RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 141,573
Posts: 5,514,552
Members: 25,152
Currently online: 550
Newest member: Jeannelin

TrekToday headlines

Two New Starships Collection Ships
By: T'Bonz on Dec 26

Captain Kirk’s Boldest Missions
By: T'Bonz on Dec 25

Trek Paper Clips
By: T'Bonz on Dec 24

Sargent Passes
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

QMx Trek Insignia Badges
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

And The New Director Of Star Trek 3 Is…
By: T'Bonz on Dec 23

TV Alert: Pine On Tonight Show
By: T'Bonz on Dec 22

Retro Review: The Emperor’s New Cloak
By: Michelle on Dec 20

Star Trek Opera
By: T'Bonz on Dec 19

New Abrams Project
By: T'Bonz on Dec 18


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 > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 6 2009, 02:34 AM   #1
Gotham Central
Vice Admiral
 
Location: Chicago, IL
View Gotham Central's Twitter Profile
TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

One cannot help but notice that TOS seems to have a distinct hostility toward computers and advanced machines. They are NEVER shown to be useful and are usually depicted as a threat to human life. This stands in stark contrast to all of the later series who had a much more favorable approach to technology.

Most intelligent machines were depicted as malevolent or at the veryleast a malevolent influence

Nomad
M5
The Doomsday Machine
Landru
Vaal

Even Kirk's personal computer was, with its female personality, was depicted as an annoyance. This of course does not include the various androids (which are quietly forgotten in on TNG in order to make Data special).

Why do you think that the show seemd so hostile toward machines? was it simply a lack of familiarity with the technology? (i.e. by the time of TNG people were familiar with computers and thus less afraid of them).
__________________
Well maybe I'm the faggot America.
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along in the age of paranoia

Green Day
Gotham Central is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 02:40 AM   #2
Basil
Fleet Captain
 
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

At the heart of many TOS stories was the notion that humans, despite their greatly advanced technology, still carried with them the same flaws that had plagued civilization since its beginning. Those who gave into their flaws -- ego, greed, vanity, arrogance, jealousy, vengeance, hypocrisy, and so forth -- were doomed to failure. Thus, it was the human condition that needed to be improved upon. The constant reminder that machines, superior in some ways, were also flawed because they were built by flawed beings was an easy way to drive the point home within a sci-fi context. It was also a trope left over from Forbidden Planet and other classic films.
Basil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 02:46 AM   #3
Cakes488
Commodore
 
Cakes488's Avatar
 
Location: Long Island and Upstate NY
View Cakes488's Twitter Profile
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

These machines though, have usually gone awry...hence the problem they therefore create.
Cakes488 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 02:56 AM   #4
Shatmandu
Vice Admiral
 
Shatmandu's Avatar
 
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

TOS was a product of the time, and at the time, computers were new.

Joe, 1101100101000100101000011111
Shatmandu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 02:57 AM   #5
Captrek
Rear Admiral
 
Captrek's Avatar
 
Location: second star to the right
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

I wasn’t around back then, but judging by the TV of the day, I get the distinct impression that a fear of the advances of technology was common among the public, and TV simply reflected those attitudes. The Twilight Zone is another series that frequently played off that theme.
Captrek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 03:13 AM   #6
Middle Earther
Commodore
 
Middle Earther's Avatar
 
Location: BC, Canada
View Middle Earther's Twitter Profile
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

Star Trek was so forward thinking, they were anticipating all the problems with Microsoft products!!
__________________
A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams
Middle Earther is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 03:20 AM   #7
Admiral Buzzkill
Fleet Admiral
 
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

I imagine that at least some of it was just the writers looking for creative ways to invent antagonists for the stories. Computers, at least, don't twirl their moustaches.

Last edited by Admiral Buzzkill; June 6 2009 at 03:50 AM.
Admiral Buzzkill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 03:23 AM   #8
Brutal Strudel
Rear Admiral
 
Brutal Strudel's Avatar
 
Location: Here, frozen between time and place, not even the brightest lights escape...
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

The Moustachetron 9000 does.

Rey, contrary
__________________
Once every lifetime, we're swallowed by the whale.
Brutal Strudel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 04:15 AM   #9
Shaw
Commodore
 
Shaw's Avatar
 
Location: Twin Cities
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

It is funny, but while there were a few times where the computers were the problem, more often they were part of the solution. Unfortunately viewers of the show today have computers at their every turn in life so overlook many of the uses of computers in the show that were not only science fiction back then, they bordered on fantasy.

In forty years the fans of the show have taken some aspects of it and made them so common place in todays world as to be practically invisible to 21st century viewers.

For example, most people think of communicators, phasers and tricorders when thinking of TOS props, but this card reader is almost universally overlooked...


