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Like Dustin Hoffman in the film "Tootsie", there is more to the autistic than meets the eye. A casual onlooker perhaps sees only a detached child or adult with a disconnect from human contact and a warped view of reality; a systems administrator, perhaps, or maybe a more than usually irascible cake decorator. However, like Dustin Hoffman in the film "Marathon Man", this tortured exterior conceals hidden depths.
A small percentage of sufferers from autism have as a side-effect of the brain abnormality which renders them unable to interpret normal human communication, a way of representing the world which enables them to recognise patterns almost instantly. Sadly, most of these "savants" are only able to do more or less completely useless things like playing the piano or drawing cars. However, the interesting (like Dustin Hoffman in the film "Kramer vs. Kramer") kind of savant can count matches, calculate actuarial tables for airline crashes and perform prodigious tasks of mathematical expertise.
Can we, as a society, afford to leave this powerful computational resource being used for trivial purposes, like Dustin Hoffman in the film "Midnight Cowboy"? I think not. The following report, annotated by Adequacy.org summarises leaked US Government documents on the feasibility of replacing Read on also for hints at a spine-chilling future for humanity which we are not at liberty to fully disclose ...
Read on also for hints at a spine-chilling future for humanity which we are not at liberty to fully disclose ...
1. Advanced 3D rendering
Modern Hollywood films have gone beyond the point at which the hokey special effects of yesteryear are enough to thrill audiences. These days, old-fashioned acting is out and whizz-bang computer graphics are in. However, computer graphics don't come cheap, and Moore's Law ain't going to last for ever. It's time to go non-linear, and look for a method for rapidly solving complex numerical manipulations which doesn't rely on stuffing transistors onto silicon at unfeasible rates.
A bit of simple math shows the kind of performance uplift we're talking about. The servers which produced animated laugh-fest Shrek were capable of roughly ten gigaflops. A gigaflop is a billion floating point operations per second. 'RH', the autistic savant featured in this article by Paul Macaruso and Scott Sokol, could give the cube root of a six digit number in five seconds, a calculation speed roughly equivalent to 50 megaflops. So, as we know that the numerical tasks involved are massively parallelisable, it would take only 200 savants working together to duplicate the power needed to produce Shrek. By extension, given that autism affects 0.5% of the population and 10% of autistic people are savants, the 280 million people in the USA include a latent computational resource capable of 700 times the processing power available to George Lucas.
2. Soviet-style economic planning
Socialism is all the rage these days, with the European Union taking over in countries like Germany, France and the United Kingdom. We at adequacy.org aren't sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing; we've heard that some people value individual freedom, but others prefer to be told what to think. We try to avoid complicated political issues like this, except during election time. But one thing we do know is that Soviet-style economic planning has gathered itself a pretty bad reputation. The trouble is, it's just not feasibleto properly plan the inputs and outputs of a large, complex economy. Which pretty much sucks. Like we say, we're politically ambiguous about the forthcoming global takeover of European socialism. But if the economy went down the tubes, that would be bad news for us. Most of us are pretty slack, marginal workers at the best of times - in a socialist-induced recession, we'd be toast.
Thank God for autism. Sure, the Soviet economy fell to pieces because of the impossibility of planning. But with a computational resource capable of processing teraflops of instructions through their huge, connection-rich brains, they'll probably even be able to find a useful social role for the likes of me. Socialism and autism -- they shouldn't work together but they do!
3. Numerical Cryptanalysis
RC5 public key encryption has become the de facto standard for security obsessives, paranoiacs, privacy bores and all manner of other people who are either doing something they shouldn't or wasting all of our time by pretending to be doing something they shouldn't. As a security standard it is currently the state of the art, believed to be safe from everything except government snooping agencies, Echelon, random geeks on distributed.net and everyone else.
However, the community of people with something to hide appear to have ignored a significant threat to their illusory privacy; autistic savants.
When kept in a secure, nurturing environment, such as that provided by Tom Cruise in the film "Risky Business", a medium-sized savant ought to be able to perform discrete factorisations of up to 28 bits of RC5 key per hour. This would suggest that, even for time-sensitive communications, keylengths of fewer than 288 bits are not safe from the autistic community [editor's note, by jsm](the autistic community?). Clearly, it might be possible to safeguard our secrets by using our own non-cracker, "white hat" autistic savants, but this only risks starting an arms race which decent society can only lose. Recent research seems to show that autism is linked to secretin, a protein secreted in the stomach. Over time, it is likely that this knowledge will lead to a genetically engineered super-race of autistic savants, against which the West, with its higher ethical standards and more stringent regulatory standards can never hope to compete.
Clearly this situation cannot be allowed to persist. Not only does this present a threat to most currently available forms of secure communication, it also cannot be ruled out that the calculating ability of the savants is already being put to use by the autistic themselves. When one stops to think, it is hard to avoid noticing the resemblance between the disjointed sentence fragments of autistic communication, and the garbled snatches characteristic of handshake signals between parties using high-end elliptic curve cryptography. The autists can communicate perfectly easily, they just don't feel like talking to us! The autistic are the master race here to replace us, and we are living on borrowed time! I demand an immediate federally funded research program into this important issue.