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In Star Trek, the universal translator can decode a language by simply listening to a fragment of alien speech. This would imply that language, like life, is quantifiable and that all forms of verbal communication share a universal code or pattern. But if this assumption doesn't hold true to all intelligent life, synthetic visual telepathy might come in handy. If the emergence of eyes is common to life across space so would be brain structures analogous to our visual cortex; another device capable of extrapolating the functioning of an alien's visual cortical areas, by stimulating its eye and scanning its brain, would then be able to directly interface with visual thought. Would this be the real universal translator?
originally posted by: thyextendedselfIf the emergence of eyes is common to life across space so would be brain structures analogous to our visual cortex; another device capable of extrapolating the functioning of an alien's visual cortical areas, by stimulating its eye and scanning its brain,
Radio waves are the lowest range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and since everything in the universe emits radio waves, seeing them would be ultimately useless.
How about eyeless extraterrestrials. Survival is the signature of life. Fear one of the emotions that fuels the survival instinct. Is all biological intelligent life emotional? Could a similar technology universally interface with emotion?
originally posted by: AdmireTheDistance
This is based on an awful lot of assumptions.....
Even if life, and intelligent life, is found to exist elsewhere, and we eventually come into contact with it, who's to say that it/they would have eyes? Our eyes only detect a very small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. It seems a lot more reasonable to think that life elsewhere in the universe might have evolved other organs that let them 'see', than it does to think that eyes are a common feature throughout the universe....Hell, we have species here on Earth that don't have eyes...
This means that primates and cetaceans have been on two different evolutionary trajectories for a very long time, and the result is not only two different body types but also two different kinds of brains. Primates, for example, have large frontal lobes, which are responsible for executive decision-making and planning. Dolphins don’t have much in the way of frontal lobes, but they still have an impressive flair for solving problems and, apparently, a capacity to plan for the future. We primates process visual information in the back of our brains and language and auditory information in the temporal lobes, located on the brain’s flanks. Dolphins process visual and auditory information in different parts of the neocortex, and the paths that information takes to get into and out of the cortex are markedly different. Dolphins also have an extremely well developed and defined paralimbic system for processing emotions. One hypothesis is that it may be essential to the intimate social and emotional bonds that exist within dolphin communities.
“A dolphin alone is not really a dolphin,” says Lori Marino, a biopsychologist and executive director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy. “Being a dolphin means being embedded in a complex social network. Even more so than with humans.”
Last summer I joined Herzing aboard her research boat, the R.V. Stenella, as she was preparing to run her first live trials with a complex new piece of machinery that she hopes will someday enable two-way communication between herself and the dolphins she has spent so long getting to know—and along the way illuminate how they communicate among themselves.
That piece of machinery is a shoebox-size cube of aluminum and clear plastic known as CHAT (cetacean hearing and telemetry), which Herzing wears underwater strapped to her chest. The 20-pound box has a small speaker and keyboard on its face and two hydrophones that look like eyes sticking out below. Inside, amid a tangle of wires and circuit boards sealed off from the corrosive effects of seawater, is a computer that can broadcast dolphins’ prerecorded signature whistles as well as dolphin-like whistles into the ocean at the push of a button and record any sounds that dolphins whistle back. If a dolphin repeats one of the dolphin-like whistles, the computer can convert the sound into words and then play them through a headset in Herzing’s ear.