This device could be comparable to today's PDAs, iPods or Zunes... with a screen for displaying information of comparable size. One has to wonder why productions like Phase II haven't used this device to have a character watching a movie while relaxing in their bunk?

Or how about comparing two images side by side on a computer screen... with the images stored in memory!


A lot of what happens in TOS happen because of the computers, it is just so everyday for us now that it is hard to see how fantastic it was back then.
Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 05:21 AM   #10
AtoZ
Commander
 
AtoZ's Avatar
 
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
One cannot help but notice that TOS seems to have a distinct hostility toward computers and advanced machines. They are NEVER shown to be useful and are usually depicted as a threat to human life. This stands in stark contrast to all of the later series who had a much more favorable approach to technology.

Most intelligent machines were depicted as malevolent or at the veryleast a malevolent influence

Nomad
M5
The Doomsday Machine
Landru
Vaal

Even Kirk's personal computer was, with its female personality, was depicted as an annoyance. This of course does not include the various androids (which are quietly forgotten in on TNG in order to make Data special).

Why do you think that the show seemd so hostile toward machines? was it simply a lack of familiarity with the technology? (i.e. by the time of TNG people were familiar with computers and thus less afraid of them).
I always admired Kirk's ability to outwit or unplug a wayward super-computer.

AtoZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 05:29 AM   #11
Mr. Adventure
Admiral
 
Mr. Adventure's Avatar
 
Location: Mr. Adventure
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

I think Kirk was onto something, I wanted to kill my work PC today.
Mr. Adventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 05:33 AM   #12
Santa Kang
Fleet Admiral
 
Santa Kang's Avatar
 
Location: North Pole,Qo'noS
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

Computers were often treated as Gods and their defeat represented throwing off our need for Gods/religion.
__________________
Nerys Myk
Santa Kang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 07:10 AM   #13
Anticitizen
Fleet Captain
 
Anticitizen's Avatar
 
Location: Black Mesa Research Facility
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

AtoZ wrote: View Post
I always admired Kirk's ability to outwit or unplug a wayward super-computer.

The Terminator franchise could stand to borrow him for a bit so Kirk can convince Skynet to self-terminate
Anticitizen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 01:46 PM   #14
Brutal Strudel
Rear Admiral
 
Brutal Strudel's Avatar
 
Location: Here, frozen between time and place, not even the brightest lights escape...
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

Shaw wrote: View Post
It is funny, but while there were a few times where the computers were the problem, more often they were part of the solution. Unfortunately viewers of the show today have computers at their every turn in life so overlook many of the uses of computers in the show that were not only science fiction back then, they bordered on fantasy.

In forty years the fans of the show have taken some aspects of it and made them so common place in todays world as to be practically invisible to 21st century viewers.

For example, most people think of communicators, phasers and tricorders when thinking of TOS props, but this card reader is almost universally overlooked...


This device could be comparable to today's PDAs, iPods or Zunes... with a screen for displaying information of comparable size. One has to wonder why productions like Phase II haven't used this device to have a character watching a movie while relaxing in their bunk?

Or how about comparing two images side by side on a computer screen... with the images stored in memory!


A lot of what happens in TOS happen because of the computers, it is just so everyday for us now that it is hard to see how fantastic it was back then.
Indeed. Trek was very clear that computers were wonderful tools but that mankind should never be in a position where the tool calls the shots. Spock says that almost verbatim in "The Ultimate Computer."

Dr. Who, by contrast, was somewhat more technophobic: in place of flesh-and-blood recurring adversaries like the Klingons and Romulans, it presented the Daleks and Cybermen. I wonder if this had something to do with how much more traumatic the technologies of the 19th and 20th centuries (from the Industrial Revolution up through Hitler's buzz bombs and V-2s) were to Britain than to America.
__________________
Once every lifetime, we're swallowed by the whale.
Brutal Strudel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6 2009, 02:49 PM   #15
Sovay
Lieutenant Commander
 
Sovay's Avatar
 
Location: Vulcan
Re: TOS' hostility toward advanced computers

I can agree with most points made here.
I'd add that one thing that really comes through to me strongly through TOS is humanism. I think artificial intelligence represents something else, and perhaps in a way it's a cautionary tale. It was a time of enormous advancement, and I don't think people were scared of technology, in fact I think people were rearing for that progression. I think TOS addresses the fact that no matter what we, as humans, create, it will always be subject to our failings. Like kirk told nomad, it's impossible for an imperfect being to create a perfect one.

This being said, I think it was also convenient as a plot device. They never really liked to show Kirk or the others killing if it could be helped, so having machines as the bad guys means the crew can destroy them with far fewer ethical quandaries.
Sovay 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 07:01 PM.

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