Somebody relayed to me recently that something that bothered them was that Science Fiction writers keep assuming that computers for aliens (those not of Earth) would be the same as Earth's. This comment has bothered me since I heard it. I happen to be one of those people who will ponder concepts, ideas, problems, and such for days, weeks and even months before reaching a solution I am happy with. A solution that explains the situation, figures out the problem, in a way that I can live with, given my beliefs and limited education.
A computer at its very simplest form is a switch. It's on or it's off. From series and groupings of switches in various positions you get logic gates which can be used to compare, evaluate, or do mathematical functions with the values that are fed into it through various arrangements of on and off. Granted from this modest beginning we have definitely taken this to an extreme from the standpoint of where computers were just sixty years ago. I can't help but deduce that any computer system anywhere will be, has to be, a version or variation of what we have come up with. The computer language most definitely will be different, the sophistication of security may vary, and the means of putting data in and getting it out will probably look different.
Assuming an intelligent being has the faculties it would need to move and interact with the universe it would have to have some means of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch at even the basic levels. Their computer systems would be set up to take input from them, do the things that we need computers to do, and have means of displaying results, readings, and manipulations back out to the operators. The only futuristic setting which would greatly differ from this model would be intelligent machines that designe and built its own versions of machines for the various tasks it needs accomplished. I truly hope we never run into anything of the sort because we would be readily exterminated as a virus, or infestation of some sort.
Computers are too much pure logic, math based to be any different from ours. Just like an Alien race would have a systems of weight and measures. It wouldn't match ours but it would still be able to be convertible in short order. It would be the same with computer technology, it wouldn't match but it could be easily convertible once like items could be compared and at a base level it would still be a series of logic gates and switches. An Alien species can't have different math than we do. The symbols may differ but the concept is universal! It has to be! Nowhere in the universe because you're in a different place dealing with different species would two plus two equal anything but four.
That brings me to Music! If a being has the ability to listen, they will have music. It is another universal constant. At a base level it is frequencies, and timing. I honestly believe Physicists one of these days are going to stumble across the connection music plays, with vibrations and noise of differing means to all the other fields of physics and they will then have their grand unification theory which explains everything. Music is mathematics on a grand multi-dimensional level that actually incorporates time and the movement through time as it is being played.
I have read about ancient texts where supposedly machines were flown through the air using mercury and sound as the power for the lift and propulsion. I have also read and seen illustrations were a group of monks with instruments would get in a semi-circle and using the noise and tempo of the music to lift objects through the air. Primarily this was said to be used to move large cut stones from one place to another during the construction of temples and buildings. In the Bible the story of Jericho, the soldiers are told to circle the place so many times and then everybody stop turn toward the walls of the city and blow their horns and the walls of the city collapsed allowing them to attack the city. I can't say what I actually believe or not from these ancient texts, but I get the feeling there is a lot going on with the physics of sound and how it relates to us, the universe, and everything in between that we don't know about yet!
I had a face book status update this morning that related that I need a waterproof computer and a larger hot water tank to accommodate the bursts of brilliance I get in the shower some mornings. This is what hit me and occupied my mind from 6:15 – 6:30 today as I was preparing to start the day. It was much more elaborately spoken in my mind than I have written it here. I hate to think of the inspirations that have crossed my mind and might as well have went down the drain with the water, because they were never recalled, written about, or recorded in any fashion what so ever. Reason number 28 to have a Blog!