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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

View Poll Results: Grade "Synthesis"
Excellent 31 34.44%
Above Average 39 43.33%
Average 13 14.44%
Below Average 2 2.22%
Poor 5 5.56%
Voters: 90. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 22 2009, 11:50 AM   #91
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

Synthesis is easily the best Trek book I've read since The Sorrows of Empire and Gods of Night.
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Old December 22 2009, 10:52 PM   #92
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

Noel Ghemor wrote: View Post
I don't think it was just because she wasn't organic...I think it's the very understandable concern that she has all of their lives in her hands. If she wanted them dead or as hostages, all she had to do was think it and it would be as good as done.
Riker worked with Data. So this is just all wrong.
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Old December 22 2009, 11:58 PM   #93
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

^Indeed. As we saw in "Brothers," Data was easily capable of taking over the ship in a matter of moments, with no one else able to stop him. So arguably their lives were constantly "in his hands," and the distinction being suggested there is somewhat spurious. (Not to mention all the times when Data was the only one immune to something that incapacitated the rest, so that their lives were explicitly in his hands.)
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Old December 23 2009, 12:58 AM   #94
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

Exactly.

So what's going to color Riker's impression of this AI more, the other intelligent AI he's worked with, or the Borg, which aren't intelligent as individuals and aren't even completely artificial?

I still think he was just totally out of character.
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Old December 23 2009, 03:08 AM   #95
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

JWolf wrote: View Post
Noel Ghemor wrote: View Post
I don't think it was just because she wasn't organic...I think it's the very understandable concern that she has all of their lives in her hands. If she wanted them dead or as hostages, all she had to do was think it and it would be as good as done.
Riker worked with Data. So this is just all wrong.
Again, Data was self-contained, within ONE body. He was NOT the entire SHIP; he did not have the same kind of immediate power of life and death over the entire crew (and who knows how many others) that the avatar could've had if she'd turned against them.

The best scenario would've been for her to gain her freedom as whatever sort of energy being she became, not tied to the Titan, but to not have to die. But she couldn't stay as part of the Titan; in order to be there she would've had to be perfectly obedient. And that, I think we would all agree, would be a form of servitude and unacceptable in the end both for the crew and for her.
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Old December 23 2009, 03:18 AM   #96
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

Noel Ghemor wrote: View Post
Again, Data was self-contained, within ONE body. He was NOT the entire SHIP; he did not have the same kind of immediate power of life and death over the entire crew (and who knows how many others) that the avatar could've had if she'd turned against them.
That argument only makes sense if you presuppose she'd be capable of turning against them. It's easy to single out differences as excuses for discrimination. It's like when some people say that a woman couldn't be president because she could blow up the world "if" her hormones were too erratic in the middle of a global crisis. It's just making up spurious hypotheticals as excuses to justify a preconceived notion that a class of beings is inferior.

The only meaningful grounds for concern about the situation presented was that Titan was a newborn consciousness, lacking experience and wisdom. That's a valid basis for doubt. Anything else, anything that's about what she is rather than her individual qualifications, is just prejudice.
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Old December 23 2009, 03:29 PM   #97
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

If Titan was an individual as well as the ship. The problem arises when an individual is emotionally or morally compelled to not follow orders. How many times has this happened in the Star Trek Universe? A loyal Starfleet officer disobeys orders due to emotional or moral reasons? Plenty. The fear of Titan, a being in total control of every function surrounding a hundred or so crew members is warranted and not prejudice. This fear is not due to her being an artificial lifeform, rather someone that literally holds the lives of everyone in her "hands". I think the same kind of fear would occur if a fully-powered Q (not necessarily "the" Q) wanted to be member of a starfleet ship. The fear is not of the individual, but in the power they hold.
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Old December 23 2009, 03:46 PM   #98
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

^Like I said, Data had just as much power. If he'd wanted to, he could've plugged his brain into the ship's computer and taken direct mental control. And what about the EMH? He was literally part of the ship's computer. It would've been even easier for him. For that matter, any engineer could fire a phaser at the warp core and blow up the ship. A transporter operator could choose to assassinate the command crew by scattering their signals in transit. A captain could go mad and order his crew to their deaths (and indeed that did happen a couple of times in TOS).

