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Old May 23 2014, 05:04 PM   #16
Nebusj
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
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 ...
David Gerrold's novel Space Skimmer (1972) uses pretty much this idea for its starship, it happens. (The book reads like the pilot for a TV series and I wonder if it was a repurposing of a project that fell apart, or an attempt at kicking off a series of novels that never quite happened.)
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Old May 23 2014, 05:26 PM   #17
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Back to the evilness (or not) of Holodecks...I think it can be argued that while there might not be an evility to them, there could be a evilness to their use...consider: within huge parameters, every aspect a world is yours to create...you bring it to life, and when your duty shift comes around, you cease its existence...your desire, your input, your expectation is that of perfection and real life...battle, training, sex, music, intrigue and everything in between is, in your mind, "real"...in no way am I suggesting that the people, places and things in the 'deck are real...but I am absolutely saying that, to us, the Creators, it is, relative to our existence...we experience life relative to ourselves...is not "life" in a sumptuous holosuite also relative...ergo, creating a reality that you can experience with every sense you have is a form of reality that, when you utter, "Coomputer,
End Program", ceases to be...
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Old May 23 2014, 06:16 PM   #18
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

I don't think aspects of "good" or "evil" should ever be assigned to an inanimate object. Its potential use by an individual for good or bad purposes and how such use is perceived as either good or bad by others makes it moot.

Sure, the programs running within the holodeck can "act" good or evil based on its programming, but again, that programming came from elsewhere outside the holodeck. I guess this runs back into the whole "is a holo-person really sentient" question, but I would say no.

I wouldn't even classify Moriarty or holo-Leah Brams sentient, as that would imply sentience on the part of the Enterprise computer systems itself, as the controller of the algorithm. If THAT were true, it would be a very different kettle of fish, but the computer never exhibited signs of sentience before or after that time and, if it did, Deanna Troi would have had to go to trial for murder for crashing it in Generations!
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Old May 23 2014, 09:28 PM   #19
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

HIjol wrote: View Post
Back to the evilness (or not) of Holodecks...I think it can be argued that while there might not be an evility to them, there could be a evilness to their use...consider: within huge parameters, every aspect a world is yours to create...you bring it to life, and when your duty shift comes around, you cease its existence...your desire, your input, your expectation is that of perfection and real life...battle, training, sex, music, intrigue and everything in between is, in your mind, "real"...in no way am I suggesting that the people, places and things in the 'deck are real...but I am absolutely saying that, to us, the Creators, it is, relative to our existence...we experience life relative to ourselves...is not "life" in a sumptuous holosuite also relative...ergo, creating a reality that you can experience with every sense you have is a form of reality that, when you utter, "Coomputer,
End Program", ceases to be...
Ever play Grand Theft Auto or Skyrim? Those games take place in very detailed worlds populated by hundreds (if not thousands) of artificial people. Should a player suffer an existential crisis every time they turn their game console off?

Moriarty and The Doctor are special cases. Moriarty was the result of a poorly-worded request to the computer that (credibility regarding computer safeguards aside) basically turned Moriarty into the computer. The Doctor, we are told repeatedly, has a program that is so mind-bogglingly complex that it takes one of the most advanced computers in all of Starfleet to run a single copy of it. I doubt your average holodeck character approaches that kind of complexity.

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
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.
This is a good point. I love the character of The Doctor, and I never had a problem with the mobile emitter, but something was lost by giving the character so much autonomy. Part of the pathos of characters like Data and The Doctor is in the inherent tragedy of their quest to grow beyond their nature. When the writers take away their limitations, they're not much different than any other crew member.
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Old May 24 2014, 05:30 AM   #20
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

AgentCoop wrote: View Post
HIjol wrote: View Post
Back to the evilness (or not) of Holodecks...I think it can be argued that while there might not be an evility to them, there could be a evilness to their use...consider: within huge parameters, every aspect a world is yours to create...you bring it to life, and when your duty shift comes around, you cease its existence...your desire, your input, your expectation is that of perfection and real life...battle, training, sex, music, intrigue and everything in between is, in your mind, "real"...in no way am I suggesting that the people, places and things in the 'deck are real...but I am absolutely saying that, to us, the Creators, it is, relative to our existence...we experience life relative to ourselves...is not "life" in a sumptuous holosuite also relative...ergo, creating a reality that you can experience with every sense you have is a form of reality that, when you utter, "Computer,
End Program", ceases to be...
Ever play Grand Theft Auto or Skyrim? Those games take place in very detailed worlds populated by hundreds (if not thousands) of artificial people. Should a player suffer an existential crisis every time they turn their game console off?

