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Old April 2 2014, 11:32 PM   #31
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

"Pirates of Orion" leaves many questions open about the nature, actions and fate of the Huron crew. Which is only understandable, as the cartoon cannot show the pirates doing the logical thing and slaughtering the poor folks; the camera looks away during the actual encounter with the raiders. All we know is that skipper O'Shea survived against odds (apparently he was mistaken for dead, but McCoy was a better judge of that than the Orions), and wasn't able to tell who the attackers were but did provide data and imagery on what their ship looked like.

It could well be that these people are aboard exactly because Starfleet believes that only wetware should have the authority to fire weapons, and any ship hauling expensive items such as weapons-grade dilithium must be actively defended...

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Old April 2 2014, 11:36 PM   #32
JirinPanthosa
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
The idea of separating out huge parts of the ship is kind of silly to me. It makes much more sense to have automated detachable parts that are just mobile weapons platforms.

I suppose when you watch Star Trek you have to drink the production cool-aid that the most effective way to wage war is to use a lot of kilometer long barely maneuverable high surface area art-deco pieces with the most vulnerable areas jutting out on the sides and the command center directly on the surface.

There's no reason not to have it automated, if a raiding party can somehow get aboard and get hold of usable command codes they can control the ship whether or not it's automated. If *waves hand* designing your warships around dragging your living areas around with your combat units is a good idea, the Vengeance makes perfect sense.
For some reason I thought this topic was about the ship in Message In A Bottle that separates into 3 parts and runs its own attack pattern, probably because that is the first 'Automated ship' that comes to mind for me.
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Old April 2 2014, 11:44 PM   #33
Timo
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

I'm not sure what good it would actually do to leave the crew home. "Extra weight" is meaningless, as lighter starships aren't shown to outperform heavier ones. Being lighter does not make you more maneuverable, and being more maneuverable does not help you win fights. The same goes for volume: being 80% smaller than the opponent makes no difference in the ability to dodge.

Humans don't add fragility to the equation, either, as anti-inertia fields protect them from accelerations only machinery (if that) could otherwise take, shields protect them from radiation only machinery (if that) could otherwise take, and so forth - and IDFs and shields also vitally protect the machinery in ways mere acceleration- or radiation-hardening would not.

As for exposing the command center or X or Y, that's a given: something is always exposed. If the ship can't take exposure, she ain't fit to fight anyway.

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Old April 3 2014, 11:37 AM   #34
anh165
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

"It takes four hundred thirty people to man a starship.

With this, you don't need anyone. One machine can do all those things they send men out to do now. Men no longer need die in space, or on some alien world. Men can live, and go on to achieve greater things than fact-finding and dying for galactic space, which is neither ours to give or to take."
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Old April 3 2014, 12:57 PM   #35
Forbin
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Location: I said out, dammit!
Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

The man was a loon, ya know.
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Old April 3 2014, 01:04 PM   #36
Robert Comsol
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Well, Daystrom's little speech didn't seem entirely accurate. After all there still were apparently some things the M-5 couldn't do himself, like beaming down to a planet and conduct scientific studies.

"Men no longer need die in space." Yes, several hundreds of lives could have been spared had the M-5 never gotten in control.

Bob
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Old April 3 2014, 01:49 PM   #37
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

If Daystrom didn't believe the galaxy was mankind's to give or take, why would he support the sending of starships there, crewed or uncrewed? Surely the correct choice then would be to stay home and to tell the machines to stay, too.

It seems likely that ol' Dickie gave a somewhat different sales pitch to those Starfleet representatives who approved the test program, including the final wargames...

Automated ships would be useful for an openly imperialistic or clinically paranoid culture, of course. But Starfleet had just had an encounter with an automated berserker machine some 500 stardate units prior to this episode. Were they really going to fight fire with fire, despite seeing how senseless the concept was?

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Old April 3 2014, 04:30 PM   #38
Forbin
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Can't quite recall the novel I read many years ago. An unknown and unknowable alien race decided to destroy the Earth and sent Von Neumann machines, rather than showing up themselves. The Von Neumann machines self-replicated by using the entire planet for raw material, and Earth eventually tore itself apart from the stress. The aliens never even had to leave home, and we never knew who killed us.
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Old April 3 2014, 08:32 PM   #39
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Forge of God by Greg Bear, I presume. The sequel, Anvil of Stars, is even nastier, especially when it's revealed what the von Neumann machine culture uses as home base... Automated ships appear in many roles in the sequel.

