There are two absolute rules of Star Trek. One: if you don’t have a name, but you are holding a phaser, chances are you’re going to die. And two: holodecks are dangerous.
Frankly, holodecks are technological wonders, able to produce infinite shapes, landscapes, settings and characters for the enjoyment of the user. But it would be really nice if they, you know… actually worked. More often than not, whenever a holodeck has been featured, something has gone horribly wrong. Generally, this will include the unintentional deactivation of safety protocols- a design flaw that opens up participants to deadly and extreme risk, depending on the program being run. The wacky adventures shown in DS9’s “Our Man Bashir”, and “A Fistful of Datas” are excellent examples of this phenomenon, among others. Indeed, the frequency with which these difficulties occur is alarming.
Besides the ubiquitous instances of error stemming solely from mechanical malfunction, we are also forced to consider the effect a fully operable holodeck has on individuals. In the TNG episode “Hollow Pursuits”, the audience is subjected to a taste of the repressed Reginald Barclay’s fantasy life, and the detrimental effects holographic technology can have on an individual. Reg is completely addicted to his holographic world, displaying a pattern of behavior similar to victims of other destructive dependencies. And, of course, who can forget James Moriarty’s famous acquisition of sentience due to a simple command the computer took way too literally?
The point is, the holodeck, while a fantastic opportunity, is also span incredibly risky. The Enterprise-D, Deep Space 9, and Voyager have each experienced more than their share of difficulties, and this is but a tiny portion of Federation assets equipped with these devices. This poll of the week asks you to consider the future of the holodeck. Should Starfleet abandon the technology? Should major corrections be made? Or are you of the opinion that no changes are needed? Give us your vote, and explain away in the comments section below!
(Special thanks to co-contributor Anath G’Renn for this great poll idea!)