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Military robots and the future of war | P.W. Singer


I thought I’d begin with a scene of war. There was little to warn of the danger ahead. The Iraqi insurgent had placed the IED, an Improvised Explosive Device, along the side of the road with great care. By 2006, there were more than 2,500 of these attacks every single month, and they were the leading cause of casualties among American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. The team that was hunting for this IED is called an EOD team— Explosives Ordinance Disposal—and they’re the pointy end of the spear in the American effort to suppress these roadside bombs. Each EOD team goes out on about 600 of these bomb calls every year, defusing about two bombs a day. Perhaps the best sign of how valuable they are to the war effort, is that the Iraqi insurgents put a $50,000 bounty on the head of a single EOD soldier. Unfortunately, this particular call would not end well. By the time the soldier advanced close enough to see the telltale wires of the bomb, it exploded in a wave of flame. Now, depending how close you are and how much explosive has been packed into that bomb, it can cause death or injury. You have to be as far as 50 yards away to escape that. The blast is so strong it can even break your limbs, even if you’re not hit. That soldier had been on top of the bomb. And so when the rest of the team advanced they found little left. And that night the unit’s commander did a sad duty, and he wrote a condolence letter back to the United States, and he talked about how hard the loss had been on his unit, about the fact that they had lost their bravest soldier, a soldier who had saved their lives many a time. And he apologized for not being able to bring them home. But then he talked up the silver lining that he took away from the loss. “At least,” as he wrote, “when a robot dies, you don’t have to write a letter to its mother.” That scene sounds like science fiction, but is battlefield reality already. The soldier in that case was a 42-pound robot called a PackBot. The chief’s letter went, not to some farmhouse in Iowa like you see in the old war movies, but went to the iRobot Company, which is named after the Asimov novel and the not-so-great Will Smith movie, and… um… (Laughter)… if you remember that in that fictional world, robots started out carrying out mundane chores, and then they started taking on life-and-death decisions. That’s a reality we face today. What we’re going to do is actually just flash a series of photos behind me that show you the reality of robots used in war right now or already at the prototype stage. It’s just to give you a taste. Another way of putting it is you’re not going to see anything that’s powered by Vulcan technology, or teenage wizard hormones or anything like that. This is all real. So why don’t we go ahead and start those pictures. Something big is going on in war today, and maybe even the history of humanity itself. The U.S. military went into Iraq with a handful of drones in the air. We now have 5,300. We went in with zero unmanned ground systems. We now have 12,000. And the tech term “killer application” takes on new meaning in this space. And we need to remember that we’re talking about the Model T Fords, the Wright Flyers, compared to what’s coming soon. That’s where we’re at right now. One of the people that I recently met with was an Air Force three-star general, and he said basically, where we’re headed very soon is tens of thousands of robots operating in our conflicts, and these numbers matter, because we’re not just talking about tens of thousands of today’s robots, but tens of thousands of these prototypes and tomorrow’s robots, because of course, one of the things that’s operating in technology is Moore’s Law, that you can pack in more and more computing power into those robots, and so flash forward around 25 years, if Moore’s Law holds true, those robots will be close to a billion times more powerful in their computing than today. And so what that means is the kind of things that we used to only talk about at science fiction conventions like Comic-Con have to be talked about in the halls of power and places like the Pentagon. A robots revolution is upon us. Now, I need to be clear here. I’m not talking about a revolution where you have to worry about the Governor of California showing up at your door, a la the Terminator. (Laughter) When historians look at this period, they’re going to conclude that we’re in a different type of revolution: a revolution in war, like the invention of the atomic bomb. But it may be even bigger than that, because our unmanned systems don’t just affect the “how” of war-fighting, they affect the “who” of fighting at its most fundamental level. That is, every previous revolution in war, be it the machine gun, be it the atomic bomb, was about a system that either shot faster, went further, had a bigger boom. That’s certainly the case with robotics, but they also change the experience of the warrior and even the very identity of the warrior. Another way of putting this is that mankind’s 5,000-year-old monopoly on the fighting of war is breaking down in our very lifetime. I’ve spent the last several years going around meeting with all the players in this field, from the robot scientists to the science fiction authors who inspired them to the 19-year-old drone pilots who are fighting from Nevada, to the four-star generals who command them, to even the Iraqi insurgents who they are targeting and what they think about our systems, and what I found interesting is not just their stories, but how their experiences point to these ripple effects that are going outwards in our society, in our law and our ethics, etc. And so what I’d like to do with my remaining time is basically flesh out a couple of these. So the first is that the future of war, even a robotics one, is not going to be purely an American one. The U.S. is currently ahead in military robotics right now, but we know that in technology there’s no such thing as a permanent first move or advantage. In a quick show of hands, how many people in this room still use Wang Computers? (Laughter) It’s the same thing in war. The British