That Kirk and Spock would assume that the DDM is an accidentally released ultimate vengeance weapon, rather than a normally working dedicated berserker, is a bit surprising: the concept of preemptive planet-killers (whether self-replicating or not) had been around for a while already when the episode was written.

We don't have to assume that our heroes got it right, of course. It's pretty enjoyable to gradually find out how wrong our TNG heroes originally were about the Borg! And quite a relief for the UFP that our TOS heroes never got the chance to find out more about the DDM.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 3 2014, 09:15 PM   #40
Shaka Zulu
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Timo wrote: View Post
"Pirates of Orion" leaves many questions open about the nature, actions and fate of the Huron crew. Which is only understandable, as the cartoon cannot show the pirates doing the logical thing and slaughtering the poor folks; the camera looks away during the actual encounter with the raiders.
A North American cartoon of the period couldn't; a Japanese cartoon of the period could (and most likely did.) That's why I'd love it if the next Star Trek cartoon was done in Japan, or at least by somebody with an adult sensibility, or two shows are done; one for kids, and one for adults.
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Old April 3 2014, 10:12 PM   #41
JirinPanthosa
Commodore
 
Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

What's the fun of exploration if you don't go there yourself? You can send a machine out to conduct mineral surveys but you can't send one out to create diplomatic relations to other cultures. And taking a picture of a planet is not the same as the visceral experience of going there and becoming immersed in its culture.

Sending starships to explore space isn't the same as 'Taking' it. At least, not if you did it the way Star Trek does it, I guess if you did it the way real humans do it, it would be 'Taking' it.

If your goal is best combat performance you'd probably want humans doing the strategic decision making and robots doing the aiming.
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Old April 4 2014, 07:51 AM   #42
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

You can send a machine out to conduct mineral surveys but you can't send one out to create diplomatic relations to other cultures.
Sure you can, if it has a carbon neutronium shell and a pure antiproton beam... In nine cases out of ten, diplomatic relations will very quickly follow!

And taking a picture of a planet is not the same as the visceral experience of going there and becoming immersed in its culture.
That would depend on the state of the virtual reality art, I guess.

Exploration for the sake of thrills is an elitist hobby, as only a tiny fraction of mankind will be attending. Bringing it to the masses via VR might help - but if it's deemed worth doing at all, it will probably very quickly escalate into true colonization. Or, if immersion is sought, immigration.

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Old April 5 2014, 05:53 PM   #43
Tribble puncher
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

I think the whole underlying point of Federation Technology is to Give citizens of the Federation a purpose, A reason for being. Sure they could build Automated Starships that could Explore and Relay data Back to Starfleet Command, Or automated Battleships that could Patrol the Borders and escort (automated) cargo tugs to and from destinations. but whats the fun in that? You would have a Giant welfare State, The Federation would quickly Turn in the AXIOM from WAL-E. And I'm sure (In the trek verse anyway) that most other races realized that once the became an Intergalactic Civilisation that Purposing their general citizenry in one way or another was better for the species as a whole than simply automating everything.
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Old April 5 2014, 07:37 PM   #44
Robert Comsol
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Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

^^ I wholeheartedly concur. From "The Ultimate Computer":

KIRK: Granted, it can work a thousand, a million times faster than the human brain, but it can't make a value judgment. It hasn't intuition. It can't think.

KIRK: Machine over man, Spock? It was impressive. It might even be practical.
SPOCK: Practical, Captain? Perhaps. But not desirable. Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them. Captain the starship also runs on loyalty to one man, and nothing can replace it, or him.

Bob
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Old April 7 2014, 01:10 PM   #45
anh165
Commander
 
Re: automated ships a good or bad idea?

Not all captains and crews can match the abilities and qualities of Kirk's crew, but when you look at the typical 90's morning TV chat show type personnel in Berman-trek, I would send an automated ship to explore or dispatch threats any time.
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