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Lynos
Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 7:41am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Why didn't Discovery simply beam Airiam back and put her under confinement?

Dedalus was the father of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun on artificial wings and perished. So the Red Angel was created by a project within section 31?

- Airiam, one of the most intriguing characters on the show, finally gets developed only to be killed off by the end of the hour. What a waste. On the other hand, leaving us with only glimpses of who she was is quite intriguing on its own, even though it hampers this particular episode's emotional payoff.

- I still can't bring myself to care regarding Spock's and Micheal's family drama.

- the continual use of elaborate, spinning camera moves by different directors tells me it's more of a stylistic mandate of the show than a choice.
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Lynos
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 4:50am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

It was a good episode and a good review by Jammer, but personally I don't really feel that it achieved any particular greatness.
I dunno. Yeah, it's cool to see the Cage and seeing Vina and the Talosians again ("we can speak the old-fashioned way for your benefit and for the benefit of modern audiences"), but other than that... what? Perhaps it's because I'm not really emotionally invested in the retconned relationship between Spock and his sister. I don't get it. Why does she have to be his sister other than connecting Discovery to TOS? I'm simply not that interested in this plot line and the stakes it supposedly raises.
For me Saints of Imperfection for example was a more satisfying episode because it managed to be exciting and thoughtful without tethering itself to old Trek and to fan service. It stood on its own.

But what is a four star episode in a serialized drama anyway? I feel it's much harder to pinpoint than with an episodic show.
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Lynos
Sun, Mar 10, 2019, 4:31am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

@ Spockless

While I agree Krill was a good episode that was actually funny, I have to disagree with the assertion that Orville pokes fun at Trek conventions. It doesn't. It uses Trek plots and tropes, but the humor is very random and "sitcommy". That's where the incongruous nature of the show stems from. What does the a cavity body search has to do with the serious themes of this episode?
Sometimes the random humor works and sometimes it doesn't. It mostly works where the comedy is organic to the story, but even then it's still mostly random and is not particular to trek or to science fiction

I wish it was a real Star Trek spoof. Again, for a Trek spoof done right we can find no better example than Galaxy Quest.
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Lynos
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 11:28am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Blood of Patriots

Pretty average episode. The writing just didn't deliver on this one. Lots of forced dialogue and blunt exposition (did Talla really say "my parent made me practice it, that's why I didn't get laid" regarding the musical instrument)?
The humor didn't land this time around either. The boarding scene with the Krill and Talla was just stupid) ,

The alien creature with blood that can be weaponized is a nifty idea that was not developed enough (why did they do with her afterwards)? In general I find it hard to get attached to any serious plots involving Malloy since he's such a doofus, but there was nothing really to latch on here.

And yeah, Isaac had two lines, but this is an episodic show so no guarantees for immediate continuity.

Also, I feel like Malloy could've just stunned Orin at the end and thus save him, instead of destroying the panel, hightailing it out into space (a cool scebe, I must admit) and then let him explode to pieces.

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Lynos
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 2:13am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

Gerontius said: "Bortus has some of the funniest lines, but he isn't trying to be funny when he says them."

Yup! He is the funniest character because he deadpans it completely (the actor is fantastic). It's the same reason why Leslie Nielsen is so funny in the Zucker/Abrahms/Zucker comedies. So his scenes usually come off more genuine than Malloy's quips, because Bortus doesn't even know he's supposed to be funny. Also, Talla is horrible at delivering zingers, sorry. She's always standing there, then the camera cuts to her close-up, she's quipping something in her monotonous voice, back to wide shot.
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Lynos
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

"Throwing in jokes in serious, even desperate, situations is actually precisely how people operate in my experience. It's an essential survival mechanism. The Orville isn't interested in being realistic (and it shouldn't be), but this tendency to "inappropriate humour" is pretty realistic."

Not the way the Orville does it. Usually there would be a serious scene, then someone cracks a joke out of nowhere (usually Malloy or Mercer) and then we're back to serious again. They don't come off as blowing off steam, it sounds very scripted. Don't get me wrong, it's usually funny even while it's random (like Ed asking the Kaylons if they have chairs), but tonally it can be jarring.
If you wanna look at something similar that does it much more smoothly then look no further than Galaxy Quest, a bona fide Star Trek spoof that manages to tell a real story with real stakes while injecting lots of humor into the proceedings, but the humor always comes naturally from the situation and is never arbitrary.

