Lion of the Blogosphere

The Orville, S02E11, “Lasting Impressions”

The Orville is a great show. Even an objectively mediocre episode is fun to watch. Nearly all of the plot holes or technological inconsistencies inherent in this episode can be chalked up to the show being a homage to Star Trek, and Star Trek (TNG, especially Voyager, and even DS9 to a lesser extent) had a lot of “holodeck” episodes that didn’t make any sense. In TNG, Data was supposedly so advanced that he was considered a sentient person and could be a Starfleet officer. But the holodeck could always spit out holograms that acted a lot more human than Data and appeared to be no less self-aware. The Orville’s version of the holodeck being able to scan a four-hundred-year-old smartphone and recreate that person and her life is totally consistent with what Star Trek did, even though it may not be realistic. And as if to remind us of that, they bring in as a guest actor the guy who played Tuvok on Voyager.

Why is Gordon’s holo-woman any different than when Isaac programmed a hologram avatar to have sex with Claire? And Gordon actually brings that up. Why is Isaac considered self-aware, but not his holodeck program? I have to agree with Gordon on that one. (In other words, I think they are both clever computer programs and neither is self-aware in the way that humans are.)

With sexbots and VR being part of the predictable real-world future, we can’t have too many sci-fi episodes addressing this topic.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

March 25, 2019 at 9:27 AM

8 Responses

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  1. Dolops in Meriprolestan can’t even fathom a future where jobs are replaced by technology, and yet many of them imagine a world of aliens giving them sex.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    March 25, 2019 at 11:12 AM

    • Back when I had the bad habit of reading prostitute blogs, I read the blog of a sex phone operator who was completely terrified of losing her job to AI and sexbots. Maybe she was reading lion’s blog. Interesting anecdote, even though she was getting paid there were certain things if a guy said, she would hang up!

      This was a lovely episode and the moclan nicotine addiction subplot is perhaps the funniest offering from the series thus far, even funnier than isaac in a wife beater.

      toomanymice

      March 25, 2019 at 11:43 AM

  2. The biggest of these issues in TNG was the holodeck Professor Moriarty. Geordi told the ship’s computer to create an adversary capable of outsmarting Data, and it successfully did so. So wouldn’t that mean that the ship’s computer is smarter than Data?

    Hermes

    March 25, 2019 at 12:17 PM

    • “So wouldn’t that mean that the ship’s computer is smarter than Data?”

      If there was logic, then yes.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      March 25, 2019 at 12:52 PM

    • The ship’s computer was probably more capable than data but still not self-aware.

      I’m glad to see someone bring up Moriarty. I always found that TNG character intriguing. For a holographic character to be self-aware and smart enough to deduce that the hologram was a deception. And then to be able to threaten the ship from within the hologram. Great concept.

      destructure

      March 25, 2019 at 9:50 PM

      • When I was a kid and TNG was actually on the air, I never liked the holodeck episodes, because they seemed an excuse to make the show about something other than spaceships and alliens, which were what I wanted to see. But when I re-watch TNG on Netflix a couple of years ago, I gained a new appreciation for them. “Ship in a Bottle,” the episode you’re referring to, was one of the best ones. Lion should review that episode.

        Hermes

        March 26, 2019 at 8:56 AM

  3. “But the holodeck could always spit out holograms that acted a lot more human than Data and appeared to be no less self-aware.”

    If Data had been programmed to perfectly mimic humans then I would question his self-awareness. A truly self-ware machine wouldn’t act completely human because it’s not.

    “Why is Isaac considered self-aware, but not his holodeck program? I have to agree with Gordon on that one. (In other words, I think they are both clever computer programs and neither is self-aware in the way that humans are.)”

    Self-awareness requires the capacity for abstract thought sufficient to consider the existence of self. Isaac and Data have this. Holograms (with the possible exception of Moriarty) don’t. They’re merely programmed to behave in a certain way.

    destructure

    March 25, 2019 at 10:07 PM

  4. The generation that invents the holodeck would probably be the last one. Being able to create the perfect woman means you just couldn’t be interested in a real one after that.

    Mike Street Station

    March 26, 2019 at 10:49 PM


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