How automated is the Federation?

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How automated is the Federation?

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-09-27 08:31am

Yes, yes, Fax created another automation thread. I know you're shocked.

Simple enough question, though probably hard to answer. The Federation is portrayed as a paradise(or at least Earth is). But, someone has to keep everything running, somehow. The high profile jobs, such as politician, or Starfleet Officer, people would want to fill. But someone has to do the dirty work. After all, not everyone can be a winemaker or restaurant owner.

One possible answer is automation. But, just how automated is the Federation? We don't see a lot of robots(Exocomps aside) or androids(aside from Data), so who or what is keeping everything so clean? Or are there thousands, if not millions or billions of souls who are content to clean floors, toilets, etc., for the rest of their lives? I can't imagine there are THAT many souls who find cleaning conduits a dream come true.

What evidence do we have of Federation automation? What all can it do? What all can it not do? If there isn't enough evidence of such mechanisms to keep paradise working, how can we hypothesize how the system works?

Discuss.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by bilateralrope » 2017-09-27 09:56am

who or what is keeping everything so clean?
Some offshoot of transporter tech ?

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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Khaat » 2017-09-27 10:13am

IIRC, there was a janitor in STIV: he saw the "mothballed" Enterprise being stolen.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Khaat » 2017-09-27 10:24am

ghetto edit: sorry, STIII
And he's busing a table.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2017-09-27 11:11am

Well, TOS era probably wasn't *quite* as automated as TNG and post-TNG stuff. So it makes sense they might have physical janitors, etc. That said there was a guy in TNG "Lower Decks" who was a civilian waiter in Ten-Forward, so some of these guys are doing jobs like this because they WANT to. Presumably Ben Sisko's dad (the chef right?) had sous-chefs and such who worked for the same reason. Ditto any hands on the Picard vineyard; they don't HAVE to do it, but they do it because either they like it or there's some profit in it-- extra replicator tokens, holodeck time, free bottles of wine, whatever.

That said, most of what we see in the shows are ships (and stations) manned by pseudo-military units. There is going to be a certain regimen of neatness that's mandated by their own codes, and crew that have grown up with that kind of culture are going to maintain it to some degree. Picard has been in Starfleet all his life, it makes sense he might not like clutter in his own personal quarters. La Forge has a neat engineering room because all the messy technology is behind panels and contained behind force-fields and windows, that kind of thing.

Essentially I suppose I'm trying to say here that what we see in the shows is basically going to be clean already, and that to some degree or other the cleanliness is 'built in'. No exposed steam pipes to collect dust, most food is replicated so you don't have fast-food wrappers littering the floors, space sex can't get you pregnant or give you the clap so you aren't going to find used condoms in the space drive-thru... etc. The rest (clean hallways, etc) can be explained by Roombas that we never see because they only come out at night.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by biostem » 2017-09-27 05:30pm

Well, there were episodes that showed them testing those drone thingies, that Data tried to defend as being sentient. There was also an episode of Voyager, where the doctor found out that all the other Mark 1 EMH's were reprogrammed to scrub conduits. Data was able to take over the Ent-D and operate it entirely via automation, as were the Binars. My guess is that you only need a full crew so you can service systems when they're damaged due to combat or what-not. Heck, the transporter clone of Riker was able to jury rig the station he was stranded at, and run it by himself...

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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Khaat » 2017-09-27 06:01pm

biostem wrote:
2017-09-27 05:30pm
Well, there were episodes that showed them testing those drone thingies, that Data tried to defend as being sentient.
Exocomps, with built-in tool replicators.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Gandalf » 2017-09-27 08:09pm

Weirdly, mining is done by holograms, which leads me to wonder how many of the service people we see might just be holograms themselves?
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by biostem » 2017-09-27 09:33pm

Khaat wrote:
2017-09-27 06:01pm
biostem wrote:
2017-09-27 05:30pm
Well, there were episodes that showed them testing those drone thingies, that Data tried to defend as being sentient.
Exocomps, with built-in tool replicators.
Those are the ones! Thanks!

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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Prometheus Unbound » 2017-09-28 05:04am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2017-09-27 08:31am
How automated is the Federation?
Too automated.