Orville's humor is mostly based on zingers, not on developing situations. That's why I keep mentioning Cupid's Arrow in these threads because it was the only Orville episode to date that was hilarious from start to finish in an organic way, because of the its premise.
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Lynos
Thu, Mar 7, 2019, 6:56am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

Where did Jammer call the show "brainless"? I did not see it anywhere in his review. He called is "lightweight". Not the same thing. I don't think he thinks it's brainless, and I don't think it's brainless. But I do agree with him that the show has a sort of knee-jerk reaction to throw in jokes even in serious episodes, so it's hard to take it totally seriously. There is a push and pull between comedy and drama that has not been resolved yet and perhaps never will.

I've been watching Family Guy for years and it has the same push/pull, but to a lesser degree. Sometimes it really wants to tell profound stories and to develop its characters, especially those of Brian and Stewie (Peter is a lost cause), but it tends to sell them short in the next scene with a joke, because, well, it's a comedy show.

Orville is not at that level, but the same dichotomy seeps through, no doubt borne out of the sensibilities of the show's creator. We can enjoy the show on its own merits rather than looking for something that isn't there and resisting criticisms. It's okay to criticize the Orville. It's not critic-proof. It's still a super-cool show with lots of interesting ideas, it's just that it can get a bit frustrating when it's aiming for the sky but falls short, sometimes by a little, and sometimes by a lot.

But ambition is good, I want ambitious TV show, and Orville is certainly ambitious and gets more ambitious as it goes along.

There is a reason I come here to talk about The Orville and I hardly have anything to say about Discovery. To me the Orville is the much more interesting show.
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Lynos
Mon, Mar 4, 2019, 1:55am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

Troy, to me Isaac's actions dsn't feel like a deux ex machina because they were set up at least one scene before when he expressed his misgivings regarding the execution of the crew member via the airlock.
Also, I urge everyone to note the scenes in this and in the previous episode where Isaac is challenged by the crew but stays silent, only staring at them with his blue orbs for eyes. Isaac was always such a chatty and opinionated character and was never known to be the silent type. This spells confusion to me, or at least uncertainty, on his part. Also his remark to Mercer (?) "be silent" and "you do not command me anymore" suggest an emotion, or a psuedo-emotion at least. but the effect is the same. This was also set up on "Happy Refrain" when Claire's actions caused him to become speechless.

In other words, I feel that Isaac's proclivity for uncertainty, emergent emotional reaction and confusion is very well set-up for his character. Yes, they could've made it more gradual, but they only have 50 minutes to tell the story. On the whole I think it was handled rather well. And as long there isn't a reset button and this will have reprucussions down the line I have no problem with how they chose to end the episode.
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Lynos
Fri, Mar 1, 2019, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part II

My god, they managed to have their cake and eat it too (a human cliche).

Some plot mechanics were a bit too convennient, but all in all I thought it was an examplery conclusion to last weeks' entry.

Not really a reset button, even though Isaac stays on the ship. And that space battle was a spectacular, movie-level affair. I don't want Orville to be an action show, but that was a humdinger of an episode.

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Lynos
Wed, Feb 27, 2019, 6:42am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

Regarding the fact the Kaylons don't disable Isaac and they said they would... I watched the episode again and they specifically say that they decided not to turn him off by request of the Orville crew. So... maybe no conspiracy here. I dunno. But the episode does supply an explanation.

By the way, how did Isaac came to be known as Isaac? Was it a named given to him by the crew? Was it ever explained?

I wholeheartedly agree with Jammer's assessment of the episode and with the comment above me by Tim C. It's a very effective episode but if the show wants to ever reach the four star territory it needs to become more focused and deliberate, to become more of its own thing and less muddled about its identity.

And fittingly, Identity part 1 is a step in the right direction.
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Lynos
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

The final verdict regarding this episode will depend on what they decide to do with Isaac.
There are essentially two options:

- Isaac's character is irredeemable.
- Isaac's character is not irredeemable.

The more balsy move will be the first option. It will actually make sense within the context of the show. Isaac was always studying the crew. He never pretended otherwise. He never showed any particular empathy towards anybody. Even turoring Claire's kids and dating Claire was a calculated move done in the context of said research. Honestly, this is a logical progression of his character. His mission complete, he is now removed from his position and responsibilities and has no need now for any emotional attachments.

In this episode, Claire snaps out of her illusion of a relationship with Isaac. Isaac's line to Ty that goes something like "I have kept everything in my database, I'll never forget you" is brilliant and heartbreaking. The juxtaposition between Issac's farewell party and his ultimate betrayal... it packs a punch. It's a story about a crew of somewwhat naive, optimistic, wide-eyed space explorers trusting not only their ship but their feelings in the hands of an unfeeling, coldly logical AI... and pay a heavy price for it.

