RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 139,643
Posts: 5,427,909
Members: 24,811
Currently online: 411
Newest member: Damix

TrekToday headlines

Trek Messenger Bag
By: T'Bonz on Sep 18

Star Trek Live In Concert In Australia
By: T'Bonz on Sep 18

IDW Publishing December Trek Comics
By: T'Bonz on Sep 17

September Loot Crate Features Trek Surprise
By: T'Bonz on Sep 16

USS Enterprise Miniature Out For Refit
By: T'Bonz on Sep 16

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes Comic Crossover
By: T'Bonz on Sep 16

Trek 3 Shooting Next Spring?
By: T'Bonz on Sep 16

Star Trek: Alien Domain Game Announced
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Red Shirt Diaries Episode Three
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15

Made Out Of Mudd Photonovel
By: T'Bonz on Sep 15


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Welcome to the Trek BBS! > General Trek Discussion

General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 9 2014, 02:34 AM   #1
Emperor Norton
Lieutenant Commander
 
Emperor Norton's Avatar
 
Is the Holodeck Evil?

"Tell me something, Dixon. When you've gone.... will this world still exist?.. Will my wife and kids still be waiting for me at home?" - McNary from "The Big Goodbye"

What that episode, which I believe introduced the holodeck, set up was both sides of that device. On the on hand, it's fun and adventure (minus the occasional glitch). On the other hand, it creates a serious moral crisis not dealt with enough which is captured in that quote. You're creating beings, denying them the chance to be anything, and then -with their ignorance- erasing their existence when the fun is over. And the easy thing to say is that they don't really have emotions and are just facsimiles, but we've seen that is not the case time and time again, from Moriarty to the Doctor. Even if you argue they only gain sentience later, there is still the moral dilemma that you are denying a being who would gain sentience the right and ability to do so. You could argue the same things they argued for Data's sentience and definition of being a being.

And as we saw with "The Big Goodbye", the only solution hinted at is just not to inform anyone they're holograms created for amusement. That doesn't solve any of the moral dilemmas; it just sweeps it under the rug and creates a blissful ignorance on both sides.

Thoughts?
Emperor Norton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 02:50 AM   #2
Mr. Laser Beam
Fleet Admiral
 
Mr. Laser Beam's Avatar
 
Location: The visitor's bullpen
View Mr. Laser Beam's Twitter Profile
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Emperor Norton wrote: View Post
And the easy thing to say is that they don't really have emotions and are just facsimiles, but we've seen that is not the case time and time again, from Moriarty to the Doctor.
Moriarty and the EMH are special cases. They are hardly representative of all holodeck characters.

To put it another way: If a computer programmer creates a CGI image of a person saying he or she is alive, does that actually make that CGI character alive? Of course not. It's just an image of a person saying it is. An image is not a being - it's just an image, nothing more. And if a robot is made to resemble a human being, and programmed to say it's alive, it's still not alive. Just because it SAYS it is, doesn't mean it REALLY is.

It's the Uncanny Valley, writ large.

Same goes for most holodeck characters. It's only in very unique circumstances that sentience develops.
__________________
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
Mr. Laser Beam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 02:50 AM   #3
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Every holo-character on the holodeck is the ship's computer. All of them, no exceptions, Moriarty, McNary, Leah, etc. They're just programs created by the computer based on requests and statement of the people (real people) who want to enjoy the holodeck.

The holo-character have no brains in their skulls.

T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 02:54 AM   #4
Mr. Laser Beam
Fleet Admiral
 
Mr. Laser Beam's Avatar
 
Location: The visitor's bullpen
View Mr. Laser Beam's Twitter Profile
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

And it can even be argued that the EMH and Moriarty still aren't sentient. How can you prove they are? For all we know, they're just computer programs hard-coded to say they are alive. It doesn't make them so.

Biological beings, such as humans, are not subject to programming. Computers are.
__________________
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
Mr. Laser Beam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 03:04 AM   #5
J. Allen
Science Is Magic™
 
J. Allen's Avatar
 
Location: Equestria
Send a message via ICQ to J. Allen Send a message via AIM to J. Allen Send a message via Windows Live Messenger to J. Allen Send a message via Yahoo to J. Allen
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Certainly we are subject to programming. Our programming is in our DNA, it's in our culture, in how we perceive the world. We are constantly being reprogrammed, updated, revised.

Now, regarding the holodeck, I believe most of the creations are merely simulacra, but that it has been shown that the Enterprise computer is likely sentient, considering what it has done in the past, and how it responds to certain requests. A sentient creature is aware of subjective nature. They can think, feel, form opinions, and are aware of themselves. Whether they are alive in the biological sense is not the issue; if they can think, feel, and are self aware, then it is beholden to us to preserve their rights, ones held by all sentient beings.
__________________
"I'm Star Swirl the Bearded! Father of the amniomorphic spell?
Did you even read that book I gave you about obscure unicorn history?" - Twilight Sparkle
-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Brony Kingdom
J. Allen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 03:27 AM   #6
JirinPanthosa
Commodore
 
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Biological beings, such as humans, are not subject to programming.
That's been proven false.

And it implies that if you created a computer that could not be reprogrammed it would be sentient. Programmability is not the litmus test for sentience.

Anyway, most holodeck programs are not very complex and can not be called sentient.

I can't prove that the Doctor is sentient. But I can't really prove I'm sentient either, so...
JirinPanthosa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 03:27 AM   #7
2takesfrakes
Commodore
 
2takesfrakes's Avatar
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

The problem I have with Living Holodeck Characters, from a viewer perspective - and writer's perspective, frankly - is that there's really no point to them. Until the EMH got his mobile emitter, those rare few characters were sort of tragic, in all that they had was fantasy. Even Vina from The Cage had known all of reality before her accident. And once The Doctor did get his emitter, outside of his innocent fascination with the real world and his invulnerability, he was just learning about The Human Condition. He didn't even have to be a hologram for that.

