automated ships a good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by killerbee256, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. DangerLRobinson

    DangerLRobinson Ensign Newbie

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    Mining ships can be automated and maybe an escape pod or runabout
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What happens when the automated ships are hacked?
     
  3. vulcan redshirt

    vulcan redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    THen you have a problem. However I would guess that a sort of dead man's handle program could be hard-wired to cause a self-destruct in the event of tampering . Not unbreakable but would make hijack / theft more difficult. The Cardassian Dreadnought was effectively a drone ship rather than a missile, given its level of AI and its ability to provide life support, and that got hacked.

    the main use I would see for automated ships would be perhaps as shepherded cargo ships. one crewed cargo hauler flying with a number of cargo drones that don't need to waste space on crew facilities (no crew quarters, minimal life support, minimal computing and gravity). Crew could beam over if needed to effect repairs or defend in the event of attack.
     
  4. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

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    Define what you mean by an 'original plot' (and keep in mind that there is no such thing as 'there is nothing new under the sun'.):vulcan:
     
  5. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Agreed, but I found this piece of dialogue from "Yesterday's Enterprise" interesting:

    KLINGON [OC]: Federation ship Enterprise. Surrender and prepare to be boarded.
    PICARD: That will be the day.

    Considering the ship was about to have a warp core breach, I found these Klingons rather bold, but apparently their goal was not to destroy ships (like in a "total war") but to capture these.

    Bob
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Excellent point!

    I wonder how the Klingons would proceed with such boarding if there was no surrender... They'd know by now that Starfleet personnel are armed to repel them, so they might not consider it beneath their warrior's honor to beam in a few bombs first (poison, high explosive, mere flash-bang, take your pick). And how would they feel about automated defenses - especially the Federation ones with stun gas and the risk of getting captured alive?

    (Boarding a wholly automated ship might pose even greater dangers to a warrior's life and honor. What would it mean to one's reputation to be defeated by an automaton? I gather robotic ore or grain transports and the like are fairly safe from burglary or capture, considering the devious traps one could set aboard, but can of course be destroyed. Robotic dilithium transports, OTOH, might still tempt the bold and the greedy.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. killerbee256

    killerbee256 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Even this could be used against the operator of the ship. Think of it, you wouldn't need to blow up the enemy ship with firepower, all you'd have to do is try and hack it and it would blow it's self up.
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And in The Managerie, the entire TOS Enterprise was basically a drone.

    Or start making their own decisions? If an automated ship is to perform many of the same missions as the crewed ship, the auto-ship would have to have a certain level of sapience.

    :)
     
  9. anh165

    anh165 Commander Red Shirt

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    M5 + Vengeance = overp0w3red oMg
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Apparently, it didn't matter to "The Pirates of Orion" whether the USS Huron was automated or manned by a small crew.

    I don't recall its crew to activate any defense measures and certainly an AI could have just made a distress call. Thus, to have this ship manned with people just created the potential for unpleasant hostage negotiations (had the Orions decided to abduct the crew, too).

    Bob
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    "Pirates of Orion" leaves many questions open about the nature, actions and fate of the Huron crew. Which is only understandable, as the cartoon cannot show the pirates doing the logical thing and slaughtering the poor folks; the camera looks away during the actual encounter with the raiders. All we know is that skipper O'Shea survived against odds (apparently he was mistaken for dead, but McCoy was a better judge of that than the Orions), and wasn't able to tell who the attackers were but did provide data and imagery on what their ship looked like.

    It could well be that these people are aboard exactly because Starfleet believes that only wetware should have the authority to fire weapons, and any ship hauling expensive items such as weapons-grade dilithium must be actively defended...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For some reason I thought this topic was about the ship in Message In A Bottle that separates into 3 parts and runs its own attack pattern, probably because that is the first 'Automated ship' that comes to mind for me.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure what good it would actually do to leave the crew home. "Extra weight" is meaningless, as lighter starships aren't shown to outperform heavier ones. Being lighter does not make you more maneuverable, and being more maneuverable does not help you win fights. The same goes for volume: being 80% smaller than the opponent makes no difference in the ability to dodge.

    Humans don't add fragility to the equation, either, as anti-inertia fields protect them from accelerations only machinery (if that) could otherwise take, shields protect them from radiation only machinery (if that) could otherwise take, and so forth - and IDFs and shields also vitally protect the machinery in ways mere acceleration- or radiation-hardening would not.

    As for exposing the command center or X or Y, that's a given: something is always exposed. If the ship can't take exposure, she ain't fit to fight anyway.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. anh165

    anh165 Commander Red Shirt

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    "It takes four hundred thirty people to man a starship.

    With this, you don't need anyone. One machine can do all those things they send men out to do now. Men no longer need die in space, or on some alien world. Men can live, and go on to achieve greater things than fact-finding and dying for galactic space, which is neither ours to give or to take."
     
  15. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    The man was a loon, ya know. ;)
     
  16. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Well, Daystrom's little speech didn't seem entirely accurate. After all there still were apparently some things the M-5 couldn't do himself, like beaming down to a planet and conduct scientific studies.

    "Men no longer need die in space." Yes, several hundreds of lives could have been spared had the M-5 never gotten in control. :rolleyes:

    Bob
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    If Daystrom didn't believe the galaxy was mankind's to give or take, why would he support the sending of starships there, crewed or uncrewed? Surely the correct choice then would be to stay home and to tell the machines to stay, too.

    It seems likely that ol' Dickie gave a somewhat different sales pitch to those Starfleet representatives who approved the test program, including the final wargames...

    Automated ships would be useful for an openly imperialistic or clinically paranoid culture, of course. But Starfleet had just had an encounter with an automated berserker machine some 500 stardate units prior to this episode. Were they really going to fight fire with fire, despite seeing how senseless the concept was?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Can't quite recall the novel I read many years ago. An unknown and unknowable alien race decided to destroy the Earth and sent Von Neumann machines, rather than showing up themselves. The Von Neumann machines self-replicated by using the entire planet for raw material, and Earth eventually tore itself apart from the stress. The aliens never even had to leave home, and we never knew who killed us.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Forge of God by Greg Bear, I presume. The sequel, Anvil of Stars, is even nastier, especially when it's revealed what the von Neumann machine culture uses as home base... Automated ships appear in many roles in the sequel.

    That Kirk and Spock would assume that the DDM is an accidentally released ultimate vengeance weapon, rather than a normally working dedicated berserker, is a bit surprising: the concept of preemptive planet-killers (whether self-replicating or not) had been around for a while already when the episode was written.

    We don't have to assume that our heroes got it right, of course. It's pretty enjoyable to gradually find out how wrong our TNG heroes originally were about the Borg! And quite a relief for the UFP that our TOS heroes never got the chance to find out more about the DDM. :devil:

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

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    A North American cartoon of the period couldn't; a Japanese cartoon of the period could (and most likely did.) That's why I'd love it if the next Star Trek cartoon was done in Japan, or at least by somebody with an adult sensibility, or two shows are done; one for kids, and one for adults.