Moriarty and The Doctor are special cases. Moriarty was the result of a poorly-worded request to the computer that (credibility regarding computer safeguards aside) basically turned Moriarty into the computer. The Doctor, we are told repeatedly, has a program that is so mind-bogglingly complex that it takes one of the most advanced computers in all of Starfleet to run a single copy of it. I doubt your average holodeck character approaches that kind of complexity.
Thanks, Coop, and I do take your point (and enjoy both your and 'Frakes's posts very much)...

...my doubtlessly poorly worded post was not meant to go to an Existential place at all, though when I read your words it kinda does anyway...my point was, looking at the whole of the Holodeck and the Creation within from a Relative viewpoint...how we, the Creators view and expect the 'Deck to be and act...and, more simply, a version of the old adage, ..."if it looks like a Targ and smells like a Targ..." ...well, I am sure you get the picture...
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Old May 24 2014, 10:28 AM   #21
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

HIjol wrote: View Post
AgentCoop wrote: View Post
HIjol wrote: View Post
Back to the evilness (or not) of Holodecks...I think it can be argued that while there might not be an evility to them, there could be a evilness to their use...consider: within huge parameters, every aspect a world is yours to create...you bring it to life, and when your duty shift comes around, you cease its existence...your desire, your input, your expectation is that of perfection and real life...battle, training, sex, music, intrigue and everything in between is, in your mind, "real"...in no way am I suggesting that the people, places and things in the 'deck are real...but I am absolutely saying that, to us, the Creators, it is, relative to our existence...we experience life relative to ourselves...is not "life" in a sumptuous holosuite also relative...ergo, creating a reality that you can experience with every sense you have is a form of reality that, when you utter, "Computer,
End Program", ceases to be...
Ever play Grand Theft Auto or Skyrim? Those games take place in very detailed worlds populated by hundreds (if not thousands) of artificial people. Should a player suffer an existential crisis every time they turn their game console off?

Moriarty and The Doctor are special cases. Moriarty was the result of a poorly-worded request to the computer that (credibility regarding computer safeguards aside) basically turned Moriarty into the computer. The Doctor, we are told repeatedly, has a program that is so mind-bogglingly complex that it takes one of the most advanced computers in all of Starfleet to run a single copy of it. I doubt your average holodeck character approaches that kind of complexity.
Thanks, Coop, and I do take your point (and enjoy both your and 'Frakes's posts very much)...

...my doubtlessly poorly worded post was not meant to go to an Existential place at all, though when I read your words it kinda does anyway...my point was, looking at the whole of the Holodeck and the Creation within from a Relative viewpoint...how we, the Creators view and expect the 'Deck to be and act...and, more simply, a version of the old adage, ..."if it looks like a Targ and smells like a Targ..." ...well, I am sure you get the picture...
Thank you! I enjoy your posts as well.

I think I get your meaning, now. You're talking about the perception of the holodeck user and how that perception would be affected by something that FEELS absolutely real, correct? I hadn't thought of that before.
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Old May 24 2014, 03:14 PM   #22
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

the computer never exhibited signs of sentience before or after that time
Why would it? Surely it can be sentient on its own time, in its own universes, without having to prove anything to the mites that "operate" it.

That the computer can effortlessly present the outward signs of sentience whenever asked is proof enough that it's at least as sentient as any of us - but it's also evidence that it is much more, and "sentience" is among its lowest forms of existence.