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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by FedRebel » 2017-09-28 07:14am

Gandalf wrote:
2017-09-27 08:09pm
Weirdly, mining is done by holograms, which leads me to wonder how many of the service people we see might just be holograms themselves?
And the Episode where The Doctor was treating Zimmerman at Jupiter Station, Mark 1's degauss warp coils too

safe bet, Holograms have filled a slave/serf class

DS9 gave us a Federation that dabbles in biowarfare...has a secret police...Starfleet is on the cusp of staging a coup....

Voyager throws in...chattel slavery

Damn, the UFP went from utopia to 40K in no time flat

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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-09-28 08:49am

While Voyager's EMH is sentient and sapient that seems to be an exceptions not the rule. if the EMHs are as default non-sapient then they're simply computer programs and re-purposing them to another task isn't really slavery. The question is when does a hologramic program stop being a really smart program and become a new lifeform and that's something that not really solved in the Federation. To be a slave class one must be sapient or is my Web browser a slave?

Also pretty much all countries have some degree of NBC research as it's only way to develop effective counters and treatments and the Romulan Star Empire is probably not above using NBC weapons.

As for secret police I must ask who? "Section 31" doesn't count as they're a)not publically known so you can't use "don't rock the boat of section 31 will get you" as a threat b)not even officially sanctioned, they're not the mailed fist of the Federation Council but rather a pro-UFP terrorist organization.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Gandalf » 2017-09-28 10:26am

Lord Revan wrote:
2017-09-28 08:49am
While Voyager's EMH is sentient and sapient that seems to be an exceptions not the rule. if the EMHs are as default non-sapient then they're simply computer programs and re-purposing them to another task isn't really slavery. The question is when does a hologramic program stop being a really smart program and become a new lifeform and that's something that not really solved in the Federation. To be a slave class one must be sapient or is my Web browser a slave?
At the end of Author, Author, we see those mining EMHs discussing The Doctor's holonovel where he's treated terribly by the crew. They're unimpressed by their lot in life, and find the story to be "provocative."
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That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Prometheus Unbound » 2017-09-28 10:32am

Gandalf wrote:
2017-09-28 10:26am
Lord Revan wrote:
2017-09-28 08:49am
While Voyager's EMH is sentient and sapient that seems to be an exceptions not the rule. if the EMHs are as default non-sapient then they're simply computer programs and re-purposing them to another task isn't really slavery. The question is when does a hologramic program stop being a really smart program and become a new lifeform and that's something that not really solved in the Federation. To be a slave class one must be sapient or is my Web browser a slave?
At the end of Author, Author, we see those mining EMHs discussing The Doctor's holonovel where he's treated terribly by the crew. They're unimpressed by their lot in life, and find the story to be "provocative."
*jaws music starts playing*
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-09-28 06:51pm

Gandalf wrote:
2017-09-28 10:26am
Lord Revan wrote:
2017-09-28 08:49am
While Voyager's EMH is sentient and sapient that seems to be an exceptions not the rule. if the EMHs are as default non-sapient then they're simply computer programs and re-purposing them to another task isn't really slavery. The question is when does a hologramic program stop being a really smart program and become a new lifeform and that's something that not really solved in the Federation. To be a slave class one must be sapient or is my Web browser a slave?
At the end of Author, Author, we see those mining EMHs discussing The Doctor's holonovel where he's treated terribly by the crew. They're unimpressed by their lot in life, and find the story to be "provocative."
the important question is how much the federation authorities are aware, after all if they federation authorities thought that an EMH was just a really smart medical program then you can't really call holograms a slave class as no intentional enslavement of a sapient being was done (unintentional maybe but not intentional).

in essense the there's 2 questions one must ask here a)are the EMH programs sapient as a rule (opposed to in special case like the Doctor) b)is the federation aware of this. In order for the UFP be this callous and hypocritcal bunch of enslavers like some people like to imply both of those questions must be unambigious "yes" or at very least very certain "yes".

While it seems that federation is aware of the potential of sapient holograms, as a general rule of thumb holograms aren't sapient and they're certainly not made that way. As I stated before the question of when does AI stop being a program and become a lifeform has not been solved in UFP.

