2
$\begingroup$

In my world, an alien species went to visit a medieval fantasy world with the intention of colonizing it. They sent out a scout robot that can look and act like a human. His mission is just to get information on the governments and the capability of this world.

Though this is a medieval era world, the engineers for this robot did no forget to give it weapons to protect itself. Its information drive is also fitted with anti-infiltration systems like passwords, retina scans and voice recognition. Only the creators of this robot could access the information drive.

On the other hand, this world has people that could read minds. Their job is to inspect the local populace every now and then to see if they have bad intent. They have some trouble reading strong-willed minds. There’s at least five of them in every city.

Given a data storage drive with all sorts of security measures; could mind-readers peer into it?

$\endgroup$
1
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ This question is impossible to answer unless you also tell us how your telepathy works on a technical level. If your telepathy works via magic, then it's whatever you as the author decides. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Mar 3 '20 at 1:46
5
$\begingroup$

Psionics is often described as science, distinct from magic.

Even if pseudoscience is a better label. Psionics would come with a technobabble of cause and effect. Obstacles to scanning the mind of an alien robot:

  • Robots may or may not send the mind waves that are understandable by the mind readers. Think digital radio vs. analog radio. An analog receiver will get just noise.
  • Psionics may or may not come with an universal translator. As far as complex thoughts are bound in language, how do the readers understand it?

Of course that would mean the mind-readers would be able to notice the absence of normal thoughts.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ If psionics is language-based, you wouldn't be able to read the minds of foreigners, let alone the minds of robots. "He's thinking in German again, sir. I don't know German." $\endgroup$
    – Jedediah
    Mar 3 '20 at 11:38
4
$\begingroup$

Only you can decide if your robots can have their minds read. The preponderance of fiction that I have encountered would suggest that artificial intelligence is immune to mind reading. However, mind reading versus robots is completely up to you. Your story, your world. That being said...

Password Protection is Likely Irrelevant to Telepathy

To the extent that your robot thinks, and that your telepaths can perceive and decipher the thoughts of others, retinal scans and passwords are not going to add security. A telepath isn't plugging in through some kind of access port, nor yet attempting to get the robot to willingly give up its thoughts. There is no front door or back door to a human mind, so you would assume that a telepath is skipping straight to the MIND. No keys or locks or encryption would be meaningful if the telepath is using the robot's own understanding of itself to understand the robot.

Biology May Be Too Different

You could argue, on the other hand, that whatever kind of thinking the robot does, the mechanism is too foreign for understanding by telepathy. Maybe the telepath links to the soul, and the robot has no soul. Maybe telepathy interprets each individual's unique neurological structure, but microchips, or whatever the robot has, just don't make sense by the interpretive logic of psychic abilities.

However, if the mind of the robot cannot be read at all, your psychics are sure to at least notice that something is very, very wrong with this individual.

It would be interesting if the telepaths could get at whatever the robot explicitly thinks about, but could not guess at what unretrieved information was buried in its memory banks. Even if they could perceive the robot's thinking, it might be organized in a way that is very different from the loose, associative way people tend to think about things.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Totally!

The connection might be that both brains and chips operate by utilizing electrical surges. These generate electromagnetic fields which could be encrypted using any of the normal ways of doing that.

With such a prevalence of mind reading, the humans have created methods to shield or obfuscate their thoughts, that can be considered basically encryption.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

I’d Say No

The way brains and computers store and process data is fundamentally different.. This is because our brains aren’t addition machines operating purely on math; they are operating under an entirely different basis, one based on patterns and symbolic connections that grows and contracts as needed.

The comparison between the human brain is a computer is an analogy, and an imperfect one at that.

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.