However, if Isaac is revealed to have been reprogrammed against his will and he somehow saves the day (technobabble solution to retreive Isaac's original programming, then Isaac helps the Orville find the weak spot in the Kaylons' armor and defeat them), then he will revert back to his lovable self, allowing Claire for example to resume their relationship. In effect it will be a reset button.

It may still be interesting, especially if Isaac disengages himself from the Kaylons and becomes more of an individual - but it will be the more safe and obvious choice.
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Lynos
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: The Sound of Thunder

Both Discovery and Orville apparently not only delievred very good episodes this week (perhaps even their respective series' best), the two also share a lot in common. In both a beloved crew member returns to his homeworld, inititating world-changing events. Both crew members are very alien with not much known about them by the crew they serve with. Of course that's where the similarities end. Still, it's curious.
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Lynos
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 4:41am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

Yup, it's a nitpick, I never used the words "implausible" or "detracting". It just felt like an obvious trope. But it doesn't hurt the episode in any meaningful way.

For the record, I think the final scene was very effective.
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Lynos
Sun, Feb 24, 2019, 2:53am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

So this impressive episode does have some cracks, so let's get them out of the way first:

- I do agree Ty getting out of the ship and climbing down to find the boneyard is strecthes credibility.
- In retrospect, I didn't fully understand the plot device of having Isaac shut-off immediatlety and without warning. First, if this was an official research mission, it would stand to reason that the Orville will have some kind of heads-up that a key crew member of theirs is about to become incapacitated. Second, The Kaylons could not have known for sure that the Orville will arrive at their planet to "fix" Isaac. It would've made more sense if Isaac would simply inform Mercer that he was given instructions to go back home, or something of the sort.

Yes, we do not know much about how the Kaylons appraoched the Union in the first place and how Isaac became stationed there (how did he arrive at the Orville?). Yeah, I'm assuming here the Kaylons operate in logical ways, and they may not necessarilly, but I still think the way it unfolds in the episode is simply a plot device to increase suspense even though it doesn't make much sense upon inspection.

- The Kaylons are evaluating joining the Union, they do not mention specifically Earth. So it was a bit weird when they all head to EARTH (insert evil laugh).

- I agree the stunning planet vistas (Orville special effects guys are very good at this stuff) does not compare to the interiors/exteriors on the planet surface, even though I liked the image of the Kaylons in front of the pulsating data wall.

Now to the good stuff. The main difference between this and the similiar two-parter Best of Both Worlds is that we are dealing here with an outright deliberate betrayal of a beloved crew member. For example, this episode makes the events of Happy Refrain, and especially the warm, fuzzy Singin' in the Rain ending of that episode, seem much darker now. That episode has completley changed its tone and feel following this week's episode.

The only way Isaac's character can come back from this is if indeed his programming was tempered with. But even if he's not actively taking part in the violence and the takeover, he's still the one that led the Orville to the Kaylons and he's still the one supplying the intelligence to the Kaylons, so like it or not he's part of this clusterfuck. Even if his character comes back from this, he's not going to be the same Isaac anymore. At least I hope so, or else what's the point.

Of course there is always the option of a reset button, but personally I don't think this is a simulation. It's too elaborate. You think the scene where Calire is talking with her son in the simulator is a simulation within a simulation? That the dead crew members are all part of an elaborate dream? Even if it is, it's a quite nasty trick to pull on the Orville, and nobody's gonna let Isaac off the hook on that one either.

So despite some logical guffaws this was a very good episode which marks the first time this series has truly upped the stakes. We'll have to wait and see how it all ends, which in retrospect could change our view of part 1 for better or worse.
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Lynos
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Identity, Part I

So... I guess this means Isaac and Claire wren't a couple any more? :-)

Orville upps its game in a major way with this episode, which proves that you shouldn't mess with things you don't really know much about.

Need to let it sink in a bit more but I feel like this was pretty much great all across the board.
I am just trying to figure out if Isaac's betrayal makes sense with respect to previous epiodes, and wonder if this insane plot twist was designed from the get-go or if this is retconned.

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Lynos
Sun, Feb 17, 2019, 2:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

To add to the above, I think what I'm trying to say is that my expectations from Discovery are so low at this point, than when an episode manages to grab my attention and keep me involved for the entire running time then it's a successful episode in my book.

Because heck if I know what this show or this season are about. Every episode seems to go in a different direction.
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Lynos
Sun, Feb 17, 2019, 2:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

@ William D Wehrs

"Something can't be intense if it's not about anything.".

