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Thursday, December 6, 2012

31

How Much For Ten Minutes On the Holodeck?

"This is the quality of intellectual property law that provides an economic foundation for anti-Star Trek: the ability to tell others how to use copies of an idea that you “own”. In order to get access to a replicator, you have to buy one from a company that licenses you the right to use a replicator. (Someone can’t give you a replicator or make one with their replicator, because that would violate their license). What’s more, every time you make something with the replicator, you also need to pay a licensing fee to whoever owns the rights to that particular thing. So if the Captain Jean-Luc Picard of anti-Star Trek wanted “tea, Earl Grey, hot”, he would have to pay the company that has copyrighted the replicator pattern for hot Earl Grey tea. (Presumably some other company owns the rights to cold tea.)"
—Peter Frase's "Anti-Star Trek: A Theory of Posterity" puts on an evil Riker beard.

31 Comments / Post A Comment

OhMarie

I've been on a Star Trek: Next Generation kick recently, thanks to Netflix and the blog Fashion It So (check it out, folks). This show is hilarious and insane and super fun. I just watch random episodes, whatever strikes my fancy, this is not a show that actually needs to be watched in order.

stuffisthings

@OhMarie Is fashion it so active again? Seeing my suggested episode on there was a far bigger thrill than anything I've ever sent in to any other blog ever (sorry, Hairpin).

wallsdonotfall

@OhMarie I trust you've seen the jandrew edits: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL67ABF0793ACF3B87

OhMarie

@wallsdonotfall YES OF COURSE THEY ARE GLORIOUS. I actually just re-watched them last weekend after first seeing them a few years ago, and they were even better for my recent TNG consumption.

@stuffisthings They do not post super regularly, but there have definitely been some within the past few weeks. Which episode did you suggest?

stuffisthings

@OhMarie I think it was the one where they are watching the "primitive" civilization from a holographic duck blind, and the holographic projector breaks and Picard gets shot with an arrow.

stuffisthings

Also I love when sci-fi nerds try to talk about economics (not including Frase here, though it is also cute when sociologists attempt it). OMG WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO LIVE IN A SOCIETY WHERE ALMOST NONE OF THE WORKFORCE WAS ENGAGED IN PHYSICALLY PRODUCING GOODS?

stuffisthings

@stuffisthings Like, seriously, drop a comment here if you actually work in a job in 2012 America that could be replaced by a replicator.

Heat Signature

@stuffisthings It would be NICE if social work goals could be replicated. "Parents, clean, sober, loving and nurturing", "Psychological health", and "Respectful, loving relationships" would be great to just order up, y'know?

OhMarie

@stuffisthings I did have a crazy factory job one summer during college. It was at a small-run book bindery, so what we did changed every day, but the first day I was literally putting 2 rings on each stack of cards as they went by on a conveyor belt for hours, just wondering why the fuck a robot wasn't doing this job.

Elsajeni

@stuffisthings My retail job maybe could? I mean, if people could replicate their own quilt fabric and craft supplies at home, I'm not sure why they would still come to my store. But my (admittedly vague) understanding of the Star Trek universe is that stores still exist, so I guess either 1) some things are cheaper/easier to buy than to replicate, or 2) there are enough people who either don't have replicators or prefer non-replicated goods to sustain retail businesses.

stuffisthings

@Elsajeni Well Sisko's dad runs a creole restaurant in New Orleans. Maybe the entire 26th century economy is sustained by hipster-style throwback "churn your own butter" nostalgia? And using the replicator is sort of like going to Wal-Mart?

Anyway in a basic production function like Y = AK^αL^1-α as "capital" and multifactor productivity approach infinity, labor becomes the key variable in determining economic output -- making humans more important, not less.

Pocket Witch

And then, somebody would get around the licensing restrictions, publish it on the internet or hypernet or whatever kids are calling it these days, and everybody would laugh uproariously at the feeble DRM and immediately proceed to replicate the hell out of stuff.

stuffisthings

@Pocket Witch Does this cup of tea register on Steam?

SarcasticFringehead

@Pocket Witch Overnight, "how to jailbreak replicator" would become the number-one future-google (foogle?) search.

Pocket Witch

@SarcasticFringehead I have feelings* about DRM, and copyright laws, and licensing. Ask me about them!

