RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 141,515
Posts: 5,511,724
Members: 25,137
Currently online: 560
Newest member: VonDingle

TrekToday headlines

Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions
By: T'Bonz on Dec 25

Trek Paper Clips
By: T'Bonz on Dec 24

Sargent Passes
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

QMx Trek Insignia Badges
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

And The New Director Of Star Trek 3 Is…
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

TV Alert: Pine On Tonight Show
By: T'Bonz on Dec 22

Retro Review: The Emperor’s New Cloak
By: Michelle on Dec 20

Star Trek Opera
By: T'Bonz on Dec 19

New Abrams Project
By: T'Bonz on Dec 18

IDW Publishing March 2015 Comics
By: T'Bonz on Dec 17


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 29 2013, 06:30 PM   #31
Captain McBain
Captain
 
Location: Being congratulated on the bridge of the Enterprise after making captain
Re: Division By Zero

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Captain McBain wrote: View Post
Maybe I should have rephrased the question to ask whether Data could explain division by zero, ....
So, you're really wondering what kind of teacher Data would be?

In the possible future of "All Good Things...", Data held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University, so make of that what you will.

As for explaining division by zero, well, there's just nothing to explain. It's an undefined operation, because it's meaningless.
Well, yes, but as I've said 4000 times, division by zero is meaningless according to our understanding. 10,000 years ago, calculus would've been meaningless.
Captain McBain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29 2013, 06:35 PM   #32
Pavonis
Commodore
 
Re: Division By Zero

So, if division by zero somehow became a meaningful operation, would Data be able to explain it?

Yes. Why wouldn't he?

See, I'm confused as to why Data is of particular importance to the question, and also why division by zero is being singled out. In general, if there were any new developments in mathematics by the time of the 24th century in Star Trek, could any character explain them? I would think so, but I don't think Data would necessarily be any better at explaining the subject than any other person might be, particularly compared to someone trained to teach, which Data is not (yet).
Pavonis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29 2013, 06:39 PM   #33
Captain McBain
Captain
 
Location: Being congratulated on the bridge of the Enterprise after making captain
Re: Division By Zero

Pavonis wrote: View Post
So, if division by zero somehow became a meaningful operation, would Data be able to explain it?

Yes. Why wouldn't he?

See, I'm confused as to why Data is of particular importance to the question, and also why division by zero is being singled out. In general, if there were any new developments in mathematics by the time of the 24th century in Star Trek, could any character explain them? I would think so, but I don't think Data would necessarily be any better at explaining the subject than any other person might be, particularly compared to someone trained to teach, which Data is not (yet).
I don't know. I think mathematicians can explain calculus better than laypersons. Even if Riker and Worf understand advanced calculus or know how to explain division by zero, it doesn't mean that they can do it as well as Data.

Data may not be more qualified to teach, but being an android, I think he'd understand the subject better. You can disagree if you want.
Captain McBain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29 2013, 06:45 PM   #34
Pavonis
Commodore
 
Re: Division By Zero

Does Data being able to recite an explanation or definition mean he understands the explanation or definition?

Data displayed some problems with simple idioms and humour in the past, yet when required, he was able to access some internal database (or accessed the ship's computer remotely in his brain, perhaps), and pulled up the definition for his own edification. I don't think he necessarily understood things better, though, after reciting the definition out loud. If it was as simple as that, he'd have a complete grasp of what it "means to be human" after reading Shakespeare.

So even if Data would be able to recite the definition or Wikipedia-style entry of "division by zero", does that mean he intuitively understands the material better? I could do the same thing, Data just does it faster. Which of us would understand it better, though? Is Data's positronic brain inherently better than an organic one, or just faster?
Pavonis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29 2013, 10:54 PM   #35
Captain McBain
Captain
 
Location: Being congratulated on the bridge of the Enterprise after making captain
Re: Division By Zero

Data doesn't understand idioms or humor because Dr. Soong didn't program him that way. He also wouldn't understand what it is to 'be human' after reading Shakespeare because he has no way to relate it to himself. However, to suggest that a sentient super-computer could only 'recite' math definitions but not actually 'know' the reasons for such definitions seems impossible to me.
Captain McBain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29 2013, 11:19 PM   #36
Pavonis
Commodore
 
Re: Division By Zero

So are you saying that Data should naturally have an aptitude for mathematics, just because his brain is inorganic? Why? Why should Data have an aptitude for one subject over another? If he's just a piece of hardware running software, then he's as good as whatever piece of software is loaded into him. If he's running Mathematica version infinity, he'd be good at math, but only because he's running that software. Is that all there is to Data's proficiency in a subject, though?

