Politically Correct Nonsense

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Dinosaur, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    A recent article in a special issue of Popular Science mentions the Voyager Golden Records of circa 1977. Some of the content was plausible and might be intelligible if discovered by a technological intelligent culture.

    It seems very unlikely that the Voyager will ever be discovered by an ET technological culture, but the project was not costly compared to various questionable government projects. I think SETI projects are financed by private donations, so perhaps an it was a worthwhile project with an ultra slim chance of success.

    One set of data included was politically correct nonsense. It was a short greeting recorded in 155 languages.

    While a technological culture might be able to make sense out of some of the data, the decryption of that short greeting would be a miracle. Anyone with some knowledge of cryptology would know that there would be a slim chance of decrypting a message in a single language which was 155 times as long as one of the individual greetings. The same short message in 155 languages has extremely little, (likely zero) chance of being intelligible.
     
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  3. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    No one will ever find it. So why not send a hello to the cosmos, it's fun.
     
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    The content of the message is not the message.

    The content, delivered by a wide array of peoples, indicating the diversity of cultures that defines us, is the message. It says who we are.

    Surely this is obvious.
     
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  7. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    " The medium is the message."
     
  8. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    ^^^
    No 1 can know that.

    <>
     
  9. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    It's was an opinion.
     
  10. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Not true, there is every chance that an intelligence could tell that it might be the same message in different languages. That fact alone is relevant to developing a picture of human life on Earth.
     
  11. birch Valued Senior Member

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    maybe they will pick up the "historical records" ala galaxy quest.
     
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  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I think the probability of them inferring that is close to 1.

    Indeed the authors of the plaque certainly felt that the qualities of humanity was just as important a message as the hard data.
     
  13. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Rosetta stone anyone?

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  14. RADII Registered Member

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    Just what I was thinking! All they would have to do is decrypt [successfully] one of the salutations, & now they have a linguistic Rosetta Stone for the Earth.
     
  15. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    When I lived in London I regularly visited the museum where it lives and spent at least 5 minutes looking at it every visit

    I would have bought a souvenir of it but they only make full size replicas. Not sure if that is still the case

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  16. RADII Registered Member

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    I read a book in the last couple of decades [damn! that sounds a lot worse outside my head!] that depicted the work of Champollion on the Stone, & then also treated the efforts to decipher Linears 'A' (unsuccessfully) & 'B' (successfully), plus some three or four of the other indecipherables extant today. I remember thinking I'm not sure I'd have the perseverance.
     
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    A single word cannot be decrypted. Not without a key, and not without context.
    A single word is just that: a single word.

    They might guess that it is a greeting, but they hve absolutely no way to confirm that.
    And even if they did, it would tell them virtually nothing about the languages they came from.
     
  18. RADII Registered Member

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    If all the information objects are the same or similar length, & one is decrypted successfully, then the others can be safely assumed to convey the same meaning. Linguistically, then, all they have to do is look for repetitive patterns of (in this case) similar phonemes, & they should be well on their way to cracking the code.
     
  19. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    There was a story in Reader's Digest years ago: A lady on vacation in Switzerland noticed that many of the signs were in three languages: English (for the tourists), French and German. One sign said in English, "Please don't pick the flowers", in French, "People who enjoy the flowers leave them for other people to enjoy," and in German, "It is VERBOTEN to pick the flowers."

    I wonder if an alien would get the subtle differences.
     
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. In fact, I would take it a step further, and say they don't need to decrypt the content itself, in order to deduce that the disparate units all represent the same content - a placeholder - and that it is the variations of the same content that is the actual message.

    I'd think its also not a big leap for them to deduce that the content is a greeting. It is sort of self-evident that the initial act of communication is, first and foremost, a greeting, even if there might be other subtleties to the message.




    Cracking what code, exactly?

    The single repeated term tells them that there are many flavours of humans; but it says absolutely nothing about the rest of our vocabulary. That can only be deduced in the context of a longer message, which they don't have.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I agree. The aliens could listen to the different voices, but they'd have very little chance of extracting any meaning from those recordings.

    Only it wasn't even the same message in 155 languages. Every person who recorded a greeting message recorded their own personal greeting message. Each message was different.
     
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  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Do you agree with the entire quoted statement? That it is politically correct nonsense?

    Surely, the value of the message is about the variety and multitude of human civilization, not about the data in the messages. The GR was meant to be a greeting, not a Rosetta Stone.

    Sonuvagun. It's been so long since I read up on the Golden Record, I either forgot - or never knew - that the messages are significantly longer than one word each, and that they are all unique.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_Voyager_Golden_Record#Greetings
     
  23. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    And in hindsight I guess nobody thought to put something like a dictionary with translations across the languages in single equivalent words and pronouncement links?

    Along with a video of the speaker?

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