Why hate replicator????

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by pimp, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Starfleet probably has some form of payment to those who serve, but in the Federation, when replicators are included in everyone's home (unless it is specifically taken out or the person building the house chooses not to include it), there's no need for them to carry money.

    However, the Federation does come across many places that still use currency, so in order for the people who've signed up for fleet service to get around on those planets, they can withdraw the money in the form of the local currency.

    Of course, I'm still fuzzy abou the case of worlds that haven't previously encountered the Federation or in cases like Quark's, where we often see Starfleet officers at the Dabo wheel...
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I'd think the money our Starfleet heroes use abroad is like glass baubles: you throw them at the natives, and they get to decide which sort they like, after which you can use those as currency.

    Thus, Crusher would get his piece of cloth, and the Bandi merchant would contact her ship and specify the type of payment he wanted. The ship would then produce that payment, say, by replicating suitable coins or bills, or an appropriate amount of gold or ethanol or ratskins, or whatever. The UFP economy wouldn't lose a single credit-cent (the replication might cost 0.47 cents, though), but the Bandi economy would gain the desired amount of coins, bills, gold, booze or fur.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^ My tag on this as well.
     
  4. Brian

    Brian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wasn't the idea of gold-pressed latinum that it couldn't be replicated? Gold lost its value once replicators were invented. The gold bars are just used to carry the latinum atoms. I'm sure I read/saw that somewhere. It would explain why people with access to replicators don't necessarily lead extravagant lives by replicating their own currency.
     
  5. cultcross

    cultcross Janitor of the Mind Palace Moderator

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    On the other hand he also acted surprised and said "They're still using money - we need to get some" earlier in the film.

    Picard says it in First Contact, and very unambiguously.
    "The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th Century"

    We've encountered substances that can't be replicated, odds are substances that are used as currency, such as latinum, are examples of such.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    But we haven't.

    That is, no substance or construct has ever been described as unreplicable. Our heroes and villains may have failed to replicate some things in some situations, but they have never claimed they would be unreplicable in all circumstances.

    On screen, the replicator has been shown to create living neural tissue, working phasers, complex computer circuitry, and even intricate alien machinery whose working principles are beyond UFP scientific understanding. There has been no statement to the effect that latinum or dilithium or antimatter could not be replicated, even though it is obvious that replication is not a primary production method for these substances.

    It would seem to be a matter of replication costs vs. the costs of competing manufacturing methods. To create a kilogram of antimatter, you probably need ten kilograms of antimatter. And why replicate dilithium when recrystallizing your old dilithium, or mining new stuff with slave labor, is so much cheaper? Gold-pressed latinum probably isn't all that different from dollar bills: it's made of worthless materials that are readily available in the open market, but those materials are combined in a very specific manner that is somewhat expensive to reproduce, and this combination is arbitrarily given an abstract value for use as currency.

    Or then latinum indeed cannot be replicated no matter how hard you try. But neither option has ever been stated on screen, and both remain open to speculation.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Brian

    Brian Vice Admiral Admiral

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    According to Memory Alpha:

     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...However, Memory Alpha is dead wrong about that claim - there is absolutely nothing in the aired version of "Who Mourns for Morn?" that would establish latinum as unreplicable. Or in any other episode, for that matter.

    The part about unreplicability is backstage speculation. The part about suspending latinum in gold is the one that was explicated in "Who Mourns for Morn?".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. cultcross

    cultcross Janitor of the Mind Palace Moderator

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    Weren't bio-neural gel packs stated to be non-replicable on Voyager?

    Well that's a bit pedantic really isn't it - for discussing the purposes of an economy, something that we haven't managed to replicate pretty much counts as not able to be replicated, wouldn't you say?

    As for latinum, you're correct in saying that it has never been explicitly stated that it can't be replicated, but I think it's a fair assumption - after all, gold is worthless, as you could replicate as much as you wanted, so in order to make latinum worth something, it is reasonable to assume that freedom of replication doesnt apply.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Not necessarily. Even though Romulans in "Data's Day" may have failed to replicate perfectly convincing body remains, this need not mean they couldn't have done it. It merely means they didn't think they would need to make a fake that was that good, only a fake that was this good.

    That's the thing with forgery in general: there's little point in creating perfect five-dollar bills, because those will never go under close scrutiny, and perfection would cost more than the five dollars, but there is a lot of point in creating perfect hundred-dollar bills. Just because the five-dollar fake is crude is no proof that it's impossible to create a perfect hundred-dollar fake.

