So, I was creating an extremely small race of (genetically and technologically modified) beings for a world I'm building, but the issue was that their bodies were too small to house an acceptable brain. I thought about a hyper-efficiently structured brain, then decided against it. I looked into having an extremely small body and an extremely large head but realized that for the amount of movement I intended for them it would be a bad idea. I considered doing both to a lesser extent, which I've decided to do, but I feel as though it is not enough. Based on the findings from another question,

What size would my race to be to be able to both use insectoid wings and have moderate intelligence, sentience, and general mental aptitude?

I found that the species, being about 11 inches or maybe a foot tall would probably not be large enough to have the mental aptitude I'm looking for, (an iq of 90 or above) so I began looking at other options. My first thought is a kind of mental enhancer used for storing cognitive processing and memories in an "external brain." The MAE (Mental Aptitude Enhancer) would be connected at the temples and be grafted into the brain. The MAE cannot be easily broken, either. Could this work?

To summarize, I want to know whether or not I can enhance the brain's functions of an 11 or 12 inch tall humanoid using a technological implant to store memories and enhance cognitive functions would work or if I need any changes to make it work. There are many symbiotic species to the race that could create the MAE, so I'm not worried about the means to create it, and technically the species can survive without the MAE, they'd just be reduced to more simplified actions, such as eating, drinking, walking, breathing, and blinking.

  • $\begingroup$ Would 'off body' mental processing fit in your story? What your little people need is a transmitter linked with the brain. The transmitter would connect them to the world wide network. At that point you could have a collective mind or individual minds residing on the network and accessing to the shared knowledge and superior processing speed. $\endgroup$ Oct 7, 2020 at 10:49
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting! Like a hive mind! Hmmmm... I'll have to use that somewhere! Thank you! Each of the species I'm creating is based on a different insect, and the technology is being developed for the equivalents of mites, fairy flies, fleas, and other extremely small insects. Maybe I could use that for bees or ants. Again, thank you! $\endgroup$ Oct 7, 2020 at 11:07

2 Answers 2


Why Not?

If we have no rules about how small machine intelligence can be, there is no reason to think it can't be placed in a walnut-sized (neuroptic psychic plasma whatever you want to call it) computer implanted into the skull of a tiny humanoid. Given that you say your species can get implants from other intelligent species (with unknown motives, but why not?) your race would not have needed to be sapient or even sentient before they got these things. The biggest input from biology can be cooling, if you want.

Imagine a squirrel who had a computer plugged into his brain, telling him how to cut down trees to get more nuts because that is what the squirrel wanted. A culture of such squirrels would be able to talk (possibly pseudo-telepathically via wireless communication) and their motives would evolve as they came to appreciate the things they could do. The hard work of evolving complex thought would be taken over by a machine doing it for them. If all you need the biological part for is emotion and motive, those things are possible in simpler animals than humans.

You could even have the computers be remote from the pixie-like beings being described. They "exist" as processing power on a computer, transmitting data to the body. In that case, your race might only need a transmitter attached to the brain.

Who knows, maybe your individuals are actually resurrected versions of long-dead ancestors to the alien race who made the tech for them. They could have the personality of a dead alien, but not have the memories (I envision a cultural practice or bringing back innocent versions of one's ancestors in small bodies that don't take up lots of resources, but unburdened by a lifetime of bad memories). Who knows what motives aliens have? People are nuts, so why not other species?

This does mean your pixie-people are dependent on the aliens for support, but the aliens have a motive to maintain the relationship - someday, they too get to return as little innocent ancestors.



Your can't put one cubic meter of water in 30L aquarium. If you need 2L of brains to be intelligent, you will need to have total of this 2L. Same goes for energy demand. And having symbiotic species will only increase requirements: you will need additional "hardware" and energy on interconnections.

You can "cheat" by positioning this symbionts on the back. But thinking requires as short signal path as possible. And it will also leave vital "organ" quite unprotected. And energy problem is still there.

So if you really want to have advantage you need "hardware" that is more compact and less energy-demanding than brain. Some very very high-tech implants would work (but not modern technology - this implant would have size of a small house and would consume tens of kilowatts of energy). The technological level that is required to create such an implant as actually a magic for us.

In all other cases the implants would only make it worse.

  • $\begingroup$ Let me rephrase the symbiotic thing. The symbiotic races work as in a society, not attached to the people. Sorry if that was unclear. The definition of symbiotic is "involving interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association." I only said that so that no one would ask where we got the MAEs if, without MAEs, the tiny race would not be able to make MAEs. Make sense? $\endgroup$ Oct 7, 2020 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ Given the amount of genetic modification on the scale they've done, I'm assuming that they can create the technology from what you've said. Thank you, this was very helpful! $\endgroup$ Oct 7, 2020 at 11:03

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