and the French invented the tank. The Germans figured out how to use it right, and so what we have to think about for the U.S. is that we are ahead right now, but you have 43 other countries out there working on military robotics, and they include all the interesting countries like Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran. And this raises a bigger worry for me. How do we move forward in this revolution given the state of our manufacturing and the state of our science and mathematics training in our schools? Or another way of thinking about this is, what does it mean to go to war increasingly with soldiers whose hardware is made in China and software is written in India? But just as software has gone open-source, so has warfare. Unlike an aircraft carrier or an atomic bomb, you don’t need a massive manufacturing system to build robotics. A lot of it is off the shelf. A lot of it’s even do-it-yourself. One of those things you just saw flashed before you was a raven drone, the handheld tossed one. For about a thousand dollars, you can build one yourself, equivalent to what the soldiers use in Iraq. That raises another wrinkle when it comes to war and conflict. Good guys might play around and work on these as hobby kits, but so might bad guys. This cross between robotics and things like terrorism is going to be fascinating and even disturbing, and we’ve already seen it start. During the war between Israel, a state, and Hezbollah, a non-state actor, the non-state actor flew four different drones against Israel. There’s already a jihadi website that you can go on and remotely detonate an IED in Iraq while sitting at your home computer. And so I think what we’re going to see is two trends take place with this. First is, you’re going to reinforce the power of individuals against governments, but then the second is that we are going to see an expansion in the realm of terrorism. The future of it may be a cross between al Qaeda 2.0 and the next generation of the Unabomber. And another way of thinking about this is the fact that, remember, you don’t have to convince a robot that they’re gonna receive 72 virgins after they die to convince them to blow themselves up. But the ripple effects of this are going to go out into our politics. One of the people that I met with was a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Ronald Reagan, and he put it this way: “I like these systems because they save American lives, but I worry about more marketization of wars, more shock-and-awe talk, to defray discussion of the costs. People are more likely to support the use of force if they view it as costless.” Robots for me take certain trends that are already in play in our body politic, and maybe take them to their logical ending point. We don’t have a draft. We don’t have declarations of war anymore. We don’t buy war bonds anymore. And now we have the fact that we’re converting more and more of our American soldiers that we would send into harm’s way into machines, and so we may take those already lowering bars to war and drop them to the ground. But the future of war is also going to be a YouTube war. That is, our new technologies don’t merely remove humans from risk. They also record everything that they see. So they don’t just delink the public: they reshape its relationship with war. There’s already several thousand video clips of combat footage from Iraq on YouTube right now, most of it gathered by drones. Now, this could be a good thing. It could be building connections between the home front and the war front as never before. But remember, this is taking place in our strange, weird world, and so inevitably the ability to download these video clips to, you know, your iPod or your Zune gives you the ability to turn it into entertainment. Soldiers have a name for these clips. They call it war porn. The typical one that I was sent was an email that had an attachment of video of a Predator strike taking out an enemy site. Missile hits, bodies burst into the air with the explosion. It was set to music. It was set to the pop song “I Just Want To Fly” by Sugar Ray. This ability to watch more but experience less creates a wrinkle in the public’s relationship with war. I think about this with a sports parallel. It’s like the difference between watching an NBA game, a professional basketball game on TV, where the athletes are tiny figures on the screen, and being at that basketball game in person and realizing what someone seven feet really does look like. But we have to remember, these are just the clips. These are just the ESPN SportsCenter version of the game. They lose the context. They lose the strategy. They lose the humanity. War just becomes slam dunks and smart bombs. Now the irony of all this is that while the future of war may involve more and more machines, it’s our human psychology that’s driving all of this, it’s our human failings that are leading to these wars. So one example of this that has big resonance in the policy realm is how this plays out on our very real war of ideas that we’re fighting against radical groups. What is the message that we think we are sending with these machines versus what is being received in terms of the message. So one of the people that I met was a senior Bush Administration official, who had this to say about our unmanning of war: “It plays to our strength. The thing that scares people is our technology.” But when you go out and meet with people, for example in Lebanon, it’s a very different story. One of the people I met with there was a news editor, and we’re talking as a drone is flying above him, and this is what he had to say. “This is just another sign of the coldhearted cruel Israelis and Americans, who are cowards because they send out machines to fight us. They don’t want to fight us like real men, but they’re afraid to fight, so we just have to kill a few of their soldiers to defeat them.” The future of war also is featuring a new type of warrior, and it’s actually redefining the experience of going to war. You can call this a cubicle warrior. This is what one Predator drone pilot described of his experience fighting in the Iraq War while never leaving Nevada. “You’re going to war for 12 hours, shooting weapons at