i was ranting some time ago about slowness in which IT industry is moving from silicon to light, to speed up not only transport of information (we already do that by means of GBIC/SFP/SFP+ modules), but also processing of traffic. there are already means to do exactly that, and we as Cisco are working on delivering such features in next years.
i just stumbled upon this article, which deals with doing similar thing but with machine learning - this quote is stunning:
We found that integrated photonic platforms that integrate efficient optical memory can obtain the same operations as a tensor processing unit, but they consume a fraction of the power and have higher throughput and, when opportunely trained, can be used for performing inference at the speed of light
just imagine that!