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

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Old September 12 2014, 03:54 PM   #1
Melakon
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Are holograms the new androids?

TOS presented us with a variety of androids during the series that could easily fool someone into thinking they were human. Among these are Roger Korby's creations like Andrea, Harry Mudd's android planet, and Mr. Flint's Rayna model.

In the 24th century, all these androids seem to have mysteriously disappeared, and all we hear about are the superior Soong positronic androids, though the most famous example wouldn't fool anyone into thinking it's human.

Along with these new androids, we're also introduced to hologram characters, one of the more sophisticated being Voyager's EMH.

While watching VOY: Revulsion again, with Leland Orser as a psychotic hologram, it made me realize that Trek holograms seem to have taken over the roles formerly filled by androids in TOS stories. One advantage of androids though, they didn't need photon emitters to exist in a location.

I never quite understood why the 23rd century androids all seemed to be consigned to the junk yard, and all androids later seen were Soong variants. Then holographic characters were introduced and in some cases were villains, much as old style androids used to be.

But it's not 8am yet, and I've not had any coffee.
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Old September 12 2014, 05:07 PM   #2
Timo
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

Possibly the Federation saw no use for androids of any sort - something that Data's uniqueness also supports. When various alien cultures presented their creations fo the UFP, those were given a cursory glance and then forgotten about, since why have machine men when you just want to make life better for real people?

OTOH, holograms are more flexible, no doubt cheaper to make, and can be turned off when not needed or "needed". So on occasion, they can be given an android shape, even though their function (as in role, if also as in mechanism) is different.

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Old September 12 2014, 05:57 PM   #3
Enterprise1701
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

The TNG novel Immortal Coil gives explanations for the fates of the TOS androids in the 24th century.
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Old September 12 2014, 09:14 PM   #4
ManOnTheWave
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

Melakon wrote: View Post
In the 24th century, all these androids seem to have mysteriously disappeared, and all we hear about are the superior Soong positronic androids, though the most famous example wouldn't fool anyone into thinking it's human.
I may be misremembering it, but weren't all of TOS androids of alien design and manufacture? They're probably still out there in the 24th century, just not outside of their own planets or territories. Soong type androids seemed to be the best or perhaps all humanity could muster in the android department.
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Old September 12 2014, 09:54 PM   #5
Melakon
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

ManOnTheWave wrote: View Post
I may be misremembering it, but weren't all of TOS androids of alien design and manufacture? They're probably still out there in the 24th century, just not outside of their own planets or territories. Soong type androids seemed to be the best or perhaps all humanity could muster in the android department.
I think you're right. The only exception might be Flint's Rayna, since he's originally an Earthman, but his technical knowledge may have come from studying other species' research. And his experiment fails when trying to give it emotions.
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Old September 12 2014, 10:22 PM   #6
Timo
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

Now, android bodies don't appear too mysterious. Flint knew how to series produce those, so the Federation rightfully wouldn't get hot and bothered when finding the android factory at Mudd's Planet. Even the android bodybuilding techniques of Sargon's people may only be a slight improvement over what the UFP already knows:

Spock: "Then you intend to construct mechanical bodies, move your minds into them, and then return our bodies to us."
Mulhall: "We have engineers, technicians. Why can't they build your robots for you?"
Kirk/Sargon: "No. Our methods, our skills are far beyond your abilities."
I mean, Dr. Mulhall wouldn't have made the suggestion at all unless the UFP already had a few working android bodies under its belt.

I don't see Data being a supreme achievement in android-making. Rather, I think Soong needed a flashy way to demonstrate his new positronic brains, and decided that androids, an otherwise forgotten technology, were the way to proceed - perhaps because positronics would shine in compact applications (such as those fitting inside a humanoid skull) but lose out to conventional computers in bigger ones (such as starship or shuttlecraft mainframes). With positronics, androids could be perfectly humanlike, while previous computing technologies had perhaps merely made them half-witted lookalikes, yet still with physically perfect bodies Soong could not improve upon. I mean, it doesn't take a robot scientist to put together or maintain a Soongian android - it only takes a regular E-D chief engineer!

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Old September 13 2014, 12:47 AM   #7
Melakon
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

There's no rule saying a positronic brain has to be in the android's skull, is there? Maybe it's in the torso. Sort of like the Supermarionation puppets of Captain Scarlet, with smaller heads. The servos for the mouth mechanism were moved to the chest.
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Old September 13 2014, 11:53 PM   #8
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

Holograms became prevalent in Voyager because it had a hologram character.

The line in TNG was that nobody else was able to produce a sentient android. Likely during the Dominion war resources was diverted away from Bruce Maddux's research, or maybe he was defunded just for being a dick.

There's no indication that research on Soong type androids did not continue.

Another possibility is that intentionally manufacturing sentient AI was illegalized after Descent for the same reason eugenics was.

Or, another possibility is that Bruce Maddux is too stupid to ever really understand Soong type androids, but he's never lost his job as head of research because Starfleet Science promotes based on seniority rather than merit.
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Old September 14 2014, 01:06 AM   #9
Melakon
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

It really seems obvious to me in VOY: Flesh and Blood that holograms are the new androids in terms of how they serve a story. Or just renegade robots taking over a ship. What none of those holograms seems to realize is all a hostile has to do is take out their projection elements and they can be incapcitated without destroying their ship.
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Old September 14 2014, 02:14 AM   #10
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

It would certainly appear to be the case, but I don't think it's a good move. The hologram episodes I've seen in Voyager are not that great, even though The Doctor is a good character.

I would definitely like to see more androids of different designs and stuff. As corny as it is, I like Mudd and his androids. I'd like to see more of really creative designs. Even Ilia was a pretty cool character.

I'm pretty sure that blue head-panel guy from Into Darkness is an Android. Even if he isn't, he looks like a cool design for one.
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Old September 14 2014, 05:38 PM   #11
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

^ 0718 isn't an android. He's an augmented human. So says Joseph Gatt, who played him.

Although, you must admit, androids have feelings too...

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Old September 17 2014, 06:27 PM   #12
Mudang Harada
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
Holograms became prevalent in Voyager because it had a hologram character.

The line in TNG was that nobody else was able to produce a sentient android. Likely during the Dominion war resources was diverted away from Bruce Maddux's research, or maybe he was defunded just for being a dick.

There's no indication that research on Soong type androids did not continue.

Another possibility is that intentionally manufacturing sentient AI was illegalized after Descent for the same reason eugenics was.

Or, another possibility is that Bruce Maddux is too stupid to ever really understand Soong type androids, but he's never lost his job as head of research because Starfleet Science promotes based on seniority rather than merit.
I could see other powers trying to build some androids.
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Old September 17 2014, 08:10 PM   #13
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Re: Are holograms the new androids?

Androids are like DVDs trying to exist in a world of online streaming and cloud storage.
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