What is the danger of cognitive computing?

by Daniel J. Power

A number of science fiction stories have dealt with rogue computer intelligences. My favorite is Star Trek episode number 53 titled "The Ultimate Computer". Captain Kirk is confronted by a tactical and control computer called the "M-5 Multitronic System". M-5 is designed to handle all functions of the starship Enterprise without any human assistance. In the episode M-5 goes rogue and defends itself and attacks other starships in what was a planned war game. Eventually Kirk determines the computer's creator, Dr. Richard Daystrom, programmed his own engrams into M-5. Daystrom became mentally unstable and so did M-5. Kirk engages M-5 in a dialog and persuades the computer it acted contrary to its purpose by killing people. M-5 recognizes it committed murder and the penalty for murder is death. To atone for its crime, M-5 commits an act of suicide and shuts itself down as the other starships are preparing to attack. Kirk decides to let the Enterprise drift with shields down hoping the commander of the starship squadron will not fire upon a "dead" ship. All ends well for Kirk and the Enterprise and the lesson learned is that a need remains for human control of starships.

Last update: 2016-10-02 07:10
Author: Daniel Power

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