Author Topic: The omniscient holodeck  (Read 1861 times)

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Offline Drul Morbok

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The omniscient holodeck
« on: April 02, 2018, 01:22:09 PM »
For my game world I also integrated an idea based on Star Trek's holodeck - which I assume to be known enough not to explain.

I came up with the conclusion that the holodeck could not be used to find out something unknown to its creator/programmer
 I could enter the holodeck and say "build a particle accelerator", or I might go to some console and specify. Then I might conduct experiments and measure results.
But I might as well look into source code of holodeck software.
The result of an experiment within the holodeck should have a deterministic outcome based on its algorithm and the data I enter.

So a society that builds a holodeck can not gain knowledge from it.
At least that's the way I see it, but I might be any case, I wanted to build a story around a holodeck without this limitation.

In some other thread I wrote about a religion claiming science as its faith, and they revere a God that provides the holodeck (of course its not really a holodeck in my game world) with all the knowledge he has about the world...well, only scientific knowledge, its not an oracle, its more like a simulator to create laboratory conditions. A perfect science lab, not limited by issues like energy consumption, able to provide 100% pure elements and shutting of all external influence like gravitation and background radiation.
But as with the original holodeck, you can not take anything out of it, so the society would feature a huge gsp between knowledge and synthesis. They might know the theory of mass defect and about the speed of light, but not use electricity or the steam engine in their daily live.

So for me the whole thing has two purposes:
Thinking about how such a society might develop...and which roleplaying stories might arise
And creating alternative physics...I mentioned the mass defect as an example, but that does not mean my gamecworld mechanics will use the atom model.

Offline David Roomes

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Re: The omniscient holodeck
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 07:46:53 PM »
Regarding the Star Trek holodeck, the trek universe has always been a bit vague when it comes to the holodeck. I've seen every Next Generation episode and they refer to "holo-matter" and such. They imply that the creations on the holodeck are not just holograms (i.e. not just photons), but are, in fact, a mix of photons and energy and matter (utilizing a little bit of transporter technology).

This explains why the holodeck is able to do some weird things. For instance, in the episode "A Matter of Perspective", they create a holographic recreation of a converter device which actually ends up converting energy pulses into Kreiger radiation. In other words, the holodeck recreation functioned just as the real thing would in the real universe. Essentially the converter was just a complex series of mirrors and reflective coils, but they were "real" enough for the physics to work. So, clearly, the holodeck actually does create matter, in some fashion. But you're right, you can't take this "holomatter" off of the holodeck. Almost like it's energy and matter held in a certain shape by the holodeck emitters. It acts just like real matter as long as its in the holodeck.

But they've never been absolutely clear on what holomatter is... at least not in Next Gen. Maybe they clarified it in a later series or book.

Interesting if a low tech society had a magical version of a holodeck... I could see all kinds of story ideas with that.
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Offline Drul Morbok

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Re: The omniscient holodeck
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2018, 03:04:24 PM »
Well, somehow I think Star Trek has often been somewhat..vague on a high level.
They have an enormous knowledge on why some things don't work (yet?) in our universe so they just declare it's suddenly working in the future.

But actually I don't know that much about explanation within the series. My claim was more about logical restrictions:
In your example, I would assume that whoever created the holodock had to know that it was possible to convert energy pulses into Kreiger radiation...and what exactly happened if you did so.

I mean, if the holodeck "creates" energy pulses, it has to "know" what energy pulses are. Even if the creator of the holodeck did not explicitly know about Kreiger radiation, the holodeck created energy pulses in such a way that they had the inherent property of being convertible into Kreiger radiation.

So either the holodeck has access to some "lexicon of the Universe" where it can "look up" what it is expected to reproduce (and here I think the term omniscient applies) or what you described only worked because the holodeck creator knew it worked that way.

And yes, in any case, my idea is not about "right or wrong" within Star Trek canon, but about the idea of a holodeck that "knows" more than the society using it.
If the holodeck does have a divine component or if it is an artefact of an immensely advanced civilization from the past...well, no need to decide which one is true, as long as people in the game world believe either.