I tend to disagree. Let's look at the iconic first 10 minutes of Scream. It's an intense opening, without us really knowing what's going on or really knowing anything at all about 's Drew Barrymore's character. And still, it's a knuckle-white scene. Why? Mainly because of how it's directed. Cinema can be about simple emotions and still work. It's a visceral medium.

If I meet Discovery on its own terms and do not expect it to be what it isn't (a thoughtful Sci Fi show) but an action/adventure extravaganza - then the episode work on that same visceral level. There's an engaging mystery, a ticking clock, and very impressive special effects to sell the alien surrounding. So I do care on a superficial level, I'm not gonna sit here and pretend that I broke in tears when they rescued Dr Colber, but it was an involving episode none-the-less.
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Lynos
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 5:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Saints of Imperfection

I liked it quite a bit. It has terrific tension and special effects with an emotional core which I didn't see coming. Perhaps the first truly interesting/creative use of the mycelial network conceit.

Look, Discovery is an action show. It's not about ideas. It's hectic. It's intense. It's big. It's shot in cinemascope widescreen for god sake. It wants to be a movie.
Well, it succeeded.
On its own terms, this episode is a near masterpiece of pacing, action and imaginatively bonkers Sci-Fi. Don't stop to think about it too much, though. But for me it worked. I'm even starting to like Tilly who did nothing but annoy me last season.

But Michelle Yeoh is still too one-dimensional as the eeeeevil emperor. Hope this whole thing is going somewhere.

Looking up at the comments I see I'm in the minority here, but what can I say, for me it's the best of the season so far.
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Lynos
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

Troy, I just watched the scene again. I'm not getting suspicion out of it, just curiosity.

He does choke on his soup when Lokar says to Bortus "maybe we can be friends". I read it as a comic moment.

I feel like we needed a little more to set it up properly.

Why is Bortus, who is such a nice fella, still living with Klyden who is evidently a jealous maniac?
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Lynos
Sat, Feb 16, 2019, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: Deflectors

Ok, so the Orville does a not-very-subtle episode about Outing (but then, Orville doesn't do subtle), and it's the second straight episode (no pun intended) dealing with relationships/sex themes which ends with an oldie showtune (hopefully next week we'll get something a bit different).

General thoughts below, in descending order of relevance :-)

- After a few hours being on the ship, Lokar confesses to Talla that he's attracted to her. After being taken a aback at first, Talla reciprocates his feelings only a few scenes later.
Eh... What?

- Why did Bortus have to not only know Lokar, but to have pursued a relationship with him in the past? At first it seemed like the episode is revolving around him, but no, he is quickly relegated to a supporting character. You could tell the same story without Bortus's involvement with just a few teaks.
(It seems like the Orville writers are treating this character in only two ways, serious stories about sex and relationships, or a comic relief)

- Why did Klyden suspect Lokar? Only a few scenes before he was happy to have him for dinner (despite Bortus' misgivings (!)), and then we see him following Lokar and Talla to the simulator, ok, so... that doesn't mean anything by itself. I couldn't understand how he came to his conclusions. There was no set-up.

- The whole Ed-Kelly-Marcus plot is getting on my nerves. Thankfully it seems to be over. Marcus's habit of texting and sending kitschy gifts to Kelly contradicts the cool and collected way he seems to be handling himself in scenes.
If we had to see this as a B plot, it would've made more sense for Lokar to be attracted to Kelly. The more I think of it, the more I don't understand why this episode revolves around Talla. You could replace her with anyone else.

- The holodeck mystery was cool but got resolved too quickly.

- The talking "dude plant".... nope.

- Some great directing from Seth MacFarlane, I liked some of the close-ups and the dutch angles during the deflectors test.

- The crew member in engineering serving the cupcakes is cute. Let's make her chief of engineering and get rid of LaMarr ,please. The actor is atrocious.

- Best scene: Talla at the cafeteria with LaMarr and Malloy, learning that much stranger things have happened on the Orville before she arrived onboard...

- While I didn't think Talla needed to be the focus of the episode, the character is slowly developing a personality.