But all of these characters are at the mercy of the limitations of a writer's imagination. They can't evolve to a perspective that's truly alien to us, otherwise no one could write for it. So, they ALL plateau at the realization and acquisition of Human sentiments and they never evolve, uniquely. They end up being portrayed just as ordinary people who haven't lost their sense of wonder. In that sense, the Holodeck is very evil, because it's not a better or even different song to sing. It just acts as a redress for standard television tropes.
2takesfrakes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 03:58 AM   #8
TayLaLaLa
Commodore
 
TayLaLaLa's Avatar
 
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Totally!

ETA: Photons Be Free!

MORE: As the tech advances you could safely send machines to explore and interact with aliens while humans or whomever could safely experience it in a holodeck.
TayLaLaLa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 08:27 AM   #9
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Denying a creature from becoming sentient or staying so is hardly a heinous crime limited to the holodeck context. Once the technology to create sentients without a nine-month wait is perfected, it follows that every nanosecond not spent pressing the "make a sentient" button is a crime that denies people-in-potentia their chance for existence and happiness. But it's not a crime we should be categorically worried about, any more than we should worry about being baby murderers because we aren't keeping our wives constantly pregnant. The ethical decisions involve a more intimate level: we face one baby-making decision at at time without needing to concern ourselves with the "agony" of the fifty kids that could potentially be born before the mother dies of exhaustion.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 10:59 AM   #10
Shawnster
Fleet Captain
 
Shawnster's Avatar
 
Location: Clinton, OH
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Every holo-character on the holodeck is the ship's computer. All of them, no exceptions, Moriarty, McNary, Leah, etc. They're just programs created by the computer based on requests and statement of the people (real people) who want to enjoy the holodeck.

The holo-character have no brains in their skulls.

This.

Every time someone on a Starfleet ship went on and on about how they met this famous person or that famous person (nor not so famous), I just wanted to bang my head. "No Reg, you weren't just arguing physics with Einstein, you were arguing with the Ship's Computer."

Holograms cannot be smarter than the ship's computer. Where is the data or knowledge for a hologram stored? In the ship's computer. How did the ship's computer get all that knowledge? It was programmed or input by someone on the outside.

A computer is just a collection or the sum of it's knowledge.

They used every observable data point, every journal entry, every diary bit, every paper ever written by Leah Brahms to create her hologram. The computer gave some far-fetched nonsense about how 99.99% accurate (or whatever) it was to the real person, with a margin of error. Even IF, IF, IF that were true and capable of creating a hologram indistinguishable from the real person, that still cannot hold true for every historical figure. There is less data available, less diaries and journals for example, from Albert Einstein than Leah Brahms. Even less data to go on for Da Vinci. It's not possible to recreate these "ancient" personas and have them be anywhere near accurate.

Yet they all wanted to believe that Reg was arguing physics with Einstein.
Shawnster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 11:24 AM   #11
Gov Kodos
Admiral
 
Gov Kodos's Avatar
 
Location: Gov Kodos Regretably far from Boston
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

It's just half assed technology with crappy OSHA requirements. Given what it can supposedly do, why not have holo-ships go out and do the exploring? Find suitable worlds, use the transporter and replicator tech to whip up instant colonies? Instead, we have a silly videogame that rather than shut down when a system fault occurs tries to kill everyone. That makes sense. These are the same engineers who don't understand surge protection to keep the crew from getting a face full of exploding control panels, or just installing seat belts.
__________________
We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound... our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. We live in music, in a flash of color... we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star! Endora, Bewitched
Gov Kodos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 9 2014, 09:29 PM   #12
varek
Commander
 
varek's Avatar
 
Location: Danville, IN, USA
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

The holodeck is what its users make of it. They bring their own ideas and moralities with them.
But, I wonder if there might be some artificial intelligence involved in the holograms.
__________________
Varek, Vulcan Engineer
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations
Time, like latinum, is a limited commodity.
varek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10 2014, 02:25 PM   #13
2takesfrakes
Commodore
 
2takesfrakes's Avatar
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Given what it can supposedly do, why not have holo-ships go out and do the exploring? Find suitable worlds, use the transporter and replicator tech to whip up instant colonies?
This idea holds promise. In fact, why don't regular starships have Holo-Emitters on sticks that you stick in the ground in a rectangular, or triangular configuration, which would beam out the desired holographic structure(s) and all that? I'm liking this idea ...
2takesfrakes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23 2014, 02:50 PM   #14
137th Gebirg
Rear Admiral
 
137th Gebirg's Avatar
 
Location: Who is John Galt?
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Hmmm. Starfleet drones - why not? I don't think we've ever seen anything quite like that in all of Trek, yet the Federation seems to have the tech to do just that. I'm thinking they probably want the real-life-blood factor on the ships, in case they run into a first contact situation where thinking on one's feet may trump a semi-linear holographic playbook. Exploring gasious anomales is one thing, talking to new alien species may be quite another. Although if they were warlike and tried to shoot a holo-crewperson, the look on their faces may be mildly amusing.
__________________
Gebirgswick - Ind, Tra, Sec & Env.
137th Gebirg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23 2014, 04:51 PM   #15
varek
Commander
 
varek's Avatar
 
Location: Danville, IN, USA
Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Having holograms initiate First Contact is a great idea! Some people think the UFOs visiting Earth may be operated by robots or androids.
__________________
Varek, Vulcan Engineer
Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations
Time, like latinum, is a limited commodity.
varek is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:13 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.