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- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 4:08pm (USA Central)
"ESPECIALLY since all the characters agreed that it did. "
They agreed that the game ended in a stalemate because it was deadlocked at the moment of one of the players quitting. That does NOT mean that the game ever would have stopped on it's own and declared stalemate. I actually am starting to think you understand what I'm saying and are just trolling me... but I'm not sure. Elliott? Anybody? Thoughts?
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 4:06pm (USA Central)
@Elliott - I like your interpretation of Data's arc here and how it parallels Riker quite a bit. I also agree that they left the details of the game vague because it's east to fankwank a game that Data could lose at... whereas when we take one we know he shouldn't (like chess) it's just appalling. Apparently in addition to outranking the ship's second officer Troi is also a chess grandmaster capable of destroying a sentient computer :P
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 4:05pm (USA Central)
ESPECIALLY since all the characters agreed that it did.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 4:03pm (USA Central)
I do agree with most of what you're saying... but Data was surprised when Kolrami quit. Therefore quitting was not the expected action. This is the point we disagree on it seems (you seem to think Data expected to play to a point in which they could agree they had stalemated... but if that was the case... why the surprise?)
I do agree that it is does not seem that I will be able to convince you that Strategema does not tie in a stalemate.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 4:00pm (USA Central)
"Troi beating Data at chess, on the other hand, is fucking ridiculous."
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 3:43pm (USA Central)
The general context you accept states that a stalemate is characterized by when "Neither side can gain an advantage or win." Data claims specifically that he did not win, but that it was a stalemate. A state in which neither side can win, which means effectively a draw (or surely you would accept by its very definition a "lack of a win"), even in a broader cultural context. The deadlocked nature of stalemate implies no fruitful moves, i.e. no purpose to continued conflict.
The parallels to chess are intentional, as here where neither side has become capable of winning. The game is considered to end at this point, when there are no fruitful moves remaining. The statements from both Kolrami and Data indicate this recognition that the game ended as a stalemate (Kolrami says it's no longer a game, Data disagrees with Riker when he says he won, clarifing that it was a stalemate). Each recognize that ending a game isn't tantamount to losing if there is no other way for either side to resolve the game. Consequently, Kolrami did not lose and Data avowedly did not win, rather it's implied that he pulled off an upset by achieving a draw.
Again, see all points above as to why this should not be considered an upset and it's ridiculous that Data can't win. Yes, 100% of the time, barring his malfunctioning or Kolrami being unimaginably brighter than portrayed. The advantages identified are decisive and categorical.
Finally, again: possible that Strategema could not accept input speeds any faster than Kolrami can both react and calculate the best move, but utterly ridiculous that this would be the case. It would be baffling as to why they would use such equipment for this purpose when they have a lack of any technological or financial constraint.
Also, there's definitely been far too much discussion about this. If I can't convince you of what I'm saying, then one or both of us has got problems.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 3:40pm (USA Central)
a) as has been repeatedly pointed out, we don't know a damn thing about how Strategema works, and
b) the reason it's in this story is to serve as a mirror to the A-plot with RIker,
I think it's fair to assume that the game involves an element of improvisation and non-linear thinking (like Riker's plan did), elements for which no amount of computational speed could compensate. If the story had tried to explain what these elements were, it would become very tedious and probably not make any sense (like when they try to explain how the holodeck works).
Given that chess was meant to be as much an allegorical instruction tool about (feudal) politics as it was a game of militaristic strategy, I think there is probably an element of nuance in Strategema for which Data's brain (programmed as it was by a human being) cannot account, at least not at this stage of his development. Devising his ultimate strategy of stalemate (or draw, or whatever we want to call it), was in fact a step in his evolving the capacity for such improvisation. Is it a perfect analogy? Hell no, but I think we can accept what they were going for here without getting our panties in a twist over how a fictional game works. Troi beating Data at chess, on the other hand, is fucking ridiculous.
