Star Trek: The Original Series: “The Naked Time”

The crew finds six dead scientists at a station. The circumstances of their deaths are not apparent; however, the life support systems had been found shut down and all control systems frozen solid.

One of the Enterprise crewmen carelessly removes his gloves and is contaminated by a strange red liquid. Later the man notices a strange itch and begins to act irrationally. He threatens Lt. Sulu with a knife, then attempts to turn it on himself.  He is escorted to the sickbay where he later dies. Dr. McCoy is left bewildered, especially since the wounds were not that serious… Soon a bizarre affliction begins to affect other crew members and quickly spreads through the ship. They each begin to display both comical and horrific exaggerations of character. McCoy finds nothing like it in Starfleet records……….

Click to Watch “The Naked Time” (50 minutes)

Deep Space 9–Ethics

On Star Trek Deep Space 9, a women with an anti-technology philosophy secretly arranged for a ship carrying colonists to crash on a planet which had a device that prevented the flow of electricity.  She herself designed and installed the device prior to the “crash” — it was all planned by her.  Thus they were stranded and had to live her eutopian philosophy of “back to nature” — a primitive agrarianism. Continue reading

Is Data Sentient? Android Rights

It’s possible that in 100 years or so (500 years?), we’ll have developed an artificial lifeform similar to Cmdr. Data on Star Trek. If that happens, will “it” have “human” rights? This is part of the issue philosophers call Personal Identity (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).  If this question is ever adjudicated, the hearing may contain some of the ideas in the episode clip (below) from Star Trek.  Cpt. Picard pushes the court to consider what it actually means to be sentient. (9 mins.)