On the starship Enterprise they have one hell of a computer. I thought about it today watching someone work their iPhone. The Enterprise had even more computing power than that, way back in the ’60’s. Not bad.
But here’s something that’s bothered me for a couple of decades now. At one point Spok plays chess with the computer and wins. Since Spok was the one who taught the computer to play chess, and he gave the computer all his chess knowledge, that he could beat the computer proved that the computer had been tampered with. Which has always made me wonder: Why the hell did Spok play chess? Apparently the idea that he could get better at the game, gain new insight and thus be able to beat his own program, is unthinkable. So, if he’s not going to get better, if he’s just exercising the same algorithms that he programmed into the computer, why bother?
An unplanned bonus Star Trek beef: some of the guys are freezing to death on a planet. The transporter is doing wacky stuff. Shuttle, anyone? You know the writers were taking a bunker attitude, hoping no one would think of that.
Missing on the Star Trek crew: the IT guy. There are hints now and then, when someone messes with the computer (and I must say that the ‘mess with the computer’ scenarios are already coming true), but you’ve got a guy in charge of the warp drives but no one dedicated to the computer. I haven’t spent much time with the Star Trek progeny, but in The Next Generation the guy in charge or the computer was a computer, which in the end begs the question. The deep space galctica Enterprise prequel thing I’ve not seen any of, so I can’t comment there.
Note that Galaxy Quest, one hell of a fine movie, casts Sigourny Weaver as the IT babe, though her IT role is somewhat limited – she is the interface between man and machine. Presumably, in the Galaxy Quest universe, the computer respects her intellect over all others. That’s how I spin it, anyway.