"Data correctly did not consider that he won the game because he forced a stalemate. Where stems the perplexing celebration that their relative 'victory' was by forcing a draw when Data, barring malfunction, should wipe the floor. "
The victory was in deflating Droopy's ego, thus showing that he was wrong in his assumption that he could *beat* Data. True, Data winning because of his technological wizardry would have accomplished the same thing, but it wouldn't have required Data to think outside the box, thus adding definition to his character.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 2:54pm (USA Central)
I think we've tripled the number of comments on the Peak Performance board....
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 2:52pm (USA Central)
"stale·mate (Oxford English Dictionary): a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check."
Dear lord, that's a chess definition. You can keep saying space chess as much as you want, it's not chess. The definition being used in the episode is deadlock, no matter how stubborn you want to be!
"a contest, dispute, competition, etc., in which neither side can gain an advantage or win"
Yes, this is what was happening. Data was playing to a condition where neither of them could win. There still was no indication in the episode that the game could actually END like that (without Kolrami quitting). Of course that'd require you to discuss the actual episode and Strategema instead of chess! Facts - We see 3 games of Strategema. One ends in a slaughter, one is a good game, and the other goes on longer than any Strategema game EVER, and only ends when one person quits. There is not 1 iota of evidence to support your conjecture that this game can END naturally in a tie, which must mean that Data had an eventual plan to win after Kolrami passed out from exhaustion. In order to prove your point you'd need to give 1 shred of evidence that any of the rules we are aware of claim that this is not true. But you can't. Because there is none.
"But for a game whose focus is on speed to have a input speed ceiling below what people are capable of (in a world defined with a relative void of technological limits to it's machinery or economic restraints on their implementation) would be it's very own TNG fail."
The focus is on being strategic quickly. That's not the same as a race. It may be that 5 moves a second is BLAZINGLY fast for this game (imagine making 5 moves a second in chess) and that Kolrami is capable of that. Data would obviously be capable of 30x that... but only if the input accepts such. Again, without knowing anything about the game, all you can do is guess. Since the episode supports that Data can make no mistakes and still lose I have to assume that there is something inherent to the game that makes Data going 1000 moves a second impossible.
"Data should win."
I never actually disagreed with you on that. I've just said that given the variables we don't know for certain that Data should win 100% of the time. And I stand by that!
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 2:33pm (USA Central)
Seriously, seriously. Consult any number of definitions on stalemate (or basic knowledge):
stale·mate (Oxford English Dictionary): a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check.
stalemate (Merriam webster):
: a contest, dispute, competition, etc., in which neither side can gain an advantage or win
: a situation in chess in which a player cannot successfully move any of the pieces and neither player can win
stalemate (ˈsteɪlˌmeɪt - Collins)
1. (Chess & Draughts) a chess position in which any of a player's possible moves would place his king in check: in this position the game ends in a draw
2. a situation in which two opposing forces find that further action is impossible or futile; deadlock
Data correctly did not consider that he won the game because he forced a stalemate. Where stems the perplexing celebration that their relative "victory" was by forcing a draw when Data, barring malfunction, should wipe the floor.
And yes, we can certainly not say anything with certainty about portrayals in TNG. But for a game whose focus is on speed to have a input speed ceiling below what people are capable of (in a world defined with a relative void of technological limits to it's machinery or economic restraints on their implementation) would be it's very own TNG fail. But again, this is ancillary to the fact that Kolrami could not compute the permutations himself at anything near the limit at which he could move.
Data should win. I really can't see how there's this need for this much explanation over what should be a fairly obvious fact.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 2:23pm (USA Central)
"Also, it's ridiculous to say that because Data might make errors he should pursue a draw versus Kolrami."
I never said that. I said he was playing to block Kolrami INSTEAD of playing to win because if he played to win he could lose WITHOUT making mistakes.
As to the tie... Mr. Data, would you please enlighten us on the meaning of stalemate.
DATA : Gladly sir. A stalemate, as defined by Google's dictionary is "a situation in which further action or progress by opposing or competing parties seems impossible". Synonyms being deadlock, impasse, standoff...
Thank you Mr. Data, that's enough. And the definition of draw?
