PotW is back again this week with another thrilling poll, one that I hope sparks a more philosophical debate. One of the many interesting and often morally troubling topics in Trek and many other science fiction stories is what makes a sentient life forms, well, sentient. Even the Q were classed as sentient (despite how weird they are), but what about all those “life” forms that are more mechanical than flesh and blood.
Prime examples of such beings are Data, on behalf of the androids, and the Doctor for all the holographic intelligences out there. There have even been many episodes in Trek that tried to varying levels of success to answer the question of what makes a man a man, but this poll won’t go there. That question is just too big for a single poll to contemplate, but I will pose this question: Should artificial entities be given the same rights and opportunities as biological beings?
Could you honestly say that you would go out of your way to save a sentient computer program that you accidentally made that just so happened to start wreaking havoc on your ship (believe it or not, this does happen)? Or would you be more inclined to just delete the problem, perhaps, because it is the easiest thing to do despite giving more traditional invader more of a chance to live (that is why phasers have stun settings, after all)? Obviously the safety of your crew must always come first but after that what would you be more inclined to do with an entity that is not as well represented even in 2390?
No matter what side of the line you take on this one, let us know by leaving a comment on the forums. Remember the more discussion and debate means more fun overall and that is what we want: to make these polls as fun as possible.