Living witness, Implausible?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by WesleysDisciple, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. WesleysDisciple

    WesleysDisciple Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Its hard for me to imagine, given the way technolagy works in Star trek, that by the 32 century, the federation hasnt colonized most of the galaxy, if not most of this galactic cluster.

    Leaving that aside... Any ideas what kind of welcome the Archive of the doctor, would recieve when he got home?

    Reintegration with the doctor himself, perhaps, if hes still online?
     
  2. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Space is really big, mind bogglingly big.
     
  3. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This being 700 years later, the Federation may well have already expanded out that far. It could ALREADY be there (because given all the fighting, the Kyrians and Vaskans would not yet qualify for Federation membership). So the EMH may not have had far to go before he reached Federation space.
     
  4. WesleysDisciple

    WesleysDisciple Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thing is, by the SECOND muesem exhibit, enough peace the federation should be seeking first contact if it still exists.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Let's do the math. The galaxy has an estimated 400 billion stars. Leave out the 90% in the probably-uninhabitable central bulge and you've got 40 billion disk stars. Let's say maybe 50% are the right spectral type to support a habitable planet, leaving 20 billion -- and current exoplanet studies suggest that nearly all star systems have planets. There's no guarantee a planet in the habitable zone would be the right type, though, so let's conservatively say there are 2 billion habitable planets in the galaxy. At a guess, let's say that one in 20 of those have space-age civilizations, since those seem pretty common in Trek. That reduces it to 100 million civilizations eligible for contact.

    Now, let's assume that the Federation masters quantum slipstream drive (as it's begun to do in the novels) or some form of transwarp, so travel time is no object. And let's assume its fleet grows huge enough that it could make first contact with, say, a hundred new warp-capable civilizations every single day galaxy-wide. At that rate, to visit all of them even once would take a million days, or over 2700 years.

    At that rate, even after 800 years with quantum slipstream or transwarp, the Federation would've only been able to make first contact with fewer than 1/3 of the spacegoing civilizations in the galaxy, and to establish ongoing diplomatic relations with a far smaller number, since that would take more time.

    So no, it's not at all unreasonable that the Vaskans and Kyrians could still be unfamiliar with the Federation after 800 years. The galaxy is simply too huge for every civilization to be acquainted with every other civilization. Indeed, past a certain point it would become unwieldy to try to maintain diplomatic relations with every civilization you can reach. How would you even keep track of millions of other civilizations? It would take forever.


    They would surely have evolved into very different individuals by that point.
     
  6. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Data said that, despite the Federation being around for 300 years or so, that they'd only explored and mapped out like 8% of the Galaxy.

    So by 700 or so years later, yeah it's not hard to believe they still aren't where the Kyrians and Vaskans are.

    Remember that Voyager got home so fast because they kept making those massive LY jumps.
     
  7. Finngle Bells

    Finngle Bells Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why should have the Federation colonized the Delta Quadrant?
     
  8. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    The only part I found really implausible, was the part about the Doctor's back-up. All this fuss in the beginning of the show about how bad it was to loose the Doc, it turns out they have a back-up.

    Other then that, fantastic episode!!
     
  9. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Here's my take on it: http://adastrafanfic.com/viewstory.php?sid=62
     
  10. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    It was one of VOY's better episode, aside from as you say the massive plot hole.
     
  11. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, this episode does have a huge flaw hole as mentioned. Really the concept a computer program can't be -copied- is silly anyways. But the episode is so good, a viewer can tend to overlook that.

    The whole "mirror universe" Voyager is just awesome to watch, and the revisionist history is a very real subject for us today to make us think about how we're applying it to our own culture.
     
  12. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Hilariously, you could just assume they considered the Federation a bunch of evil Space Nazis and avoided them--so the Doctor found out the Federation was like a light year away.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    A program, sure. But a sentient consciousness is not a program, it's an emergent process. Even if you did copy the basic programming that defined its substrate level of activity and replicated its initial conditions as closely as you could, the mind that resulted when you actually ran it wouldn't be quite the same as the one that emerged the first time -- just as if you run a complex enough simulation more than once, you can get different results each time.

    Also, if the Doctor's consciousness is based in quantum computing, then it probably wouldn't be copyable. Measuring quantum state information precisely enough to replicate it elsewhere -- i.e. quantum teleportation -- destroys the original information, due to quantum conservation laws.

    So really, the Doctor having a backup at all is problematical, given that he was otherwise consistently portrayed as being unique, only able to be moved from one computer or emitter device to another rather than being copied. And in the later "Message in a Bottle," I think it was, Tom and Harry were struggling to create a backup as if they'd never had one before. So it's a tough episode to reconcile.
     
  14. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The explanation given in the show that the Doc can't be copied is that his data is so massive it has to be stored in a manner that it must be maintained by an active process and can't be straight duplicated, like the transporter buffer.