DATA : A game that ends with the score even, a tie. Since Strategema is not space chess, my mention of the word stalemate implied deadlock, not a game ending tie. Strategema is not chess and a game ending tie is not a possibility in Strategema. Strategema will go on forever. Space chess is what you play on the 3D chess board. Strategema is about lighting up cubes. Space connect 4, if you will. Andrew's original premise is flawed.
Thank you Mr. Data.
I will agree with you that it's likely that the input can accept input faster than Kolrami can give it, in which case Data would be at a significant advantage. That said, we cannot say this with absolute certainty. To quote my recent award "The award is given, in your case, for 1) the Supreme Analysis of a game no one knows the rules of, and 2) the Superior Profiling of an Alien of the Week™ which no one knows anything about, or will ever see again, for that matter."
DATA : You busted him up sir.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 2:03pm (USA Central)
Obviously, TNG is interested in imparting lessons on the characters (and audience) as a primary focus. My point is breaks simple parts of it's own framework to that.
Robert, I can't believe the stalemate/draw argument has gone this far. If you are familiar at all with what a stalemate is (if not, just google it, google handily provides you with this definition), then you know a stalemate IS a draw. There's no distinction. All your handwaving doesn't change that. Data did not win, he drew the match.
To your other points, we do indeed not know the full rules of space chess. But by just looking at the movements, it's clear the number of permutations (especially when it goes to a vast number of levels) is intended to be even greater than that of chess. That's the idea: take super speed chess and make it even more complex.
And to your point that memory and speed are not synonymous: that is of course true, but it's not a feat of sheer memorization, it's also calculation and adjustment at a staggering rate. In order for Kolrami to accmomplish a draw, his computational speed and memory would have to be comparable with Data, which would imply a level of functional intelligence far^far greater than what he has shown.
Also, about input speeds. The input speeds do not need to be as fast as Data can enter them, they only need to be slightly faster than Kolrami can. If the input speeds can not match basic humanoid hand movements speeds, again I contend that the device is not suitable to the game (and logically therefore, would not be the device they choose to use).
So again, yes, it wants to say that you can lose without making a mistake. But that does not fit the scenario they've devised whatsoever. Data SHOULD win.
Also, it's ridiculous to say that because Data might make errors he should pursue a draw versus Kolrami. Because Data uses precise algorithms to calculate the permutations, it would take a system malfunction (which is what Data was worried about) to make any mistake. Even in this context, however, there is no gain to pursuing a draw versus a win. It would imply he is fundamentally unable to calculate the permutations correctly. Moreover Data, after the final game, says that this was not the case. He just couldn't best Kolrami, only pursue a tie (the principal absurdity).
Dave in NC
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 1:29pm (USA Central)
I wear my nerd crown proudly. :)
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 1:16pm (USA Central)
@Ospero - In addition to having a bio-chemistry that magically erases memories of other species, even though that would not be a particularly useful adaptation on a single species planet, they have also developed a computer virus that works on all operating systems.
"CHAKOTAY: I agree. But I think we have to make sure she doesn't have some hidden agenda. If she was here there should be some evidence of it. She said a computer virus was planted to wipe all references to her being here, but I have to believe we can at least turn up some evidence of tampering. Harry, Tuvok, Tom. Do the same with her ship. See if the navigational logs support what she's saying. "
The episode is REALLY, REALLY stupid... but I actually like it (and I'm usually pretty harsh on VOY). Go figure!
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 1:05pm (USA Central)
Hm. Transitioning from this series to Doctor Who apparently makes you uglier while enhancing your abilities. (The Silence from DW are lost from your memory as soon as you lose sight of them. Incidentally, the episodes featuring them also show how to utilize a species with an ability like that - they're very well suited for paranoia/horror-type stories.)
Also, since I'm not about to re-watch this piece of blandness any time soon: did they mention why the Doctor (ha!) would forget? Apparently that miracle virus can affect his memory engrams, too, but even so, what about the first time?
