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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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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 10:45am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Right. And I consider his "fluent in over six million forms of communication" akin to Han's "Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs"...both are boasts meant to ellicit trust in their abilities. 


Although, I suppose SOLO has made the Kessel Run a "real" thing and detailed every bit of it and somehow justified using parsec as a unit of time. Haven't seen it, just figuring they took a throwaway bullshit line and built a movie around it....rather than, you know...just leaving it alone.  


Edited by Brian Rhodes on 28 June 2018 at 10:37am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Are there any other in context examples of robots boasting?
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 5:17pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Well, Robby did exclaim hes spoke 187 languages and various dialects and some such thing.

but it didn't really come across as a boast to me, more like giving info to be helpful.
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Christopher Frost
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Posted: 27 June 2018 at 8:43pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Threepio is basically a walking universal translator with a large database on diplomacy, protocol, etc. He's designed for a specific function and is highly capable in that arena.

Data was designed to be an artificial human and that carries with it a broader range of capabilities. 

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 28 June 2018 at 8:26pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Having recently rewatched all of TNG, I'd say hands-down that Data is smarter.

As Brian Floyd so astutely noted, Threepio just thinks he's the brains of the duo. Artoo is clearly the smart one.

Also agree with what Christopher said. Threepio has one job, but, in the vast majority of the films, he's out of his element and his depth. Data was built as an artificial human with freedom of choice to learn and grow as he saw fit, and he chose to join Starfleet.

While I don't see Threepio's line about being fluent in six million forms of communication as a boast, Data has great ability to multitask, as well as comprehensive, er, data banks. Based on what we see of them, it's no contest regarding who's smarter.

Also, Data's super-strong, super-tough, and programmed in multiple techniques. A broad variety of pleasuring. Only' Threepio's, infamous, vintage trading card can come close to claiming the same. *Ahem.*

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 29 June 2018 at 9:56am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 June 2018 at 4:40am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Time for a quick comparison of knowledge and intelligence. Knowledge is what we know, intelligence is what we do with it.

As Greg notes, Threepio spends much of his time out of "his" depth, not really understanding what's going on around him. That's because he's been loaded up with all kinds of knowledge, but without the necessary acuity to really do anything with it.

Data, on the other hand, was created to "adopt, adapt and improve," to borrow the motto of the Round Table.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 29 June 2018 at 10:02am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Exactly. Threepio is a translator (and an awkward, slow-moving one at that) who is thrown into the middle of a war. Artoo is much more prepared to deal with the situations they get into, since he was designed as a spaceship mechanic. He’s essentially a Swiss Army knife of a droid, and is clearly highly-intelligent and designed for problem-solving. 

Threepio’s particular areas of knowledge (languages, etiquette, and protocol) don’t lend themselves very well to combat situations!
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 29 June 2018 at 10:15am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

A question (and, please, just the original movie, at least at first): to what extent are the "personalities" of Threepio (e.g., fretful) and Artoo (e.g., spunky) literally built into them as a product of their design function?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 29 June 2018 at 11:10am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

That’s an interesting question.

Threepio is obviously programmed with a certain degree of personality/social skills to facilitate his performance of his job. I get the impression that much of his personality as seen in the films (nervous, fussy) comes from his being thrown into situations that his programming wasn’t designed to handle.

Artoo, on the other hand, is specifically stated to have an unusual level of devotion for a droid, and Threepio notes that “these astrodroids are getting quite out of hand”. So, I kinda get the vibe that Artoo’s programming is more complex than Threepio’s, and so his personality is probably an outgrowth of that. As noted, Artoo is a problem-solver by design, and his sassiness probably comes from his ability to see problems, but, in certain situations, not necessarily being able to deal with them. And, his having to rely upon Threepio to translate his observations and suggestions to the human characters must be especially annoying!
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