Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

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Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Tyyr » Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:03 pm

On the Syphilis SyFy channel they run Star Trek from time to time. I know right? Actually science fiction on SyFy? Who'd have thought? Anyways, they played Hollow Pursuits and I like the episode overall. It's a good solid episode but I wanted to talk about a couple odd things in the episode.

First, Barclay seems to be able to just use the holo-deck whenever he pleases. I don't know if it's an officer's privilege or what but he gets the urge and hops in a holodeck. Given the number of people on the ship I'd have imagined holo-deck time being rationed or at the very least scheduled. Barclay just hopping in whenever he pleases seems a bit odd in hindsight.

Second, no bloody locks. When Riker, Troi, and Geordi go looking for Barclay they just walk right into the holodeck. No over rides, no door chimes, nothing. They just walk right in. If you're climbing El-Capitan or whitewater rafting or just playing chess with Einstein I can see you not really caring about whether or not the door's locked. When goofing off with ridiculous facsimiles of your superior officers and boning the ship's councilor I figured you might want to not just let people walk in.

Which leads to the big question. When Riker, Troi, and Geordi enter the holo-deck they run into their doubles. Riker gets pissed because the holo him is about 5' nothin and goes to delete the program. Troi stops him with her usual depth as a councilor (none) then Riker rebuts with something along the lines of, "This is against the regs." Which would make some sense. Barclay had quite obviously created exact duplicates of Riker, Picard, Data, Geordi, Deanna, and Crusher. However Geordi stops him with, "Actually sir, no he's not." Riker doesn't push it, he just accepts Geordi's pronouncement with, "Well there should be a reg against it." Immediately afterward they run into Barclay's copy of Deanna and she gets pissed. Now mind you Barclay was just using the male copies for ego stroking and as digital whipping boys. He was using Deanna's clone as a virtual blow up doll. However, according to Geordi him using their exact physical representations broke no regulation. It was, according to the closest thing TNG had to a holodeck expert, perfectly legal. This can't have been something new. Imagine if the technology was developed today, how long do you think it would be before some had created a "Bone Angelina Jolie," holo program? Which brings me to the question, what do ya'll think about that?

To me it just seems odd that you could create an exact duplicate of someone and then use their likeness however you please. Mind you this isn't entirely without precedent. There's a cottage industry built up around faking nude pictures of female celebrities or writing questionable stories about them. You could see this as taking it to the next level. So while I can see some precedent for allowing it this goes to a whole new level in that it's not faking anything anymore. Barclay created PERFECT replications of his crewmate's physical bodies. I'm assuming from something like sensor scans or transporter records. It's one thing to paste Angelina Jolie's face on some porn star's body. It's another to create and exact duplicate of her physical form that you can interact with. It just struck me as a very odd thing to have happen.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Lighthawk » Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:13 pm

It's hardly surprising, given Starfleet's near total disregard for the privacy of those serving. Just look at how freely they let Luaxanza Troi go about her merry way of scanning the thoughts of everyone in her immediate vicinity, announcing them to the room at large, and then declaring her judgment of said thoughts. And does Picard tell her to knock it off? Nonsense, he just acts like she's merely being socially awkward rather than violating the most private realm any thinking being can have, their mind.

Compared to that, using someone else's image as a target or a sex doll is small beans.

Now in a more reasonable reality, I'd imagine it wouldn't take long for people and companies to be able to copyright their images and lay down limits on their uses. Pornography would likely become a far different beast with the introduction of full contact holograms, and being able to control a pornstar's image and it's uses would be vital if the porn industry wanted to cash in on that, which I'm sure it would.

Celebrities likewise would probably want to copyright their image and limit it's uses, depending on how far the individual in question was willing to let things go.

Your average joe, that becomes trickery. Do we want a society where everyone has to copyright their image to make sure someone else can't use it? Imagine the bureaucratic nightmare it'd be registering and sorting and tracking all that. It'd almost make more sense just to call everyone's image their own unless they allow it's use.

Course we get to the big loophole in all this, custom designing. I'm sure many would whip up an image creation program not unlike the character creators in many video games. If you used such a program to make a near perfect likeness of a celebrity, could anyone really come down on the person for doing so? They can always claim "The likeness is coincidental", and unless they've named the image after the celeb in question and are hocking their program "A night with X", how would you prove it otherwise in court?
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Mikey » Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:17 pm

Well, it's easy enough to chalk up to the UFP's hippie-dippy mindset that such things are treated as a personality disorder to be treated, rather than an issue to be legislated. I'd be more concerned than they were, however, given the holodeck's nasty propensity to give its creations sentience.

Why Barclay had so much holo-time when there were so many folks on the ship? Why were people able to walk in without a senior staff override? Plot Necessity.TM
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Graham Kennedy » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:39 pm

As you say, the low level has already been done - an awful lot of people fake celebrity pics.

The next step up from that has also been done :

Image

Not quite the same thing as using the real image, but close.