(Spoiler alert: I'll tell you to read Cory Doctorow.)

[*] I also have feelings about open-source desktop environments, filesystems, and curly brackets.

SarcasticFringehead

@Pocket Witch One of the things I want to do when I'm done with school and therefore have time to do reading that is not about local-level climate policy is start to decouple as much as possible from this system that requires you to sell your life's details over to giant corporations every time you want to download a song you paid for or view a file you need, and a big part of that will be learning all the things I don't know but should about open source and DRM. Not that I don't want to pay for the products/services/content that I use/consume, but I want to do as much as I can for myself, and have as much of the payment as possible go to actually supporting continued creation of that product/service/content.

Megasus

But wait, isn't the Star Trekj universe for all intents and purposes a communist one? So they WOULDN'T have to pay licensing fees, because those don't exist anymore in the future.

highfivesforall

@Megano! I think that's why this guy is calling his theory for our actual future anti-Star Trek.

Interestingly, in the Star Trek Catan board game, you still have to trade for resources, so I guess not everyone gets replicators in the board game universe.

Megasus

@highfivesforall Well, I'm pretty sure the replicator needs raw materials to replicate?

highfivesforall

@Megano! True, but it seems that it doesn't matter which raw materials are used - it works on a subatomic scale, so it just needs enough electrons, protons, and neutrons (or whatever has been discovered by the 23rd century) to rearrange. The game has you trading food, water, oxygen, dilithium, and something red, I forget what.

Blushingflwr

@highfivesforall Well, there are still traders. The Ferengi, for example. They buy and sell. Plus there are raw materials needed to build the ships, dilithium crystals for the warp drive, etc. Do they make starship parts in replicators?
Even if Earth and/or the Federation is communist for all intents and purposes, you still have interactions with other cultures - the Ferengi, the Cardassians, the Bajorans, the Romulans, the Klingons, etc, who have different systems.

Megasus

@Blushingflwr Yeah, not all those cultures used replicators either.

highfivesforall

@Blushingflwr Actually they can make starship parts in replicators! Though I think they are primarily used for perishables, food mainly.

The board game is an interesting case because there is no reference to any civilizations besides the Federation, and everyone gets Enterprise-style starships to travel between planets (which produce the resources you need to trade). I think it would have been neat if they had different civilizations for each color/player - really they just took regular catan and put it in space, and slapped star trek branding on it. Not that it's a bad game, I mean, catan is fun anyway and there are little spaceships you get to put on the board, I just think there was more potential there to work star trek into the game play. Oh also, it is definitely based on TOS only because there are cards with references to those characters and no others.

Blushingflwr

But *good* Riker has a beard. Wouldn't an evil Riker beard just be when he's clean-shaven?

highfivesforall

@Blushingflwr He was clean shaven at the beginning of TNG actually. I'm thinking a moustache and soul-patch would be the evil version.

Blushingflwr

@highfivesforall Oh, I remember baby-face Riker. Now I am imagining what it would be like if the whole first season were really evil Riker. Or if he was good Riker and the replacement were evil. I feel like there is much fanfic potential here.

SarcasticFringehead

@Blushingflwr I am of the opinion that if evil is measured in levels of annoyingness, all Rikers are evil. Shut up, Riker.

SarcasticFringehead

YOU GUYS YOU GUYS! The Star Trek Into Darkness trailer is Posted on December 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm

yeah-elle

@SarcasticFringehead Your html went a bit wonky, but YEssssss

Although, not enough Karl Urban. There's never enough.

Who is Cumberbatch supposed to be? Gary Mitchell?

SarcasticFringehead

@yeah-elle Ew, that did go weird. Something was happening with the commenting for about 15 minutes (ironically, the rest of the comment was along the lines of "I can't tell you how excited I am for this!" and in fact, no, I could not).

If you watch the slightly-longer Japanese version (http://www.themarysue.com/star-trek-into-darkness-teaser/) there's the line "is there anything you would not do for your family," which definitely makes it seem like someone with a personal connection to one of the crew, but he's all britishy, so he's probably not, like, Kirk's long-lost brother. So let's speculate wildly for five months!

And then let's make a spinoff where Bones and Scotty go on adventures, because there's never enough of either of them.

Springtime for Voldemort

I like how he really committed to the whole Star Trek thing by using fun! to make up for the giant gaps in logic.

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