From what we've seen in TNG, DS9 and VOY, AI's became quite prevalent in Star Trek sometime around 2364...
We have the obvious choice in Data, then Starfleet's own Emergency Holograms, which are quite impressive AI's on their own...
I was wondering if there was ever an indication in any episode or book that the Federation actively started investigating the possibility of installing an AI system directly into the ships computer system?
It's obvious the ships computer, the Enterprise D / E, Voyager and Prometheus to name a few, are capable of this, running both EMH systems, holodecks, and the various Sentient Holograms we saw in TNG holodeck episodes.
And on the Prometheus episode of Voyager, we saw the ship was quite intelligent on its own, needing only 2 EMH's to actively run and assign attack / defence patterns while engaging the Romulans / Federation.
You'd think an active AI system built into the ships computer would be a logical step if the crew were incapacitated somehow, with Voyager's ECH system being a step in the right direction, but i was wondering if an AI controlled Starfleet ship had ever been explored in Trek before?