    But "freedom of replication" should be seen as a relative thing. Dollar bills have value despite being made of worthless materials in a process that can be copied. Gold has value wholly disproportionate to the usefulness of the material itself. Future folks could easily continue to use paper bills or gold coins as currency even when replicators can create those essentially for free - the abstract value of those things would simply have to be coded into the items, like today's bills are transformed from toilet paper to currency by virtue of having a serial number.

    The bottom line is this: no limitations have never been explicated for the replicator. Instead, it has been shown to be capable of astonishing things, with nary a shrug from our heroes when it does so. For it to be incapable of replicating substance X, something extraordinary would have to apply.

    GPL might be something extraordinary, of course. But it might also be something as mundane as the silver out of which coins are minted.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. cultcross

    cultcross Janitor of the Mind Palace Moderator

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    As I mentioned and you glossed over, so I looked up specifically:

    JANEWAY: Those gel packs run half the critical systems on this ship. Once they run out, that’s it. We can’t replicate new ones.
    VOY, Learning Curve.

    Now, if it were possible to replicate new gel packs, don't you think they might have bothered to include this possibility in the replicators on board a ship which relies on them? To me, the meaning of this line is clear: they can't be replicated. And mentions elsewhere on Voyager of searching for dilithium strongly suggests this can't be replicated. Mining might be cheaper or easier back in the AQ but if it could be replicated, wouldn't Voyager have tried that?
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure about dilithium: if it takes a lot of energy or time or computing power to replicate it, Janeway would go for every opportunity to obtain it by other means, such as trade or direct mining. And it's not as if our heroes in VOY, TNG or DS9 really ever run out of dilithium, or go actively hunting for it. ("Demon" has them hunting for deuterium instead, which is a poor choice treknologically, but there you have it).

    However, you make a good point about the gel-packs. If a well-equipped starship that in a previous episode was capable of replicating new neural tissue can't do those, then it might be that they really are unreplicable overall. And AFAIK, this is the only time in Trek when something is directly stated to be unreplicable (without the specifier "in our current predicament", as was used in TNG "Night Terrors").

    One might of course argue that Janeway would be the sort of skipper to first run out of spare gel-packs and then start worrying about the fact that the lack of gel-packs makes the replicators inoperable. :devil:

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. cultcross

    cultcross Janitor of the Mind Palace Moderator

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    :lol:
    Besides, the line is pretty much in there because the jeopardy of the plotline entirely relied on the gel packs being a finite resource.
     
  14. SoM

    SoM Commander Red Shirt

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    The difference is though, that only the amount of latinum matters - standard coins (made out of various metals, such as copper-nickel alloy or copper-plated steel) and paper money hold a face value higher than their "scrap value" (i.e., the value of the metal in the coins, etc) because they constitute a promise to the bearer by the central bank of (insert-country here) to provide $X/£Y/€Z/etc worth of collateral on-demand.

    GPL's monetary value, on the other hand, is purely a function of the quantity of latinum involved - as is made clear when Morn vomits up a small quantity of the stuff and Quark reacts as if he's been given the equivalent number of bricks. Thus, if it's not rare, the value collapses just as any market in a given substance collapses when the market's flooded. (and given the supposed energy surplus in ST times, if something can be replicated, it will be. Look at the tiny quantity Morn vomits at the end of WMFM, which Quark claims is around "a hundred bricks worth!" - and the episode makes clear that 100br is a LOT - and even a fraction of a gram becomes more than worth replicating).
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, that pool of liquid could already carry the "serial numbers" that give it its abstract worth. Quark already knows the stuff is "money latinum" so he doesn't have to worry about it being uncoded "ordinary latinum" that would only attain value through a process analogous to the printing of bills.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. SoM

    SoM Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, to do that, you'd have to imprint every individual atom (latinum being metallic, there would be no "molecules" per se) with its' own unique serial number - after all, if somewhere around 5-10ml constitutes ~100 bricks, how little is in a slip of GPL? Especially if you can extract that latinum from the slip and physically place it, along with similarly-extracted latinum, in new gold bricks to then make a whole brick of GPL while the brick holds the complete monetary value of a brick. And once you've then done that - a fiendish technical challenge, but probably not impossible - you then need to read all of the atoms to ensure there's no non-moneyed latinum mixed in and verify them. And, of course, you then need to prevent forgeries.

    And is all this state intervention and enforcement really the (pre-Moogie) Ferengi?
     

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