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 1:00pm (USA Central)
How many internets do I get for that award? :)
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 11:33am (USA Central)
@Dave, Elliott, and Robert: I'm with Robert on this one, gentlemen. While Elliott has a point, I think that Data already knew that: that's why he did it. The important lesson, as Robert points out and I quote, is "to learn that sometimes you just lose, even if you make no mistakes." It is indeed a very valuable lesson ― not as much for Data, but for the 10-year-old kid watching the series.
Regardless of all that, I'd like to present Dave & Robert with... the Jammer Nerd Award of the Week, for Outstanding Nerdiness Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.
The award is given, in your case, for 1) the Supreme Analysis of a game no one knows the rules of, and 2) the Superior Profiling of an Alien of the Week™ which no one knows anything about, or will ever see again, for that matter.
Yours is quite simply outstanding work, gentlemen! Thank you for being a radiant deflector array for us all to follow! It's people like you that make Star Trek fandom what it is. We, the lesser nerds, salute you! ;)
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 10:52am (USA Central)
@Elliott - I do think that's half of it, but the lesson that I most took from this when I was little is that sometimes through no fault of your own you lose. The point of all of his diagnostics and whatnot was that he was the human equivalent of replaying the event in your head over and over again.... (if this had been TOS and Kolrami had been Kirk Data would likely have exploded)
But it is important to learn that sometimes you just lose, even if you make no mistakes. Accepting a loss is a valuable lesson. So I do think that Data learned the value of competition (the entire episode was framed around competition of one sort or another), but I also think he learned how to lose. Which is also interesting. And human.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 10:23am (USA Central)
"THAT was the whole point of the story, that neither one of them made any mistakes and Data lost."
Well, partially, yes, but I think the real point of the story was to teach Data a lesson about humanity. I'm sure if Droopy Dog and Data played a dozen games, Data would have won at least once, but that wouldn't have made an impact on him or been interesting to watch. What Data did (as Robert pointed out, a employing a strategy which would guarantee that Data could never *lose*, though he couldn't technically *win*) was manage to frustrate Droopy into quitting, thus knocking him of his smug highhorse. This notion of cutting him down emotionally is a very human trait--vindictiveness, resentment, pleasure at the misery of one's enemies--and that's what Data learns here, and that's the point of the story.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 9:36am (USA Central)
"You're saying a stalemate isn't possible, simply as an assertion. You even say that my contention that it was considered a draw is "silly." Frankly, that's a bit baffling and I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that maybe you haven't watched this ep recently. I'm telling you what Data explicitly said, "It's a stalemate." He said this twice with no one else saying anything to the contrary. Consequently, it would sure as hell seem it was a stalemate."
Here is the actual script
"KOLRAMI: Bah! (throws off the controls)
DATA: Why have you suspended the game?
KOLRAMI: Because this is not a rematch. You have made a mockery of me.
(Kolrami exits in high dudgeon)
RIKER: Data, you beat him!
DATA: No, sir. It is a stalemate. "
Data was calling the game a stalemate because he had brought the game to a stall (blocking every advancement opportunity for Kolrami). But the game did not end, Kolrami quit. It was obvious. I didn't say a stalemate wasn't possible, I said a DRAW wasn't possible. This was, per the episodes description, the longest game ever of Strategema. If the longest game ever could have gone on even longer (Data seems surprised when he ends the game) it is obvious that a draw is not a state that is programmed into the game.
Moreover, you originally said that my interpretation of Data's plan was explicitly wrong. I ask you again to explain. If there is no draw condition in the game (which, if you can't see that as obvious I guess we'll just have to stop discussing it... the idea that the game will stalemate out in 50k moves when 32k didn't do it is still silly) and Kolrami quitting was something Data did not expect.... there is only one possible alternative. He was attempting to wear the man down. Or play until the heat death of the universe. Whichever you like.
"You're saying some people can memorize or compute an impressive amount. Compared to me or you, agreed. Compared to a computer of the sophistication of Data, not even close."
Agreed of course. But without knowing how many possible moves Strategema has I cannot, with 100% certainty say that Kolrami cannot memorize all of the moves. If I can memorize every permutation of tic-tac-toe who is to say that some biological organism doesn't have the memory capacity to memorize Strategema. We don't even know how to play Strategema!