For instance, why wouldn't Soong choose to program Data with a "humor subroutine"? He apparently gave Data innumerable other subroutines, after all - one for ethics, one for modesty, and Data gave himself one for small talk. Seems like Data was nothing but a collection of interacting subroutines running in his positronic brain. So how much "programming" did Soong do, anyway? He built the hardware, but did he write the software? Is Data's consciousness merely a piece of software, or did the creation of a positronic brain lead to consciousness, deliberately or not? If his positronic brain became conscious because of its special properties, not due to its "software packages" loaded into it, then Data's aptitudes may be a result of random interactions of his nature and his environment. Data was "raised" by a scientist, so he developed an aptitude for science and math. Perhaps, then, if he had been "raised" by a comedian, he'd have the quickest one-liner retorts in the galaxy.
Pavonis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29 2013, 11:41 PM   #37
Captain McBain
Captain
 
Location: Being congratulated on the bridge of the Enterprise after making captain
Re: Division By Zero

Pavonis wrote: View Post
So are you saying that Data should naturally have an aptitude for mathematics, just because his brain is inorganic? Why? Why should Data have an aptitude for one subject over another? If he's just a piece of hardware running software, then he's as good as whatever piece of software is loaded into him. If he's running Mathematica version infinity, he'd be good at math, but only because he's running that software. Is that all there is to Data's proficiency in a subject, though?

For instance, why wouldn't Soong choose to program Data with a "humor subroutine"? He apparently gave Data innumerable other subroutines, after all - one for ethics, one for modesty, and Data gave himself one for small talk. Seems like Data was nothing but a collection of interacting subroutines running in his positronic brain. So how much "programming" did Soong do, anyway? He built the hardware, but did he write the software? Is Data's consciousness merely a piece of software, or did the creation of a positronic brain lead to consciousness, deliberately or not? If his positronic brain became conscious because of its special properties, not due to its "software packages" loaded into it, then Data's aptitudes may be a result of random interactions of his nature and his environment. Data was "raised" by a scientist, so he developed an aptitude for science and math. Perhaps, then, if he had been "raised" by a comedian, he'd have the quickest one-liner retorts in the galaxy.
I think Data has a natural aptitude for mathematics because that's the way Soong designed him. Just like humans cannot do things which their brains will not allow, neither can Data do something his creator didn't intend (understand humor, etc.).
Captain McBain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29 2013, 11:43 PM   #38
Pavonis
Commodore
 
Re: Division By Zero

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
I think Data has a natural aptitude for mathematics because that's the way Soong designed him. Just like humans cannot do things which their brains will not allow, neither can Data do something his creator didn't intend (understand humor, etc.).
What kind of things can humans not do because of our brains?

And, if you ask me, deliberately not giving Data a sense of humor would be very cruel.
Pavonis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30 2013, 11:13 AM   #39
Captain McBain
Captain
 
Location: Being congratulated on the bridge of the Enterprise after making captain
Re: Division By Zero

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Captain McBain wrote: View Post
I think Data has a natural aptitude for mathematics because that's the way Soong designed him. Just like humans cannot do things which their brains will not allow, neither can Data do something his creator didn't intend (understand humor, etc.).
What kind of things can humans not do because of our brains?

And, if you ask me, deliberately not giving Data a sense of humor would be very cruel.
Humans cannot understand the infinite, at least not completely. We can only comprehend finite notions.

It's cruel to you because you have a sense of humor and know what it's like. But Data never had one and so doesn't long for one or miss having one. That's just the way he was designed.
Captain McBain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30 2013, 02:33 PM   #40
Pavonis
Commodore
 
Re: Division By Zero

So what if humans can't really grasp infinity. Can Data grasp it, either? Or is it just a mathematical concept to him, the same as it is to me.