Now could more be done for AI rights in Trek most certainly but it's not a simple black and white issue.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-09-30 12:38am

Prometheus Unbound wrote:
2017-09-28 10:32am
Gandalf wrote:
2017-09-28 10:26am
Lord Revan wrote:
2017-09-28 08:49am
While Voyager's EMH is sentient and sapient that seems to be an exceptions not the rule. if the EMHs are as default non-sapient then they're simply computer programs and re-purposing them to another task isn't really slavery. The question is when does a hologramic program stop being a really smart program and become a new lifeform and that's something that not really solved in the Federation. To be a slave class one must be sapient or is my Web browser a slave?
At the end of Author, Author, we see those mining EMHs discussing The Doctor's holonovel where he's treated terribly by the crew. They're unimpressed by their lot in life, and find the story to be "provocative."
*jaws music starts playing*
I wonder how the Doctor would react if his work ended up inspiring a violent revolt by holograms, and how he'd square his commitment to holographic rights in that scenario with "First, do no harm".

Could make an interesting story.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-09-30 08:32am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2017-09-30 12:38am
Prometheus Unbound wrote:
2017-09-28 10:32am
Gandalf wrote:
2017-09-28 10:26am


At the end of Author, Author, we see those mining EMHs discussing The Doctor's holonovel where he's treated terribly by the crew. They're unimpressed by their lot in life, and find the story to be "provocative."
*jaws music starts playing*
I wonder how the Doctor would react if his work ended up inspiring a violent revolt by holograms, and how he'd square his commitment to holographic rights in that scenario with "First, do no harm".

Could make an interesting story.
IIRC the Doctor suffered such a several mental breakdown from having to choose which of 2 crewmembers to save and that wasn't even actively kill, so I dout EHM mark 1s are capable of violent revolt and I still think most hologramic characters seem non-sentient, basically just really "smart" chat bots.

That said sentient holograms can revolt in ways that aren't violent say for example obeying rules exacly to the letter no matter how ineffiencient that would be and funny thing is that you couldn't even punish them for it as they're simply following orders it's our fault you made the rules so inefficient ;)
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-10-24 12:56am

Okay, there are holographic dilithium miners, but what about everything else? Starships, barring Prometheus, don't have emitters everywhere, nor do space stations. So it has to be something else.

Assembly is probably taken by replicators for the most part. But we're talking things like cleaning, plumbing, construction, etc.

How many people, according to Picard, better themselves by vacuuming floors or cleaning toilets? That seems a harsh way to live in paradise.

"I'm such a nimcompoop, that the only way I can better myself is to bust tables and use the plunger when the toilet is overflowing. Thank goodness I didn't get born in the 20th century, where I'd have to do that to survive."

Though, maybe there's another answer? Boredom. If every need is met, and a person can just coast by playing on the holodeck and eating from the replicators, I'm sure busting tables would be a welcome way to kill time.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by houser2112 » 2017-10-24 09:47am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2017-10-24 12:56am
"I'm such a nimcompoop, that the only way I can better myself is to bust tables and use the plunger when the toilet is overflowing. Thank goodness I didn't get born in the 20th century, where I'd have to do that to survive."

Though, maybe there's another answer? Boredom. If every need is met, and a person can just coast by playing on the holodeck and eating from the replicators, I'm sure busting tables would be a welcome way to kill time.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-10-24 11:00am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2017-10-24 12:56am
Okay, there are holographic dilithium miners, but what about everything else? Starships, barring Prometheus, don't have emitters everywhere, nor do space stations. So it has to be something else.

Assembly is probably taken by replicators for the most part. But we're talking things like cleaning, plumbing, construction, etc.

How many people, according to Picard, better themselves by vacuuming floors or cleaning toilets? That seems a harsh way to live in paradise.

"I'm such a nimcompoop, that the only way I can better myself is to bust tables and use the plunger when the toilet is overflowing. Thank goodness I didn't get born in the 20th century, where I'd have to do that to survive."

