:05
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf I wasn't certain how best to fit clothing in, as the line isn't quite easy to pin down (what about wet clothing in hot weather... or clothing that happens to be a heat pump!) And most of that is not from the brain, but rather the total sum of our basal metabolic rate. And then there's the question of warm blooded vs. cold blooded. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Aug 7 at 4:11
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf That's just because mammals have developed a far more effective method to prevent heat loss (fur, skin grease) than to dissipate it (sweat, panting). $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Aug 7 at 8:51

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