So it's an arbitrary and meaningless distinction being drawn. There are many kinds of power. There are many ways in which a given officer could abuse their power and cost the lives of their crew. So it's a spurious argument to say that an AI that's part of a ship could never be trusted. What about Gomtuu and Tam Elbrun? What about Andromeda in the show of that name? What about the TARDIS, which is sentient and psychic and has godlike power in its core? What about Farscape's Moya? What about the Minds in Iain Banks' Culture books, AIs that control not just ships but entire worlds? What about Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang, a living brain installed in a starship? There are plenty of sentient fictional starships that are trusted by their crews and that are worthy of that trust. Frankly, given how pervasive a trope that is in SF, I'm startled to see such xenophobia toward the idea.
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Old December 23 2009, 03:52 PM   #99
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

o'brien's scotch wrote: View Post
If Titan was an individual as well as the ship. The problem arises when an individual is emotionally or morally compelled to not follow orders. How many times has this happened in the Star Trek Universe? A loyal Starfleet officer disobeys orders due to emotional or moral reasons? Plenty. The fear of Titan, a being in total control of every function surrounding a hundred or so crew members is warranted and not prejudice. This fear is not due to her being an artificial lifeform, rather someone that literally holds the lives of everyone in her "hands". I think the same kind of fear would occur if a fully-powered Q (not necessarily "the" Q) wanted to be member of a starfleet ship. The fear is not of the individual, but in the power they hold.
Exactly.

This is why I think the best outcome was for Titan's avatar to become free of the ship, able to make decisions on her own terms without having to be a slave, in effect, to her crew. I just wish she hadn't died--I mean, as the energy being it seemed she became, she could've been a guide to the crew for all their research on cosmozoans, unusual energy beings, and so on...just imagine if (IF she was willing) if they had her going ahead of them, scouting out things firsthand that they could never experience in the same way?
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Old December 23 2009, 04:19 PM   #100
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

Yet Data was not plugged into the ship 24/7 and there is some chance of physical containment of him. Yes, he was able to get all badass in "Brothers", but was compromised and his progamming was overridden. The "real" Data would never had done this and had was trusted by his crewmates and had established personal relationships with them. Also, I don't think anyone truly fathomed his capabilities to this extent.

Titan was a newly born individual, a child if you will, in control of the entire ship. Initial caution would be justified. This is not to say that a relationship and trust akin to that between Riker and Data wouldn't or could develop.

This sounds silly, but go with me: Imagine if your car suddenly came to life. Everything may be fine until you had to take a loved one bleeding to death to the hospital during a massive hail storm or tornado. Now the car doesn't want to risk physical harm to itself. Depending on the closeness of your relationship with said car, how do you think it would respond when you asked it to risk damage or even death to get to the hospital?
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Old December 23 2009, 04:31 PM   #101
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

o'brien's scotch wrote: View Post
Yet Data was not plugged into the ship 24/7 and there is some chance of physical containment of him. Yes, he was able to get all badass in "Brothers", but was compromised and his progamming was overridden. The "real" Data would never had done this and had was trusted by his crewmates and had established personal relationships with them. Also, I don't think anyone truly fathomed his capabilities to this extent.

Titan was a newly born individual, a child if you will, in control of the entire ship. Initial caution would be justified. This is not to say that a relationship and trust akin to that between Riker and Data wouldn't or could develop.
That's exactly my point. It's not about what category they belong to. It's about whether they have earned trust as individuals. It's wrong to judge people by what they are. Only who they are matters. That should go without saying, especially among Trek fans. It's valid to say that her inexperience was a basis for distrust, but it's wrong and prejudiced to say that simply being in the ship rather than separate from it was a basis for distrust.