"And as I said, TNG could certainly create a character of that level of intelligence, but as every second of the episode showed, Kolrami was not that character."
I agree Kolrami isn't that brilliant in the context of an episode... but brilliance and memorization capacity are not the same thing.
"The issue is not the speed of input, first of all, it's reaction time and calculation time."
I do agree here. My point about input maximum capacity is that we have seen episodes where Data moves so fast the screen blurs and then you said "imagine that moves in tic tac-tac-toe didn't have to be sequential: a computer could fill in every space before you even entered in one". I was just pointing out that it's unlikely the input would be able to handle Data clearing the board at "blur speed" before Kolrami could even get a move off. The little finger inputs would just be confused.
As to some of your other points...
1) Data should know the exact max speed of input of a Strategema system and increase/decrease his hand speed to give him a maximum number of per second inputs. This would give him an advantage over Kolrami. Unless of course the maximum number of moves is something a human could do. I don't know for sure.
2) Yes, Data should be able to react faster than Kolrami. Even if Kolrami has every permutation measured, Data should still probably have a cognitive advantage.
But is that to say that Data could NEVER lose? What if there was a 10% chance of Data losing. That still makes him 10x better than Kolrami. Kolrami against a Kolrami duplicate would likely win 50% of the time. Maybe Kolrami vs Data would only win 10% of the time. And maybe that's how Data lost. And perhaps Data was trying his new strategy because there was no other way to ensure 100% that he would not lose.
I'm not saying that there aren't holes here, I just don't know that, with knowing nothing about the game or the mental capabilities of Kolrami's people that I can say with 100% certainty that Data should not have been able to lose. You say that "we make errors", speaking of us as humanoids here (I assume, else Kolrami would be exempt). Well, why is it implausible that, in their first game, Kolrami made no errors.
THAT was the whole point of the story, that neither one of them made any mistakes and Data lost.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 2:40am (USA Central)
For the Uniform
I don't subscribe to the notion that one must agree with the actions of a protagonist in order for that fiction to be successful (which is why I find the What-Would-Gene-Say argument aggressively immature). Drama has never been about that. Sympathy is important but agreement is not. On the other hand, I can't tell someone how to react to something.
My own instinct is that Sisko's actions are justified. Poisoning a planet to stop the Maquis is a reasonable trade-off. The inhabitants aren't limited to living there. If the Maquis insist on fighting, something needs to be done to stop them. They are absolutely a menace to interstellar peace.
Sisko had a particularly good line to Eddington about promising a positive outcome to the people under him (though I'd like to hear Kira's thoughta on that). If the Federation actually put the resources into destroying the Maquis, it'd be a lopsided affair. They aren't getting their homes back, and turning your people into targets helps no one.
This episode has problems, though. I have no problem with the decision Sisko made, but I am less satisfied with his motivation. He's never been this angry before. While it's fun to watch Sisko see red, this feels like it got hot without actually *heating up*. I understand why he's upset (think back to Cal Hudson and Sisko literally trying to offer him his uniform back) but the vendetta angle is pushed far too hard, and the Les Mis analogy is ridiculous as anything more than a taunt. Eddington is no stranger to hyperbole (calling the Federation the Borg, for one), so the Javert reference works as a way to further needle Sisko. That it nearly becomes the a-ha moment that leads to Sisko beating Eddington is too much. Dax calls Hugo too melodramatic, so that makes Eddington look equally foolish when it's that melodrama that undoes him. Sisko deserves a better foe (he has one - Dukat) but Eddington also deserves better characterization if he's our face of the Maquis.
I want to say this is a great episode, but I know it isn't. But when I want to call it bad, I don't think it's that either. It works plot-wise, really. Reading a synopsis makes it sound like a stellar entry, but the trouble lies between the lines of the synopsis.
A very difficult 2 1/2 score on Jammer's scale.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 2:17am (USA Central)
Call to Arms
@M.P. In TOS, Federation ships were clearly superior -- how much pounding did the Enterprise always take before disabling the enemy with a single shot.
