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
Did You Know?
In his 1999 essay "Welcome Aboard the Enterprise," science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer
writes, "...the ship's computers, as seen in "The Ultimate Computer," were designed by a Nobel-prize-winning black cyberneticist, played with equal dignity by William Marshall
. During the era of Martin Luther King
and the Watts Riots, it was a powerful, important statement to have the white captain of the Enterprise deferring to black people; as Marshall observed thirty years later, the single most significant thing about his guest-starring role was that he, an African-American, was referred to as "Sir" throughout the episode." See more
Immediately after Scott & Mr. Spock disable the M-5 computer, Sulu attempts to operate the helm on the bridge, only to discover that the M-5 is still in control. When Sulu calls down to Kirk to let him know this, Kirk answers "Kirk here" and THEN punches the button on the com panel. This is backwards. Ordinarily on the Enterprise, when answering a com system page, characters push the button on the com panel FIRST (thus opening the "channel") then begin talking. See more
Captain James T. Kirk
Evaluation of M-5 performance. It'll be necessary for the log.
The ship reacted more rapidly than human control could have maneuvered her. Tactics, deployment of weapons, all indicate an immense sophistication in computer control.
Captain James T. Kirk
Machine over man, Spock? It was impressive. Might even be practical.
Practical, Captain? Perhaps. But not desirable. Computers make excellent and efficient servants; but I have no wish to serve under them. Captain, a starship also runs on loyalty to one man, and ...