Star Trek: Voyager

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[edit] Star Trek: Voyager -- The Final Frontier

While ST:Voyager (1995-2001) was initially viewed as a flop for the Star Trek franchise, there's a definite group of devout cult fans for the program. Following the popularity of the original Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it seemed that Star Trek had hit a wall. Star Trek: Voyager allowed for a frontier-esque story as the crew was placed in uncharted space. In regards to technology, the ship itself is on "rations" for how much technology can be used. And, much like Star Trek: The Next Generation, there is a character who is not "human". Similar to Data -- the Doctor (Robert Picardo) exists as a servant-like figure throughout the narrative of the show. Throughout the seven years the Doctor became an unexpected favourite with fans, and developed his own story lines as time passed. In the following clip the Doctor is displayed in his later-season realized character:

[edit] Rights and Freedoms -- Owning the Robot

It wasn't until season seven when full discussion of "artificial" rights in "Author, Author" (original air date April 18 2001) came to be fully discussed. Similar to the Star Trek: TNG episode "Measure of a Man" this episode called into question the "rights" of machines in regard to their own work. The Doctor had finished a holonovel that the Voyager crew questioned in veracity. However, because a hologram wrote it, the legal rights of the story were decreed (at the beginning of the episode) to not belong to him. Again, much as "Measure of a Man" (11 February 1989) displays Data as a querulous form of humanity. In this case a legal hearing is used to discuss Data's "specifications":

While this strays from the discussion that Voyager creates regarding the rights and freedoms for artificial life, it must be noted that these episodes were aired over a decade apart and discuss many of the same topics. These "rights" are often seen as an allegorical discussion relating to a variety of marginalized groups. The placement of "property" for both the Doctor and Data often is seen as a 'throw back' to the American civil war.

[edit] Class and Ownership

However, from a class perspective even though Star Trek endeavours to create a utopian society (and the etymological root of "utopia" is indeed a present and constant reminder in this case) -- the construction of "ownership" over the Doctor's work is a reminder that this construction does not fully exist.

“. . .[I]f Star Trek implies that the future will liberate us from alienating modes of production, the program is finally unable to conceive a community based on Marx's notion of mutual ownership rather than on the principles of state control” (5)[1]

The production -- or value of work -- is still quite relative to where it is coming from.

[edit] Eventual Agency?

The fallacy in place, however, is that the holograms -- at the end of "Author, Author" -- may plan an insurgency based upon The Doctor's work, but there is nothing changed. The other holograms are treated as property -- manual labourers -- still and resultant discussion beyond The Doctor is that things have not changed.

The agency of the holographic figure is that of limited computer space -- non existent and transitional in some senses. The Doctor figure is one of contention because though The Doctor himself gains agency at the finale of the series -- with a human romantic interest -- the race allegory is still heavily present. As he is the "only" one of his "kind" he is essentially ostracized even with his own technological "freedom" (the holographic emitter).

[edit] References

  1. Fulton, Valerie. “An Other Frontier: Voyaging West with Mark Twain and Star Trek's Imperial Subject” Postmodern Culture. 4.3 (1995) 1-25. 5
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