That there should be more to sentience than its outward signs is a rather weak proposition. We all judge sentience by the outward signs only, even as applies to ourselves, and we should know! But that there might be things beyond sentience is a completely different argument, and one probably way beyond a mere sentient's capacity to argue about.

As for the morality of holodeck lifeforms, well, if they themselves had objections, they could always act on them. Moriarty did; he was pretty damn near omnipotent once he got started. Redblock did, too, but he had fewer resources available. Basically nobody else from the holographic rogues' gallery bothered. If they were self-aware and yearning for liberty, they would get it. But it seems perfectly possible to be sentient without being self-aware; it's just a tick in a box in a menu.

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Old May 29 2014, 12:31 AM   #23
Delta Vega
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

I realise that in this thread there are many of you who make valid and interesting points re the holodeck, but to just cut to the chase, the holodeck is just about the most ludicrous invention in the Trek universe, only slightly less believeable than Warp Drive.

If such a thing COULD exist as portrayed in Trek it would be ultimately open to abuse by self serving and ever so naughty crew members who would forever push moral boundaries most notably for pleasures considered normally innappropriate, after all they are only human.
In short, the holodeck would become questionable, maybe even evil to some.
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Old May 29 2014, 03:31 AM   #24
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Didn't they do an episode about this where those hunters (I forgot what they were called) were like hunting these holograms, which were programmed to feel pain?

And when the holograms died, they would restart them so they could keep hunting them. And they ran away.

WTF was that species called?
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Old May 29 2014, 05:51 AM   #25
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

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Old May 29 2014, 07:43 AM   #26
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Delta Vega wrote: View Post
I realise that in this thread there are many of you who make valid and interesting points re the holodeck, but to just cut to the chase, the holodeck is just about the most ludicrous invention in the Trek universe, only slightly less believeable than Warp Drive.

If such a thing COULD exist as portrayed in Trek it would be ultimately open to abuse by self serving and ever so naughty crew members who would forever push moral boundaries most notably for pleasures considered normally innappropriate, after all they are only human.
In short, the holodeck would become questionable, maybe even evil to some.
Maybe that's part of the holodeck safety protocol system.
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Old May 29 2014, 12:11 PM   #27
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

I realise that in this thread there are many of you who make valid and interesting points re the holodeck, but to just cut to the chase, the holodeck is just about the most ludicrous invention in the Trek universe, only slightly less believeable than Warp Drive.
To the contrary, I think the holodeck isn't even an "invention". It's just today's reality, packaged slightly differently.

If such a thing COULD exist as portrayed in Trek
Why not? Somebody's PC (even if not mine) could easily run such a thing today, only with somewhat less impressive "graphics". It's trivial technology for the computer age, and it's very much what makes money today, keeps people entertained, is in constant demand, and affects our everyday social lives.

it would be ultimately open to abuse by self serving and ever so naughty crew members who would forever push moral boundaries most notably for pleasures considered normally innappropriate, after all they are only human.
And the problem with that is...?

Nothing is stopping people today from doing the same. Not even moral outrage, as it's very much a "throwing the first stone" issue, and people have been doing such things as long as they have been throwing stones, only with different technologies.

In short, the holodeck would become questionable, maybe even evil to some.
But "some" can grumble and grieve all they want, just like they do today. It's the paying majority that has the last say. (Even if it is the selling minority that has the last laugh.)

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Old May 29 2014, 02:10 PM   #28
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Shawnster wrote: View Post
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.

Have to disagree with both you and T'Girl on this. Stipulated: yes, most holocharacters are the computer. Einstein, Da Vinci, they were the computer. But the ones who do go sentient, I venture, are not simply the computer suddenly becoming an AI (which it is not). They are emergent systems, comparable to a point with the magnascopic storm + computer = the nodes/new life form in TNG's "Emergence." The x-factors equivalent to the magnascopic storm in the case of the holodeck are programming by biological sentients in a very sophisticated materialization setup + direct physical interaction with sentients in 4 dimensions (probably the most important ingredient) + long/continuous running time. Not all of these are required, and the proportions that result in sentience are not always the same. For as long as these rare holosentients are being generated by the computer, they are more than the computer--just as our minds require our brains, but are more than are brains.