    It's possible the Federation was not able to expand that far because they were blocked by other powers along the way, or because their supply lines would be too long if they tried to expand that far. It's likely deep space vessels have been there by the 32nd century. But if there were, the ship would have probably been using Voyager's logs for reference, so they would have expected hostility and spied on them first and realized that they did still have animosity toward the Federation, then steered clear.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^See, I don't think it's plausible that a single civilization could ever spread across that much of the galaxy. Again, it's a matter of sheer numbers. A single central organizing principle, whether a government or a defining national/cultural identity, can only encompass so many entities before it gets spread too thin. Any given part of the whole will only be practically able to communicate or interact with a finite number of other parts, so the wider it spreads, the less the entities on its outskirts will be connected to one another and the more they'll drift apart. The Federation could only grow to a certain size before the constituent subcultures on its fringes evolved different definitions of what the Federation was, or developed a sense of identity separate from other parts of the Federation. So eventually they'd schism into distinct political and social entities. It's inevitable. When we're talking about hundreds of millions or billions of worlds, there's just no way a single civilization could encompass any significant percentage of the whole. Maybe the UFP can establish friendly relations with like-minded neighbors who have friendly relations with like-minded neighbors and so on and so on, forming a chain of connections from one end of the galaxy to another, but beyond a certain point that chain would stretch so far that the civilizations at opposite ends of it would have effectively no contact at all.
     
  16. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You may be right about that, but there are different levels of alliance. Different political entitles can be mostly self-sufficient and still be politically united enough to work together in matters of common interest or share a common mission statement or set of core values.
     
  17. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    While I hate to disagree with the guy who writes this, I think we're getting into a gray area with AI as we're talking about technology that is well above our present level of technology but not inconceivable to our technology.

    The perfectly mapped and replicated via hologram human brain down to the neuron may sound like insanity but not in Star Trek. A trillion processors working and storing information simultaneously about reaction, emotion, and so on sounds ludicrous but compare today's computers to the Moon Landings.

    Then again, I'm a determinalist.

    I'm not so certain as, basically, the same sort of thought has been shared with us on Earth. That a central world government is impossible because there's just too many people, too many different ideas, too many ethnic groups, and so on. However, even now, we live in a global community with representation.

    Theoretically, I could see it working like a pyramid.

    Planet A is part of System B's government which is part of the Sector C government which is part of the Quadrant D government which is represented in the Federation. Indeed, if Slipstream ever becomes readily available, a central government would HAVE to exist to coordinate matters of interest across all these territories.
     
  18. Pondwater

    Pondwater Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    After 700 years or so, the Federation may not be the same Federation. It might have merged, evolved or dissolved by that time.:shrug:
     
  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    I'm just going to assume it's an isolationist colony.

    :klingon:

    Seriously, though, I loved Living Witness. Best Voyager episode ever. It should have been a two parter.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    True, but again, remember the immense scale we're talking about here. Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of different civilizations. There's just no way to keep track of all that at once, or to interact with all of them within a reasonable amount of time. Certainly, as I said, you could have networks of friendly relationships between adjacent civilizations, so one could be an ally of an ally of an ally of another civilization, and there could be enough cooperation that multiple allied civilizations could come together for a common goal as needed, but it would be piecemeal.

    And it's hard enough even for the population of the United States to agree on a common mission statement or a common interpretation of its core values. When we're talking about quadrillions or quintillions of individuals in millions of civilizations, even nominal agreement on common goals is going to translate to a lot of disagreements and differences of interpretation in practice. Different groups will drift apart in their values and practices simply from the sheer infrequency of communication among them.


    But as I said, most of the onscreen evidence shows that the Doctor can only be transferred rather than copied. Sure, you can argue in the abstract that something is plausible, but if the actual facts presented in the show depict a different scenario, then all we can do is accept that reality and try to explain it.


    Again: numbers. One planet versus billions of planets. It is simply a non-starter to propose that any Earthbound analogy could be informative when talking about a playing field billions of times larger. There comes a certain point where sheer numbers overwhelm everything else, where it would take centuries or millennia to interact even once with more than a minority of the other entities under consideration.


    Why in the world would it have to exist? That doesn't make any sense. In nature, many processes are regulated quite well by local rules. There's no central brain telling the molecules in a snowflake what overall pattern to form; they just connect at certain angles to the molecules immediately around them, and the operation of the local rules produces the emergent result of a higher order of structure. Same with an ant colony -- the queen isn't issuing orders to each individual ant, just churning out more ants that follow a limited set of local rules for interacting with their neighbors, rules which interact in such a way as to spontaneously produce higher orders of organization and complexity. Ditto for the neurons in our own brains, for that matter.

    Besides, again we come down to raw numbers. Slipstream drive may allow travel to more distant worlds, but the actual number of worlds that could be visited, settled, or allied with during the lifetime of a typical political entity or civilization would be finite. You'd still be settling/contacting the same number of worlds per year, they'd just be spread out a lot more widely. There just wouldn't be time to contact and interact with every one of a hundred million civilizations in under a few millennia, no matter how fast your drives are. There are simply too many of them.