I think they didn't show big battles in TOS / TNG because they were expensive to film -- now, with CGI, they're not.
A "real world" reason why you didn't see big battle scenes might be this:
In TOS, battles were fought at ranges of 30,000 - 100,000 km (which makes sense for FTL-capable ships). You'd need high magnification to even see a ship at that range. Even if you had 50 ships in a single battle, they'd be spread out over millions of km. There's no way you'd ever see more than 2 or 3 up close at any one time.
(Not sure why battles are now fought at "point blank" range -- other than it looks cool.)
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 1:35am (USA Central)
You're saying a stalemate isn't possible, simply as an assertion. You even say that my contention that it was considered a draw is "silly." Frankly, that's a bit baffling and I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that maybe you haven't watched this ep recently. I'm telling you what Data explicitly said, "It's a stalemate." He said this twice with no one else saying anything to the contrary. Consequently, it would sure as hell seem it was a stalemate.
But beyond that, again, saying we our brains are biocomputers is disingenuous, because it's implying we behave in the same way in terms of computational systems and precision. We don't--not in the way that you're using this analogy. We do not behave with the straightforward mathematical algorithms, we make errors, and put simply we cannot mentally calculate the enormity of permutations in a game as simple as chess (compared to space chess). Or see my earlier example, of the relatively extremely simply example of calculating 7^22. A computer could do that in far less than a second, with a human it would be an exhaustive effort to compute this value in his head manually, it would be nearly impossible and take a long time.
You're saying some people can memorize or compute an impressive amount. Compared to me or you, agreed. Compared to a computer of the sophistication of Data, not even close. Just read a little bit about chess-playing computers and tablebases to see this. Currently, the best computer programs are given restricted number of tablebases (about 5-6 moves deep) in only the opening and the endgame and still the best grandmasters in the world cannot beat them in an even match (in fact, they are given advantages at the outset and still routinely lose). Data could calculate every permutation 50 levels deep. That is simply so far beyond human capabilities it's not funny. And as I said, TNG could certainly create a character of that level of intelligence, but as every second of the episode showed, Kolrami was not that character.
Finally, you make the point that there are limits to how fast data could be entered in to the system and say Data just can't move that fast. The issue is not the speed of input, first of all, it's reaction time and calculation time (and really, sheer feasibility), which I haven't made clear to you by now, then I give up. But even so, Data's super-physical attributes would suggest he probably could move his hands faster. Also, as space chess is in many ways a race, the device used would presumably be able to accept inputs at speeds at least slightly greater than the speed at which any of its user base can enter them, otherwise you'd have to really question it's suitability to the game. Certainly, there is no evidence that either player was restricted by it's ability to read inputs at the speed they could enter them.
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 1:03am (USA Central)
Behind the Lines
I thought taking Sisko off the front lines made all the sense in the world. This is the first time (that we know of) the Federation has been on the losing side of a full-scale war. They would value people like him with real tactical and strategic experience and would make use of that.
To the person above who said the Federation is a very big place: that just further supports the point.
1) The single tactical wing Sisko is now planning for is just one of many. With how large the Federation is, it could be one of dozens.
and also important:
2) Sisko isn't in charge of this tactical wing. He is an advisor to Admiral Ross who is truly in charge and has all final say. It is stated several times in dialogue that they work together in the planning (Sisko only plans one mission solo but still needs approval. The rest is stated to be a joint effort.)
- Thu, Sep 11, 2014, 12:50am (USA Central)
In the Cards
Gotta love the Jake / Nog discussion about money:
J: "... it means.... it means we don't need money."
N: "Well, if you don't need money, then you certainly don't need mine."
QED. Humans *do* need money. Maybe not all the time, and maybe not for the bare necessities, but if you want, say, a Willie Mays baseball card, perhaps some non-replicated food, whatever cargo Kassidy's hauling around this week, or a week on Risa -- in short, anything where demand could exceed supply -- you'd better have some way to pay. And that means a medium of exchange. The alternative is bartering, which makes for fun TV, but is a lousy way to run an economy.
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