As for a sense of humor, since Soong seemed to have one, why wouldn't he give Data one? Lore seemed to have one.
Pavonis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30 2013, 03:08 PM   #41
JarodRussell
Vice Admiral
 
JarodRussell's Avatar
 
Re: Division By Zero

This thread feels like a division by zero.

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
I was just throwing out a number, guys. I didn't mean that infinity was actually the answer to this. My point, again, is that maybe 24th century understanding would have something more to say about division by zero.
Dude, this is just... seriously.

Basic math, dude.
1/1 = 1
1/0.5 = 2
1/0.25 = 4
1/0.125 = 8
1/0.001 = 1,000
1/0.0001 = 10,000
1/0.00001 = 100,000
The closer you get towards 0, the greater the result. Hence 1/0 = Infinity.

NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE THIS.

And there will be no "greater understanding" in the future. This is seriously one of the worst examples you could have picked.
JarodRussell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30 2013, 09:15 PM   #42
Captain McBain
Captain
 
Location: Being congratulated on the bridge of the Enterprise after making captain
Re: Division By Zero

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
This thread feels like a division by zero.

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
I was just throwing out a number, guys. I didn't mean that infinity was actually the answer to this. My point, again, is that maybe 24th century understanding would have something more to say about division by zero.
Dude, this is just... seriously.

Basic math, dude.
1/1 = 1
1/0.5 = 2
1/0.25 = 4
1/0.125 = 8
1/0.001 = 1,000
1/0.0001 = 10,000
1/0.00001 = 100,000
The closer you get towards 0, the greater the result. Hence 1/0 = Infinity.

NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE THIS.

And there will be no "greater understanding" in the future. This is seriously one of the worst examples you could have picked.
Ok, seriously...

I guess that's why mathematicians say that 1/0 is undefined. They don't say it's equal to infinity. And how do you know that our understanding of the concept of zero won't change in the next several hundred years? We don't have the same understanding of infinity or other mathematical concepts that we had 10,000 years ago, so why is our understanding of zero automatically going to be the same?
Captain McBain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30 2013, 09:20 PM   #43
Captain McBain
Captain
 
Location: Being congratulated on the bridge of the Enterprise after making captain
Re: Division By Zero

Pavonis wrote: View Post
So what if humans can't really grasp infinity. Can Data grasp it, either? Or is it just a mathematical concept to him, the same as it is to me.

As for a sense of humor, since Soong seemed to have one, why wouldn't he give Data one? Lore seemed to have one.
Based on what we currently know of infinity, I doubt that even Data could fully grasp it. He is, after all, still a finite being. I think the only Star Trek being that could fully comprehend infinity is Q.

That was Soong's good pleasure. God didn't give all humans the ability to play the piano or build bridges; everyone has their own talents. Soong is Data's creator, and he was not obligated to design Data in any particular fashion.
Captain McBain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30 2013, 10:34 PM   #44
Pavonis
Commodore
 
Re: Division By Zero

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
Ok, seriously...

I guess that's why mathematicians say that 1/0 is undefined. They don't say it's equal to infinity. And how do you know that our understanding of the concept of zero won't change in the next several hundred years? We don't have the same understanding of infinity or other mathematical concepts that we had 10,000 years ago, so why is our understanding of zero automatically going to be the same?
Not everything in human knowledge is up for change in the future. Some things are just as well understood now as they're ever going to be. I think the concept of zero is one of those things. Sorry to burst your bubble.
Pavonis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30 2013, 10:59 PM   #45
DonIago
Rear Admiral
 
Location: Burlington, VT, USA
View DonIago's Twitter Profile Send a message via ICQ to DonIago Send a message via AIM to DonIago Send a message via Yahoo to DonIago
Re: Division By Zero

We might as well ask whether Data will have a greater understanding of the word "table"...
__________________
--DonIago
It was the best of Trek, it was the worst of Trek...
"If I lean over, I leave myself open to wedgies, wet willies, or even the dreaded Rear Admiral!"
DonIago is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 07:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.