An anonymous reader writes: It's a common trope in sci-fi that when AIs become complex enough to have some form of consciousness, humans will be able to communicate with them through speech. But the rate at which we transmit and analyze data is so infinitesimal compared to how fast a computer can do it. Would they even want to bother? Jeff Atwood takes a look at how a computer's timescale breaks down, and relates it to human timeframes. It's interesting to note the huge variance in latency. If we consider one CPU cycle to take 1 second, then a sending a ping across the U.S. would take the equivalent of 4 years. A simple conversation could take the equivalent of thousands of years. Would any consciousness be able to deal with such a relative delay?