This sounds silly, but go with me: Imagine if your car suddenly came to life. Everything may be fine until you had to take a loved one bleeding to death to the hospital during a massive hail storm or tornado. Now the car doesn't want to risk physical harm to itself. Depending on the closeness of your relationship with said car, how do you think it would respond when you asked it to risk damage or even death to get to the hospital?
That's no different from a situation where you have to convince a cab driver to do the same. It's a spurious distinction. Regardless of what "race" a sentient being belongs to, it deserves to be treated the same way you'd treat any other sentient being. You don't automatically assume you can't trust a being simply because it's different from you. Indeed, if you start out mistrusting another being, that's likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a situation like the one you describe, assuming the worst about your car would be absolutely the worst thing you could do if you needed its help.
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Old December 24 2009, 03:30 AM   #102
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

o'brien's scotch wrote: View Post
Yet Data was not plugged into the ship 24/7 and there is some chance of physical containment of him. Yes, he was able to get all badass in "Brothers", but was compromised and his progamming was overridden. The "real" Data would never had done this and had was trusted by his crewmates and had established personal relationships with them. Also, I don't think anyone truly fathomed his capabilities to this extent.
I suspect they did.

But, I also suspect that much more detailed studies of Data had been done, which would have revealed his ethical subroutines--which I believe Soong would've been VERY meticulous in programming after the failure of Lore. Given that, I think there was far more knowledge of how he was going to react to any given scenario...basically, I think there was quite a bit of trust based on long observation and a long track record from the time he was activated all the way to when he achieved that post that yes, he was a good person and trustworthy. I think they knew what he was capable of, but also what sorts of restraints were in place on his behavior.

Nobody really knew that for sure about the Titan, and when it's the entire SHIP that's under the control of this intelligence, there simply is not the time to find out. The only viable options are extinguish said intelligence (ONLY ethical in the case of a clear and present danger, as in an imminent attack, which did not occur), or to find a way to get that being into another body or form where it can grow and interact without being a slave to and responsible for the lives of the crew.

Titan was a newly born individual, a child if you will, in control of the entire ship. Initial caution would be justified. This is not to say that a relationship and trust akin to that between Riker and Data wouldn't or could develop.
And yet, as long as Titan had control of the entire ship that the crew could never really match, there could not be true trust due to the power differential.

This sounds silly, but go with me: Imagine if your car suddenly came to life. Everything may be fine until you had to take a loved one bleeding to death to the hospital during a massive hail storm or tornado. Now the car doesn't want to risk physical harm to itself. Depending on the closeness of your relationship with said car, how do you think it would respond when you asked it to risk damage or even death to get to the hospital?
Exactly.

And I would add to that, would it even be fair to your car, if it came to life, to place yourself in it, in a dependent position, and force it to cater to your every whim just because you said so? That's a form of slavery, and another reason why the Titan intelligence had to get out of the ship in one form or another.
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Old December 25 2009, 08:15 AM   #103
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

And if it were necessary to activate the self-destruct? Then you're asking a living entity to commit suicide.
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Old December 25 2009, 03:32 PM   #104
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

^How is that any different from ordering a crewmember on a suicide mission? It's part of the job.

In fact, I have to question the assumption that if the ship is intelligent, it needs to be removed from its own body for the good of the crew. If the ship is intelligent, doesn't it have the same right to control its own body as the crew does to control theirs? How horrible would it be to say that a living person needed to have her brain transplanted into a different body so that other people would be free to use her body however they wished? Hell, if the ship's a thinking being and the crew aren't willing to respect that, then they should leave and get another ship. Sapient beings deserve autonomy over their own bodies.
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Old December 25 2009, 05:05 PM   #105
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Re: Star Trek: Titan - Synthesis: Discuss / Grade <SPOILERS>

Turtletrekker wrote: View Post
And if it were necessary to activate the self-destruct? Then you're asking a living entity to commit suicide.
Bingo. This is not an entity that made a conscious decision to serve, either, the way the Starfleet characters (including Data) did--this was an entity born in a position where she had no other choice BUT to do so.
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