I am not a lawyer, but as far as I know the law today says that you can't use a person's image for property without their permission, which means paying them. But for personal and private use it's perfectly legal. If we had holodecks today I'd think the law would fall along those lines - what Barclay did would be legal, but if he then started selling the program he'd be in trouble.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby stitch626 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:36 am

Graham got to the actual legal point. If its for only personal use, you can copy anything (be it art, music, literature, or likeness of a person).
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby BigJKU316 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:37 am

I think it is clear that the law as used now in most nations would allow for "fair use" of the image for private and non-commercial use. You could even use it for profit so long as it was some form of parody of a celeb (at least in the US).

However I think Tyyr's original question is more along the lines of given the technology shouldn't this be against the rules. I would think in Trek times it would have to be for a ton of reasons, at least to have a practically functioning society. You will have to have limits on time in the box so to speak, or many many people won't come out. Not to be rude to real-life but if you throw me down in a society with no money where I can apparently stay in a holodeck as long as I want then most people are not coming out. From a practical perspective holo-addiction will make World of Warcraft look like a fart in a hurricane. You will have huge portions of your people that given their choice will never come out, or at the very least dedicate and plan their life around getting back in as soon as they can.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Graham Kennedy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:45 am

Holo-addiction seems to be a rather rare thing, though. Folks in the Federation seem to put a way bigger premium on "reality is what matters" than people do today.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Mikey » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:09 pm

In the quasi-topia of the UFP, there are a lot less of the negative triggers which engender - or at least abet - addiction. There's bound to be less escapism when there's less from which to escape.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Tyyr » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:12 pm

I just think that's a case of the writers not thinking things through. Your own private world in which you are a god? I think for most people that would be a bit more tempting than WoW.

I get what you're saying about fair use Graham and in the bounds of current law I think you're probably right. However this takes it a step beyond a photoshopped picture or a look-a-like. This would be a perfect copy down to the mole on her ass. Stand them side by side and you couldn't tell the difference. It's one thing to have a porn actress who looks remotely like you doing something. It's entirely different for people to post pictures of them doing your exact double on... whatever the Trek equivalent of the internet is, posting up critiques of your body and how it performs, etc. It seems like something the fair use doctrine never envisioned having to cover.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby BigJKU316 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:01 pm

Mikey wrote:In the quasi-topia of the UFP, there are a lot less of the negative triggers which engender - or at least abet - addiction. There's bound to be less escapism when there's less from which to escape.


There is a whole planet dedicated to doing nothing and having meaningless sex so clearly escapism hasn't totally vanished.

I get that IC, with what can best be described as quasi-humans who inhabit the Federation, that they may believe in some sort of self-improvement nonsense that gets them out and doing things. Functionally the holo-deck argument is not all that different from the money arguments. It all works out...sort of...if you assume that humans have evolved to be in the main self-motivated people working to better themselves.

My issue is I don't buy that really and think the only series that did explore that very well (or really at all) was DS9. TNG just sort of assumed it all worked somehow. At least DS9 gave us some practical looks at the issues at hand but they still have never really explained how this society functioned, just that it did somehow. I tend to take the view that it worked because the crew(s) we followed were sort of brainwashed idealist and we saw things mostly from their point of view. I think the writers avoided the issue for the most part because none of them could figure out how a society like that actually could function.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Graham Kennedy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:06 pm

I'd definitely think they didn't sit down and work it out, but then I wouldn't really expect them to. It's not what the show is about.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Tyyr » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:35 pm

I dunno, the holodeck is a major technology in post TOS Trek. They've used it in dozens of episodes and had many that focused exclusively on it. With so much time and attention paid to the holodecks I'd expect someone to spend an afternoon trying to hash out how it fits into Trek society. We're talking about over twenty years of Trek that's been making use of holodecks and no one seems to have really given them much though, in two decades.
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby Graham Kennedy » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:59 am

The holodeck is part of the show, but Federation society really isn't.

Think about it, how much do we really know about the Federation? We've no real idea of how big it is, we have only the sketchiest details about how the government works - IIRC there's only one line in all of Trek that even states that it is a democracy. We know there's no money, except when there is, but we haven't any clue about how resources are allocated, how people find places to live. We know the goal is "to improve yourself", but we've no idea what motivates people to do that, or if indeed that's just Picard's view or a view of society in general. We know almost nothing about Federation law, almost nothing about their court system, nothing whatsoever about politics - indeed so far as we know there is no such thing as politics in the Federation. Certainly I don't recall anybody ever mentioning public opinion as a factor in any decision, and indeed the only mention of any kind of opposition to any Federation policy from within the Federation itself was support for the Maquis, and that was universally shown as being carried out through terrorism. So far as we know politics seems to have been replaced by an ethical code that must be obeyed at all times regardless of cost. Indeed half the time it creates the impression of a military dictatorship, as Federation officers seem to make all decisions regarding how Starfleet deals with other cultures.

The writers deliberately go out of their way to tell us as little as possible about the Federation, because it's not what the show is about. The basic premise of Star Trek is not "how could we all live and work together in peace and harmony and make it work", the premise is "Suppose we did find a way to work together in peace and harmony, what would we do then?"
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Re: Holo-Privacy, (Question generated from Hollow Pursuits)

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:28 am

Thanks, Graham. You've just summed up why I'm mostly a Doylist, and not a Watsonian.
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