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The Ultimate Computer 

Kirk and a sub-skeleton crew are ordered to test out an advanced artificially intelligent control system - the M-5 Multitronic system, which could potentially render them all redundant.

Writers:

Gene Roddenberry (created by), D.C. Fontana (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
William Marshall ... Dr. Richard Daystrom
James Doohan ... Scott
George Takei ... Sulu
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Walter Koenig ... Chekov
Sean Morgan Sean Morgan ... Harper
Barry Russo ... Commodore Bob Wesley
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Storyline

Captain Kirk replies to an urgent (yet brief) message from Commodore Enright, which only tells him to report to the nearest space station. Once there, most of the crew is removed - held in a security area, leaving only a minimal skeleton crew on-board. Commodore Bob Wesley arrives, and informs the captain he's the unwitting 'fox in the hunt;' of simulated war games to be played. The purpose? To put the so far only-rumoured-to-exist M-5 Multitronic unit - through its paces. The M-5 computer is the latest invention of the brilliant Dr. Richard Daystrom, creator of the Duotronic computer systems, which power Enterprise, and many other high-end systems. Daystrom is confidant his unit can not only take control of the starship, but do a better job than humans can. At first, the Enterprise under M-5's control easily defeats two other starships, but, quickly begins to act independently of its human masters, Daystrom has little interest in disconnecting the M-5 and treats it more like an ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A similar question (computer control versus human control) arises for Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Booby Trap (1989), in which the Enterprise is caught in an ancient Booby Trap. The Booby Trap presents a situation where, as a ship caught in the trap tries to fly out, the trap absorbs and powers itself from the ship, while reacting to, and counterbalancing, the ship's engines. This counterbalancing prevents the ship caught in the trap from moving. One method of escape from the Booby Trap proposed by the Chief Engineer is to turn complete navigation and engine control over to the computer, and allow it to make the calculations and adjustments faster than the Booby Trap can react to the Enterprise, thereby allowing it to power out of the Booby Trap. In that situation, Picard makes the decision to take the helm himself, instead of allowing the computer to take total control. See more »

Goofs

When Lieutenant Uhura informs Captain Kirk that the M5 had already acknowledged a transmission from Commodore Wesley, her left hand is holding the earpiece in her left ear. As the camera cuts to Kirk for his reaction, her hand is at her side. See more »

Quotes

Captain James T. Kirk: What are you doing here, Bones?
Dr. McCoy: Well, all the sickbay systems are shut down until such time as the M-5 is informed there are patients to be cared for.
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Alternate Versions

Special Enhanced version Digitally Remastered with new exterior shots and remade opening theme song See more »

Connections

Referenced in Star Trek Timelines (2016) See more »

User Reviews

 
Blacula sics HAL 9000 on Captain Dunsel
13 August 2006 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

The episode that Stanley Kubrick stole his most important ideas from for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course, that's not exactly true. The idea of an artificially intelligent computer becoming a problem popped up in science-fiction at least shortly after Alan Turing re-popularized the idea of artificial intelligence in the 1950s via what's become known as the "Turing Test" for just that property. Also, Kubrick's 2001, written in conjunction with sci-fi novelist Arthur C. Clarke, began production in 1965, and there are more ideas there than just AI gone haywire, as there are in The Ultimate Computer. But this episode underscores that Star Trek deserves consideration as "serious artwork", consideration that it doesn't often receive outside of the Trekkie community. Even though Star Trek didn't likely influence 2001, the reverse isn't the case, either; rather, both works arrived at similar ideas due to mindfulness towards relatively cutting edge ideas in science and science fiction.

By this point, in case you're looking for a plot summary, you surely know that The Ultimate Computer has something to do with an artificially intelligent computer. It arrives on board the Enterprise courtesy of Dr. Richard Daystrom (William Marshall, soon after The Ultimate Computer to forever be best known as Blacula), a computer genius who long ago designed the basics of the system currently employed on the Enterprise. To test his new system, which is supposed to be able to run the ship more or less by itself, Starfleet orders all but 20 crew members off of the Enterprise and organizes a fairly elaborate war game scenario. Of course, we know as soon as we find out the premise that it's probably a recipe for some kind of disaster.

Aside from the usual AI kinda themes, writers Gene Roddenberry, Laurence N. Wolfe and D.C. Fontana use the episode for a nice exploration of ill-conceived idealism, more general technological skepticism and unease, overly fervent parental apologetics, and difficult utilitarian ethical decisions. The performances are excellent as always (and I always wished that Marshall would have had a more prolific career), and we get a bonus treat of a very Kirk-like head of another Starfleet ship, Commodore Robert Wesley (Barry Russo).


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

Greek | English

Release Date:

8 March 1968 (USA) See more »

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Runtime:

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Mono | Dolby Digital (re-mastered version)| DTS (re-mastered version)

Color:

Color | Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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