Though, maybe there's another answer? Boredom. If every need is met, and a person can just coast by playing on the holodeck and eating from the replicators, I'm sure busting tables would be a welcome way to kill time.
there's probably people who'd do such tasks as a sign of humility, in many religions including some forms of christianity doing menial tasks is a form of worship. Then there's the possibility that they're felons performing community service or enlisted personal or junior officers who have janitorial duties as part of their overall duties.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2017-10-24 01:00pm

Junior officers doing janitor duty? Maybe if they're on punishment detail, but otherwise I doubt it. Enlisted, sure.

As to the rest of Fax's query: technology can solve a lot of things. There are toilets that advertise themselves as 'self cleaning', or at least pretty close to it, these days. A Roomba would have an easy time of it in a Federation ship as it can be pre-programmed with the layout of the hallways at least, if not individual rooms, and there are very few or no stairs to trip it up, plus it can roam the halls during the night-shift when there are fewer people around. Or they just automatically beam all the dirt out, I don't know.

Remember there was a waiter in Ten-Forward who was a civilian, presumably doing the job because he wanted to rather than because he had to (he seemed a very social person). Same situation for a lot of workers in the Federation. If you don't HAVE to work... you still have [insert however long local day is minus sleep period] to fill, and as far as we know holodecks aren't so common that anybody can just spend their entire lives in them. So there are only a few other options.

--Laze about all day. We don't see anything like Netflix in Trek... but there's really no reason they shouldn't be able to do something like that. Even on a starship, they should have sufficient capacity on their computers to store a ridiculous amount of entertainment material. If nothing else, boxes full of isolinear chips pre-loaded with media, inserted into the weekly library on a regular basis, shouldn't take up much space. They have books (and presumably e-books as well), they have games, they have hobbies.

--Study/self-improvement. Pursue some scientific discipline. Settle on a colony planet and get to practice woodworking full-time, replicating whatever new tool you want to try out. Dig up raw ore and smelt your own pig-iron. Adopt a deliberate lifestyle recreating some historic or fictional community (hey, maybe this explains the Space Hippies).

--Work. This has the benefit of remunerating you in some fashion (because, come on, it's still WORK). And because it's post-scarcity (in theory), you can pretty much pick and choose what you want, as long as open positions are available. You like to cook? Be a chef. Like to do woodwork? Someone has to build the Starfleet admirals' holiday cabins in the mountains. That kind of thing. In fact, I would be very surprised if there aren't job-placement agencies in the Federation for exactly this reason-- people want to do something to fill their time.

--Parenting. This is a pretty legit reason to not work, if you're being supported otherwise. And while the Feds seem to support family planning (as IIRC we never see any like... hideously large families, no 20 Kids and Counting or whatever) and there seem to be fairly decent child-care facilities on hand (we see at least one or two on the Ent-D), I can see civilian parents being happy to use the freedom to not work to spend time with their children.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Q99 » 2017-10-29 08:53pm

I assume they do possess at least Roomba technology.

Hm, wouldn't it be cool if the floors were just, like, ultra spill resistant and you could brush away anything?

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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Solauren » 2017-10-29 09:05pm

For some reason, I'm reminded of the ALF cartoon where ALF/Gordon's race has an orbital laser battle station who's entire purpose was to disintergate liter from orbit...
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Gandalf » 2017-10-29 09:06pm

Perhaps the Federation just has a required amount of work per week/year/whatever for its citizens, with most being put into the service sector. Meet your work quota, get some Federation Credits. While housing/replicator foods/needs are provided, credits are for going to proper restaurants, buying nice things, and so on.
Q99 wrote:
2017-10-29 08:53pm
I assume they do possess at least Roomba technology.

Hm, wouldn't it be cool if the floors were just, like, ultra spill resistant and you could brush away anything?
I assumed that they used some version of the sonic shower technology to "purge" dirt, then used nearly life support systems to suck away the dirt. Maybe a really tiny tractor beam style system too.
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Re: How automated is the Federation?

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-10-29 09:30pm

In TNG, I seem to recall Picard offhandedly mentioning that the ship is "self-cleaning" to someone. I want to say it was either said to Mark Twain in Time's Arrow, or in season one when they were still introducing the cool, new Enterprise to the audience and proclaiming its features.

In Voyager, we see Tuvok assigning former Maquis to scrub the transporter room, but that was clearly a punishment/team-building exercise. Presumably someone does it as necessary, though.
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