Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 24

The Ultimate Computer (8 Mar. 1968)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 826 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 4 critic

Kirk and a sub-skeleton crew are ordered to test out an advanced artificially intelligent control system that could potentially render them all redundant.

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(created by), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Ultimate Computer (08 Mar 1968)

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Episode complete credited cast:
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Scott / M-5 / Starbase Officer
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Sean Morgan ...
Barry Russo ...
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Storyline

Kirk is none too impressed when he's told that the Enterprise is to compete in simulated war games but under the control of a new computer. The M-5 computer is the latest invention of the brilliant Dr. Richard Daystrom, who is confidant that his unit can not only take control of the starship but do a better job than humans can. In its first simulated encounter, the Enterprise under M-5's control easily defeats two other starships. Soon, however, it begins to act independently of its human masters, tapping directly into the warp engines for its power and erecting a force field to protect itself. Daystrom has little interest in disconnecting the M-5 and treats it more like an errant child than a machine. For Kirk and the few crew members still aboard, it becomes a matter of life and death when Starfleet Command orders the Enterprise destroyed. Written by garykmcd

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8 March 1968 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Barry Russo, appearing here as Commodore Wesley, also appears in Star Trek: The Devil in the Dark (1967) as the character Lieutenant Commander Giotto. See more »

Goofs

As M-5 is evaluating a planet for exploration, Scott remarks that M-5 is cutting off power on decks 4 and 5. In the following scene, Dr. Daystrom explains why power was cut off on decks 4 and 6. Captain Kirk's quarters are on deck 5, which should still be available as he remains on the ship. See more »

Quotes

Wesley: Dr. Daystrom will see to the installation himself and he'll supervise the tests. When he's ready, you'll receive your orders and proceed on the mission with a crew of twenty.
Captain James T. Kirk: Twenty? I can't run a starship with twenty crew.
Wesley: The M-5 can.
Captain James T. Kirk: And what am I supposed to do?
Wesley: You've got a great job, Jim. All you have to do is sit back and let the machine do the work.
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User Reviews

 
Daystrom's Dilemma
3 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a rather complex episode. It has the classic question as to whether complete mechanization (including a master computer) is preferable to a human (or non-human) crew. A man named Dr. Daystrom is one of the pioneers in the development of space technology. He was once lauded but, like so many pioneers, has become the object of the public's malaise over past accomplishments. He uses the Enterprise as his Guinea pig, installing his ultimate computer and putting the crew in menial positions. To test out his baby, Daystrom has arranged war games with other starships. The computer does a masterful job of running the ship, but because artificial intelligence lacks imagination, when the games commence, the thing can't distinguish the game from reality. It believes these ships are actually attacking it. Daystrom goes mad when efforts are made to stop his creation. Another issue is if Daystrom has his way, there will be no more crews, no more explorations. Would it spell the end of the need for looking into the unknown.


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