A Brief History of Exocomps in the Star Trek Universe

Exocomps first appeared in the episode “Quality of Life” (November 16, 1992) of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Originally, the robots were designed to be service bots aimed at getting into tight or dangerous areas for repairs. The exocomps were invented by an engineer named Dr. Farallon (Ellen Bry) and infused with a rudimentary artificial intelligence that allows them to assess complex problems and reproduce the tools they need.

Yet, coincidentally, Dr. Farallon seems to have given them more self-determination than she intended, and the exocomps begin to show signs of decision-making and self-preservation. For Android Data (Brent Spiner) these are indisputable signs of life. This leads to a tense scene where Data prevents exocomps – for ethical reasons – from being sent to a highly irradiated area to save Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Lieutenant Colonel Commander Geordi La Forge ( LeVar Burton). The data argues that exocomps need to choose to perform a dangerous task for themselves.

In “Quality of Life,” fortunately for Picard and La Forge, the agents actually chose the dangerous mission, even though the robots were smart enough to complete the mission with only one person injured. The episode ends with Dr. Farallon, still doubting his creative abilities, pledging to at least treat the exocomps humanely. As for the Data, an artificial lifeform was born that day and one that could choose to behave heroically. The exocomps not only show signs of self-preservation, but also understand the value of the lives of others. In the end, the robots were brave and rational, even if they had no language and no way of communicating directly with the humanoid.

https://www.slashfilm.com/1036878/a-short-history-of-exocomps-in-the-star-trek-universe/ A Brief History of Exocomps in the Star Trek Universe

Fry Electronics Team

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