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Old April 1 2014, 01:51 PM   #16
vulcan redshirt
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Forbin wrote: View Post
Are we talking fully automated ship with no crew? What would be the point of that? that's basically a space probe, and a space probe can be built MUCH smaller than any ship.
Or a combat drone.

Two of the three parts of the Prometheus were effectively drones, and you can even say that the whole thing was (since it was de-crewed) given that the two EMH's were simply computer programs.

TAS shows automated freighters as nothing out of the ordinary, so it would seem normal that in peacetime, scheduled freight runs may often have been made by unmanned ships. Only unusual runs, or ships that needed to cross customs borders would need to be crewed.
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Old April 1 2014, 02:15 PM   #17
Shawnster
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Isn't an automated ship a probe? Nomad, Vger, Doomsday Machine? Even the Fesarius was pretty automated. So was the Romulan remote control ship.
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Old April 1 2014, 02:27 PM   #18
Timo
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Are we talking fully automated ship with no crew? What would be the point of that? that's basically a space probe, and a space probe can be built MUCH smaller than any ship.
Or then not, depending on the state of the art. Warp propulsion systems may be the size-defining factor, meaning that Friendship 1 without crew might not be any smaller than Friendship 1 with crew...

Isn't an automated ship a probe?
Of a crewed one, for that matter. The junior Christopher from "Tomorrow is Yesterday" supposedly commanded a "probe" to Saturn, and it probably wasn't from an Earth-bound console because it was supposed to be the first such probe in the early 21st century, in a universe where crewed interplanetary travel was routine in the 1990s and interstellar uncrewed probes were being sent in 2002.

We don't know much about the Starfleet terminology regarding automated ships, but we do hear some research ones being called "probes", some transport ones being called "robot ships", and some combat and spying ones being called "drones", without much overlap. FWIW.

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Old April 1 2014, 02:53 PM   #19
Richard Baker
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

It al depends on the plot needs. In the final days of the Dominion War the Federation had to deal with orbital weapons platforms- which were very effective automated systems until somebody fooled them into firing at their control hub.
By logic you could build a good fast ship without a crew- no life support, just enough inertial dampeners to keep the hardware from flying loose, no decking (just some Jefferies tubes... Without a crew component you could build specialized attack vessel faster than a fully crewed ship. Use holographic damage control/repair units which could conform to any size/shape needed and provide their own tools...
We have seen in Trek before how things can go wrong with the Human element removed, but it all depends on what story you are trying to tell.
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Old April 1 2014, 03:09 PM   #20
Timo
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Amusingly, we have about as many stories of machines going haywire as we have stories of benign machinery becoming a terrible threat because the human element is inserted. Madmen, steel-nerved criminals, cornered heroes and good-intentioned innocents all take turns in using machinery and automation for evil.

In terms of crime/disaster prevention, removing the people would probably help as much as removing the automation. And the former action would still allow the missions to be conducted, while the latter perhaps would not.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 1 2014, 04:26 PM   #21
DangerLRobinson
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Mining ships can be automated and maybe an escape pod or runabout
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Old April 1 2014, 05:36 PM   #22
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

What happens when the automated ships are hacked?
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Old April 1 2014, 06:31 PM   #23
vulcan redshirt
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

THen you have a problem. However I would guess that a sort of dead man's handle program could be hard-wired to cause a self-destruct in the event of tampering . Not unbreakable but would make hijack / theft more difficult. The Cardassian Dreadnought was effectively a drone ship rather than a missile, given its level of AI and its ability to provide life support, and that got hacked.

the main use I would see for automated ships would be perhaps as shepherded cargo ships. one crewed cargo hauler flying with a number of cargo drones that don't need to waste space on crew facilities (no crew quarters, minimal life support, minimal computing and gravity). Crew could beam over if needed to effect repairs or defend in the event of attack.
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Old April 1 2014, 09:26 PM   #24
Shaka Zulu
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
I always saw it as serious over compensation for lacking in other areas, you know, like an original plot
Define what you mean by an 'original plot' (and keep in mind that there is no such thing as 'there is nothing new under the sun'.)
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Old April 1 2014, 10:09 PM   #25
Robert Comsol
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Timo wrote: View Post
Open display of personal weapons might be purely symbolic, too. Other "alternative timelines" do it a lot...
Agreed, but I found this piece of dialogue from "Yesterday's Enterprise" interesting:

KLINGON [OC]: Federation ship Enterprise. Surrender and prepare to be boarded.
PICARD: That will be the day.

Considering the ship was about to have a warp core breach, I found these Klingons rather bold, but apparently their goal was not to destroy ships (like in a "total war") but to capture these.

Bob
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Old April 1 2014, 10:33 PM   #26
Timo
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Excellent point!

I wonder how the Klingons would proceed with such boarding if there was no surrender... They'd know by now that Starfleet personnel are armed to repel them, so they might not consider it beneath their warrior's honor to beam in a few bombs first (poison, high explosive, mere flash-bang, take your pick). And how would they feel about automated defenses - especially the Federation ones with stun gas and the risk of getting captured alive?

(Boarding a wholly automated ship might pose even greater dangers to a warrior's life and honor. What would it mean to one's reputation to be defeated by an automaton? I gather robotic ore or grain transports and the like are fairly safe from burglary or capture, considering the devious traps one could set aboard, but can of course be destroyed. Robotic dilithium transports, OTOH, might still tempt the bold and the greedy.)

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 2 2014, 03:27 AM   #27
killerbee256
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

vulcan redshirt wrote: View Post
THen you have a problem. However I would guess that a sort of dead man's handle program could be hard-wired to cause a self-destruct in the event of tampering.
Even this could be used against the operator of the ship. Think of it, you wouldn't need to blow up the enemy ship with firepower, all you'd have to do is try and hack it and it would blow it's self up.
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Old April 2 2014, 04:35 AM   #28
T'Girl
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

vulcan redshirt wrote: View Post
Two of the three parts of the Prometheus were effectively drones ...
And in The Managerie, the entire TOS Enterprise was basically a drone.

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
What happens when the automated ships are hacked?
Or start making their own decisions? If an automated ship is to perform many of the same missions as the crewed ship, the auto-ship would have to have a certain level of sapience.

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Old April 2 2014, 11:06 AM   #29
anh165
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

M5 + Vengeance = overp0w3red oMg
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Old April 2 2014, 11:37 AM   #30
Robert Comsol
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Timo wrote: View Post
Robotic dilithium transports, OTOH, might still tempt the bold and the greedy.
Apparently, it didn't matter to "The Pirates of Orion" whether the USS Huron was automated or manned by a small crew.

I don't recall its crew to activate any defense measures and certainly an AI could have just made a distress call. Thus, to have this ship manned with people just created the potential for unpleasant hostage negotiations (had the Orions decided to abduct the crew, too).

Bob
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