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Math Help - Information Theory and Universal Translator

  1. #1
    phy
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    Information Theory and Universal Translator

    Hello folks

    This is my first thread here. I'm a Helper at the Physics Help Forum and I noticed this forum. I was a dual mak

    If you've ever watched Star Trek then you've probably noticed the Universal Translator (UT). In an episode of Star Trek Spock stated that the UT worked by reading brainwaves. It seems to me that this can't work in reality since one would not be able to translate the brainwaves into information, at least not with out a UT which really is a catch 22.

    Perhaps those of you who know something about information theory can tell me if this is an accurate assertion? Let's argue this in terms of modeling the mind/brain as a computer.

    Thanks.

    Pete
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  2. #2
    Grand Panjandrum
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    Quote Originally Posted by phy View Post
    Hello folks

    This is my first thread here. I'm a Helper at the Physics Help Forum and I noticed this forum. I was a dual mak

    If you've ever watched Star Trek then you've probably noticed the Universal Translator (UT). In an episode of Star Trek Spock stated that the UT worked by reading brainwaves. It seems to me that this can't work in reality since one would not be able to translate the brainwaves into information, at least not with out a UT which really is a catch 22.

    Perhaps those of you who know something about information theory can tell me if this is an accurate assertion? Let's argue this in terms of modeling the mind/brain as a computer.

    Thanks.

    Pete
    Star Trek is science fiction, it does not need to make sense just give sufficient cause for suspension of disbelief.

    However if you believe certain neuroscientists they think that mind reading using FMRI or a development of this technology may be possible (to a limited extent anyway).

    Note that in Star Trek there is an implied panspermia background which makes most intelligent species human (to the extent that interbreeding is possible) which makes things easier.

    CB
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  3. #3
    phy
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainBlack View Post
    However if you believe certain neuroscientists they think that mind reading using FMRI or a development of this technology may be possible (to a limited extent anyway).
    I'm well aware that science fiction need not make sense, and often doesn't in fact. I was explaining to someone that a UT is not possible in reality. I just wanted to make sure Ithere wasn't a flaw in my arguement.

    Can you tell me more about FMRI please?
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  4. #4
    Grand Panjandrum
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    Quote Originally Posted by phy View Post
    I'm well aware that science fiction need not make sense, and often doesn't in fact. I was explaining to someone that a UT is not possible in reality. I just wanted to make sure Ithere wasn't a flaw in my arguement.

    Can you tell me more about FMRI please?
    FMRI in reality detects/shows the change in blood flow aroud the brain as the victim engages in some mental/physical activity. The fiction is that this allows the experimenter to determine what process/area are active in the brain.

    (No, I don't believe in the mind reading claims made for FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging).

    CB
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