Moriarty, Vic Fontaine, the Doctor--they're sentient, self-aware, and none of them think they're the computer.

I think in the case of the Dixon Hill setting that the writers were still playing with the idea, and allowed the characters self-awareness that they later decided should be much harder to come by.

So, my answer to the OP's question is: certainly not when we're dealing with 99.999999% of holodeck characters. In that remaining tiny percentage, moral issues absolutely do arise, and, for example, I don't think Picard's solution to Moriarty was moral at all, to trap this new being, who never was a crimelord, in a false universe for as long as that memory block exists. HoloMoriarty's crimes, as far as I know, included unlawful imprisonment of Starfleet personnel, and hijacking a starship. Not small beer, but not life-imprisonment-worthy by TNG standards either (or TOS standards; Harry Mudd committed approximately the same crimes, and had a reason to expect that some day he'd be getting off Mudd).
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Old May 29 2014, 05:56 PM   #29
Delta Vega
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

Timo wrote: View Post
I realise that in this thread there are many of you who make valid and interesting points re the holodeck, but to just cut to the chase, the holodeck is just about the most ludicrous invention in the Trek universe, only slightly less believeable than Warp Drive.
To the contrary, I think the holodeck isn't even an "invention". It's just today's reality, packaged slightly differently.

If such a thing COULD exist as portrayed in Trek
Why not? Somebody's PC (even if not mine) could easily run such a thing today, only with somewhat less impressive "graphics". It's trivial technology for the computer age, and it's very much what makes money today, keeps people entertained, is in constant demand, and affects our everyday social lives.

it would be ultimately open to abuse by self serving and ever so naughty crew members who would forever push moral boundaries most notably for pleasures considered normally innappropriate, after all they are only human.
And the problem with that is...?

Nothing is stopping people today from doing the same. Not even moral outrage, as it's very much a "throwing the first stone" issue, and people have been doing such things as long as they have been throwing stones, only with different technologies.

In short, the holodeck would become questionable, maybe even evil to some.
But "some" can grumble and grieve all they want, just like they do today. It's the paying majority that has the last say. (Even if it is the selling minority that has the last laugh.)

Timo Saloniemi
I`m sorry Timo, I respect your views as always, they are always informative, but to suggest that todays technology on PCs, and what we see on the Holodeck are somehow the same, is a big leap of faith.
And yes, we do have holographs today, but not holographs that we can touch and interact with, not holos that "some" can interact with innapropriately, holos that we can can kiss, kill and even put into subserviance.
No, for me the Holodeck is a leap too far, of light year proportions, even when in the context of a far distant future.
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Old May 29 2014, 08:49 PM   #30
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Re: Is the Holodeck Evil?

I'm not sure I understand. Holodeck adventures are just interactive entertainment, something the most primitive home computers have been capable of producing since the 1980s. A computer program juggles multiple parameters to create responses that make it appear that people with personalities are interacting with you - and computers today can effortlessly pass the Turing test of sounding indistinguishable from a human in a given context. Some computer games exploit this, but few to the fullest, yet it's merely a matter of computing power, and that increases so fast that it's probably way past what's required for TNG or VOY holodrama plots the day past tomorrow if it isn't that today.

The further step of moving the action from a computer screen to a holodeck doesn't sound particularly impressive, either. It's just technology. The leap from no movies to movies was a huge one, for the first time superseding human acting with technology; further such steps won't be leaps in psychological terms. One day, somebody will invent a "forcefield" or a "hard light projector" or whatever; Trek only asks us to assume that this day comes a couple of hundred years from now, and even allows for aliens from outer space to introduce it to us if we are too stupid to invent it ourselves.

Once holographic projections can be made, there's no trick to "kissing" or "killing" them, any more than there would be some great objection to a movie character being kissed or killed instead of just standing around. There's no extra cost attached. It's all in the programming, and we have that today already.

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