computers made ofFrom Wired: Everybody knows a computer is a machine made of metal and plastic, with microchip cores turning streams of electrons into digital reality. A century from now, though, computers could look quite different. They might be made from neurons and chemical baths, from bacterial colonies and pure light, unrecognizable to our old-fashioned 21st century eyes. Far-fetched? A little bit. But a computer is just a tool for manipulating information. That’s not a task wedded to some particular material form. After all, the first computers were people, and many people alive today knew a time when fingernail-sized transistors, each representing a single bit of information, were a great improvement on unreliable vacuum tubes.

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