In summation, much like last week, it's an episode tackling serious issues but suffering from inherent lack of believability. Technical merits continue to be top notch. If only the writing was as good.
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Lynos
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 2:22am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

@ Quincy

A hell of a response! :-)

Ok, I agree that T2 portrays an extreme situation that is not directly comparable in terms of Human vs. AI. with this episode. However, you brought it up and made the initial comparison between the two, and to me it seemed like apples and oranges, which you seem to concur here, so... I just wanted to make the point that these are completely different reactions to the presence of a protective AI. Your argument seems to be that given enough time, and in a different situation, and if the T-800 survived, Sarah would probably develop feelings for it/him. Well, none of us can know for sure what would happen in such a case, only James Cameron does. :-)

Just to be clear, I'm not expecting Orville to be as deep as Trek. I stated in this forum several times that I'm content with the Orville as it is, a lightweight comedy show in space, riffing on Trek. I actually enjoyed this episode quite a bit and would rate it even higher than Jammer did, but I think it can still be scrutinized. Fair enough, the plot thread's been developing since the shuttle crash: I did not remember this episode until Claire mentioned it. When I'm saying "grounded" I mean give me something within the episode or at least the episode before to follow through. I have to be honest here and say that when Claire said she's in love with Isaac I felt a little embarrassed for her. I don't know why, but that was my immediate emotional reaction. It felt very awkward to me. Take from it what you will.

So no need for deep exploration of AI, just give me a fully believable scenario within the context of the show.

Again, I liked the episode, and I like the show, but I have to admit to myself it has a tendency to flirt or flat out introduce deep ideas and then giving them a shallow treatment. There is something really frustrating about that sometimes. But at least they are trying. I'm always excited to see what they're gonna come up with next.
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Lynos
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 6:27am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

@Quincy

Regarding the comparison you made with Terminator 2. When Sarah Connor expresses this mindset, it's a conclusion she arrives at by logic, by seeing the T-800's interaction with John (as you pointed out).
However, it doesn't cause her to be attracted to the T-800 or fall in love with him. It's a logical, practical choice she's making. There is almost no emotion involved, unless you consider the protective emotion she feels towards John.
By the time T2 ends, and they form a family, it's not a family born out of romance, but of necessity.

Claire, on the other hand, falls in love with Isaac by seeing him do the same thing. That's much more to demand of a character and we need to ground this, like, really ground this, in believable story beats and character moments. As entertaining and enjoyable as the episode is, I don't think it accomplishes that.
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Lynos
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 3:15am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

Charles, you make interesting points regarding Isaac's behaviour on the Orville and the interactions with the crew. Obviously he is this way because the Orville is a comedy (when it wants to be). He seems to be very professional at his station on the bridge, and in staff meeting, but with anything outside of those boundaries he is clueless. Cutting up people's legs, breaking into their cabins, It's all done for comedy, so we can accept it. The problem begins when you're using the character for drama. I agree that in a straight Sci-Fi show Isaac could be considered dangerous, he is a very powerful AI with no knowledge of human interaction, emotion or drives, and yes, he is learning, but he's using the Orville crew as test subjects.

I was trying to think what differentiates him from Data, his immediate counterpart. Data was an evolving humanoid AI on a starship in a straight Sci Fi show. I think Data was less alien and more contemplative. While he often misunderstood human expressions and as evidenced in In Theory didn't have a clue about intimate relationships, he did make a lot of effort to fit in, to learn, to form bonds, and most importantly, to be an officer and to follow orders (he would never mess with environmental controls on the bridge to make a point). Yes, in some episodes he went on the fritz because of one reason or another, but mostly, that's who he was. So as I see it, the main difference between him and Isaac is that Isaac is an OUTSIDER. He is on the bridge as part of the crew, but he's not really part of the crew. He's external to the crew, almost like a brilliant computer studying rats in a lab. That's why I find him interesting and sufficiently different from Data to be his own unique character.
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Lynos
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 2:32am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

Also, what makes Isaac interesting and different from Data as an AI is that he was not built by humans. He's actually an alien AI from another planet. That is quite fascinating and is a treasure trove of story options if Seth decides to go there.

That is why I can somehow buy that ending. Because Isaac is essentially a walking mystery when it comes to AI, so I just imagine he can do things Data could not necessarily do. But let's face it, we all love Isaac as he is, we don't want him to become emotional all of a sudden, do we? :-)
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Lynos
Mon, Feb 4, 2019, 2:25am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: A Happy Refrain

@ Darren

"Incidentally, I have never understood why shows like TNG and The Orville claim that artificial lifeforms cannot have emotions; or popular opinion at large."

The way I see it, emotions are a product of complex consciousness. One of the main questions regarding AI is when and if it becomes conscious, or in other words, develops a "soul": A deeper life spark that goes beyond the sum of its mechanical parts.

Some argue that we do have a soul and that we can't really be "turned off", and some argue that we're just biological machines and nothing else. If we are just biological machines, then it should be a relatively simple process for a machine to gain emotions, it just needs to have the right circuitry. If consciousness does exist, and it's what makes human beings different than a machine, then the only way an AI can have real emotions and not manufactured ones is if it's somehow develops, well, a soul.

It's a heavy philosophical question.


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