Pidgin Lobes

Pidgin lobe
Image from Steve Bowers

Pidgin Lobes are language modules that can be plugged into a cyborg's exocortex to facilitate language translation. They are small self-contained units which can be quickly swapped over. Once connected, the Lobe establishes a connection to any or all auditory and vocal systems which are present (whether those systems are biological or not) and to the speech centres of the biological brain and/or their artificial equivalent. Many cyborgs have redundant artificial and biological systems for many purposes and can use either, or both, simultaneously. It is not unusual for a cyborg to be able to speak in several languages at the same time.

A Pidgin Lobe enables a translation expert system to act as an intermediary between perceived language and the user. It automatically translates languages it knows into the owner's selected language, and when the owner speaks it can translate the message into a new language and do the speaking. As a bonus the Lobe provides some auditory control (the user can change the volume and pitch of hearing, filter it or do other signal processing). There is a limited version (the Pidgin Lite) that just translates to the owner and does not speak.

Pidgin Lobes were developed by and for cyborgs in the First Federation Era, specifically for individuals with a large proportion of their biological body replaced by artificial systems; but in the Current Era the line between cyborgs and other augmented bionts has become blurred, and Pidgin Lobes or their equivalent are a common accessory for many types of sophont. So-called Babel programs are integrated into most, if not all Direct Neural Interface systems or included in the Exocortex as a subroutine; these programs can be upgraded by data-link whenever a new language is encountered.

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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers
based on material by Anders Sandberg
Initially published on 29 March 2017.