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Topic: Is C-3PO Smarter Than Data? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 7:52am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Discuss.

C-3PO can speak six million languages. If six million languages exist in the STAR TREK universe, well can Data speak them? I am not that familiar with Data's exact programming. Are languages part of his positronic brain?

Would C-3PO's "brain" have the same capacity as Data's?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 7:57am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

This is a bit like comparing a Ferrari to a tractor. Threepio is an industrial robot, built with a specific purpose, loosely defined as "protocol". Protocol requires an extensive programming in local customs, but not a whole lot of smarts.

Data, on the other hand, with his "positronic" brain* has an evolving intelligence, much like a human.

* Asimov strikes again!

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 7:59am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Thanks, I do like the Ferrari/tractor analogy! 
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 10:57am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Yes, but... I mean, if you look at...

Dang it, Mr. Byrne has nailed it. Data could do an adequate job as a protocol android*, but it wouldn't be his strongest suit.

C3PO works as an action protagonist because he ISN'T an action hero... but he's among those who are, and he makes a good sidekick to the REAL hero of the Star Wars movies, and he inserts a humorous element without being ridiculous for a non-ridiculous character.

Further, C3PO has reached the ultimate of his programming and potential, and is the terminus of his functions. Data is, as noted, open ended, and seems intended to learn and to expand his potential. 

In the final analysis, I would prefer to have Data than C3PO for a non-defined mission. I mean, if naught else... Data can run. :)

*I'm using android with the connotation of a robot intentionally and singularly designed to be in human form. C3PO is close... R2D2, to me, is nothing like an android. Of course, designations in the Star Wars universe vary greatly, undoubtedly.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 11:08am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Android, ideally, should be used to describe an artificial human, not a mechanical one. An android would have literally all the same parts as a human being, but they'd be manufactured.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 11:33am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Well, in the Marvel universe, that's a synthezoid... :)

But I like that definition, Mr. Byrne. Must be all those years you have of studying anatomy... even internal! Thanks.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 12:19pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Believe it or not, I learned that distinction for androids from a Supergirl story when I was a kid. Missing Argo City and her family, Kara builds a life-sized model, and populates it with androids. The writer makes a point of them being artificial, not mechanical.

Years later I read a Robert Silverberg novel, TOWER OF GLASS, that made the same point.

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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 2:15pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I believe JB's analysis is spot-on, but just to add:

It's like the real-world difference between Stockfish (formerly the world's strongest chess engine) and Google Deepmind's Alpha Zero. Stockfish is an old-school tree-searching opening-book endgame-table brute-force chess monster,  whereas AlphaZero is a neural network (similar to a biological brain). If you missed it, back in December AlphaZero was given only the rules of chess to work with and none of the above mentioned books and tables to search. Given just those rules, it learned by playing only against another copy of itself--hence, the "zero". It became superhuman (at chess) and stronger than Stockfish in just 4 hours of training.  Stockfish is programmed beforehand and improves by humans tweaking it's code, and AlphaZero is useless until it gains experience which it gains on its own (it played 3.5 million games in that four hours).

Aside: As a chess fan, it's kinda frustrating that Alpha Zero has moved on from playing chess because it was not really built to play chess , but rather work on real world-problems like biology and chemistry. Frustrating because it's games are so exciting!  There's an internet-based effort called "Leela Chess Zero" which is taking the same neural network approach sans the fancy Google super computer. It is already grandmaster good, but lacking that hardware and being a distributed computing project like SETI at Home, it's coming along much more slowly.

Android brains may be in the offing sooner than we expect!

Edited to add: Data is way smarter.


Edited by Conrad Teves on 24 June 2018 at 2:15pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 2:45pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I shall check out TOWER OF GLASS, Mr Byrne. Sounds intriguing.

As ever, great replies, guys. This question popped into my head recently. I'm not entirely sure why, perhaps I have too much time on my hands!

EDIT: Whilst not the exact same number, my post count now is making me think of the TNG episode "11001001".




Edited by Robbie Parry on 24 June 2018 at 2:47pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 24 June 2018 at 9:30pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Much of the difference comes from Threepio's role as a stock-comedy character, but yeah, I can't see Data being at the same loss when Luke causes the chair to rise and the Ewoks all go into paroxysms of religious fervor. Threepio's pretty intuitive and can come up with a lie when he needs too, but that's not the same as Data's almost unlimited capacity for association and deep calculation.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 25 June 2018 at 5:40am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

As ever, great replies, guys. This question popped into my head recently. I'm not entirely sure why, perhaps I have too much time on my hands!

Not a problem, unless it leads you to wondering what the neighbor's kid would look like as a lamp.

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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 26 June 2018 at 8:19pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I agree with JB's answer.

But when it comes to C-3PO and R2D2, R2D2 is clearly the brains of that duo. C-3PO just thinks he knows everything.
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