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Sun, Aug 1, 2021, 12:15am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

I find the whole discussion about how a computer like Data should be able to destroy Kolrami funny, considering that, at the time of those comments, computers couldn't even beat us in Go.

I compete in and study a similar game (chess), and let me tell you, calculation speed is not enough. If I use a program with a bad "understanding" of chess it doesn't matter what system I play on, I'll win. Exponential growth of possibilities means that calculation to the end is impossible. At some point some form of evaluation function will have to be used to evaluate the branches in the tree. If that function is bad, nothing else matters.

Let's look a LC0, a self learning neural network designed to play chess. When it started, it was garbage. And it stayed that way for a long time, even after months of training. It took a long time for it to "learn" enough about the game (aka modify weights in a network) to be really good. Now it's one of the best engines out there (behind Stockfish).

Data playing Stratagema is like LC0 when it's first starting out. It knows nothing about the game other than what it can calculate. And since it can't calculate to the end, or to an obviously superior position, that's almost worthless. Just because he's a computer doesn't mean he can inherently create abstract strategies that are better than those of a long time player.

This is why I love this episode. Data doesn't understand enough about the game to know what he did wrong. And it drives him nuts. If Data devoted himself to the game, he would surely surpass any organic being before too long, but as it stands he's simply inferior. And he's not sure how to deal with this.

And the solution is brilliant. I can imagine a game where one cannot calculate a victory, but they COULD calculate a draw. Where that's much simpler. He's acknowledging his own shortcomings, and playing to his strengths. It's great, and more realistic than people think.
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Tue, Sep 1, 2020, 2:12am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

OK, 20 years later I feel compelled to weigh in.

First off, regardless of the morality of the ending, the episode was very good. The acting was good. The dialogue was good. The music was good. The story was good. They really put you into an alien mind, which is no small feat. I feel like the episode works on a lot of levels.

That being said, Phlox and Archer definitely were wrong, in my opinion. In fact, I'm contorting myself to try to come up with a way that this can be viewed as morally gray, in even the smallest respect, but I just can't do it.

So how does the episode try to justify it? I'll sum it up:

1. The disease is genetic, not an outside agent
2. There's another developing species on the planet
3. They are a pre warp civilization
4. It's an alien world and we shouldn't interfere

The episode tries to disguise the fact that these are terrible reasons by combining all of them into one big confusing argument. But when you break it down none of them make any sense.

What the hell does it being genetic matter? We fight against genetic diseases all the time NOW, we don't stop people with Sickle Cell from getting bone marrow transplants because it's "the natural evolutionary process." By the logic of the commenters above, what right do we have to interfere?

Oh, but it's an alien planet! ...And? Like, what does that have to do with anything? The prime directive only emphasizes non-interference because of cultural preservation and the safety that comes with a slow, natural development. It's not because other planets aren't as worthy of life or whatever. Would you argue that doctors shouldn't treat patients from other countries? Other ethnicities? What's the difference between that and other planets? Some arbitrary technological red line?

The only factor that might've made for an interesting moral dilemma is the Menk, but the only way that would work is if they were actively being persecuted, and if the diseased party were generally the bad guys. As it stands, that argument could apply to any species in the ST universe. Oh, Humans are holding Klingons back from their true potential. We should let all of them die! It's ridiculous, and tries to hide that behind some mystical worship of "evolution." It doesn't change the calculus at all.

The prime directive is about cultural preservation and the understanding that slow, self-generated progress is beneficial to a society as a whole. Not from some aversion to playing god.
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Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 1:15am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

I really don't like what they did to Seven. You can make a change make sense, but that doesn't make it a good change.

My issue isn't "Seven would never do this," it's "The writers shouldn't have done this." They completely changed the heart and soul of the character OFF SCREEN. This could've been any generic ex borg and they'd barely have to swap some names out. That's unacceptable for a character with so much history. If you want to use Seven, use Seven.

She was unrecognizable, and that's not something I can forgive.
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Thu, Feb 6, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

I've only seen episode 1, as I'm saving the rest to watch with family, but I see a trend in these comments that I want to address.

Just because it could happen doesn't mean it should happen.

Yes, it's possible that humanity reverts itself to a nastier time, or becomes less idealistic or whatever. Sure. I just think that it's a stupid direction to take Star Trek.

Q could've destroyed the enterprise in episode 1, yet it still wouldn't have liked that twist.

Star Trek has always had a distinct vision. An optimistic outlook that yes, is challenged, but still defines the whole future it tries to present. Sure, we've known criminals and murderers exist in the ST universe, they're bad people, but they certainly don't define the tone or message of the story being told.

Star Trek has also always been theatrical. It's about quiet moments and big characters. It's about people living in a sci-fi setting, not the setting itself. This understanding ties together TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY. Despite their differences. I feel like they're losing their soul with these recent additions.
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