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 The Trek BBS Division By Zero

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

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:
 Captain McBain wrote: 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.

 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).
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: 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.

 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?
 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.
 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.
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: 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.).

May 29 2013, 11:43 PM   #38
Pavonis
Commodore

Re: Division By Zero

 Captain McBain wrote: 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.

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:
 Captain McBain wrote: 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.

 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.
May 30 2013, 03:08 PM   #41
JarodRussell

Re: Division By Zero

This thread feels like a division by zero.

 Captain McBain wrote: 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.
__________________
A movie aiming low should not be praised for hitting that target.

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:
This thread feels like a division by zero.

 Captain McBain wrote: 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?

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: 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.

May 30 2013, 10:34 PM   #44
Pavonis
Commodore

Re: Division By Zero

 Captain McBain wrote: 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.

 May 30 2013, 10:59 PM #45 DonIago Rear Admiral   Location: Burlington, VT, USA 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!"

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