targets, directing kills on enemy combatants, and then you get in the car and you drive home and within 20 minutes, you’re sitting at the dinner table talking to your kids about their homework.” Now, the psychological balancing of those experiences is incredibly tough, and in fact those drone pilots have higher rates of PTSD than many of the units physically in Iraq. But some have worries that this disconnection will lead to something else, that it might make the contemplation of war crimes a lot easier when you have this distance. “It’s like a video game,” is what one young pilot described to me of taking out enemy troops from afar. As anyone who’s played Grand Theft Auto knows, we do things in the video world that we wouldn’t do face to face. So much of what you’re hearing from me is that there’s another side to technologic revolutions, and that it’s shaping our present and maybe will shape our future of war. Moore’s Law is operative, but so’s Murphy’s Law. The fog of war isn’t being lifted. The enemy has a vote. We’re gaining incredible new capabilities, but we’re also seeing and experiencing new human dilemmas. Now, sometimes these are just “oops” moments, which is what the head of a robotics company described it, you just have “oops” moments. Well, what are “oops” moments with robots in war? Well, sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes, they’re like that scene from the Eddie Murphy movie “Best Defense,” playing out in reality, where they tested out a machine gun-armed robot, and during the demonstration it started spinning in a circle and pointed its machine gun at the reviewing stand of VIPs. Fortunately the weapon wasn’t loaded and no one was hurt, but other times “oops” moments are tragic, such as last year in South Africa, where an anti-aircraft cannon had a “software glitch,” and actually did turn on and fired, and nine soldiers were killed. We have new wrinkles in the laws of war and accountability. What do we do with things like unmanned slaughter? What is unmanned slaughter? We’ve already had three instances of Predator drone strikes where we thought we got bin Laden, and it turned out not to be the case. And this is where we’re at right now. This is not even talking about armed, autonomous systems with full authority to use force. And do not believe that that isn’t coming. During my research I came across four different Pentagon projects on different aspects of that. And so you have this question: what does this lead to issues like war crimes? Robots are emotionless, so they don’t get upset if their buddy is killed. They don’t commit crimes of rage and revenge. But robots are emotionless. They see an 80-year-old grandmother in a wheelchair the same way they see a T-80 tank: they’re both just a series of zeroes and ones. And so we have this question to figure out: How do we catch up our 20th century laws of war, that are so old right now that they could qualify for Medicare, to these 21st century technologies? And so, in conclusion, I’ve talked about what seems the future of war, but notice that I’ve only used real world examples and you’ve only seen real world pictures and videos. And so this sets a great challenge for all of us that we have to worry about well before you have to worry about your Roomba sucking the life away from you. Are we going to let the fact that what’s unveiling itself right now in war sounds like science fiction and therefore keeps us in denial? Are we going to face the reality of 21st century war? Is our generation going to make the same mistake that a past generation did with atomic weaponry, and not deal with the issues that surround it until Pandora’s box is already opened up? Now, I could be wrong on this, and one Pentagon robot scientist told me that I was. He said, “There’s no real social, ethical, moral issues when it comes to robots. That is,” he added, “unless the machine kills the wrong people repeatedly. Then it’s just a product recall issue.” And so the ending point for this is that actually, we can turn to Hollywood. A few years ago, Hollywood gathered all the top characters and created a list of the top 100 heroes and top 100 villains of all of Hollywood history, the characters that represented the best and worst of humanity. Only one character made it onto both lists: The Terminator, a robot killing machine. And so that points to the fact that our machines can be used for both good and evil, but for me it points to the fact that there’s a duality of humans as well. This week is a celebration of our creativity. Our creativity has taken our species to the stars. Our creativity has created works of arts and literature to express our love. And now, we’re using our creativity in a certain direction, to build fantastic machines with incredible capabilities, maybe even one day an entirely new species. But one of the main reasons that we’re doing that is because of our drive to destroy each other, and so the question we all should ask: is it our machines, or is it us that’s wired for war? Thank you. (Applause)


how’s your head good fine oh I’ve been
still worry about you ever since you ran it off the other night are you okay gosh you didn’t even look at this is
more serious than I thought apparently our mother is amorously infatuated with
you instead of your father whoa wait a minute are you trying to tell me that my
mother has got the hots for me precisely whoa this is heavy there’s that word
again heavy why are things so heavy in the future is there a problem with the
Earth’s gravitational pull the only way we’re gonna get those two to
successfully mate is if they are alone together so you’ve got to get your
father and mother to interact and some sort of social well wouldn’t we like a
date by kids doing the fifties what they’re your parents you must know them
what are their common interests what do they like to do together
nothing

Welcome to the Future of Privacy Forum

February 10, 2020 | Articles, Blog | No Comments

Welcome to the Future of Privacy Forum


In 2008, when I founded The Future of
Privacy Forum and immediately thereafter when Jules Polonetsky
joined as executive director, our vision for The Future of Privacy Forum would
that- it would be a place where we could advance the responsible use of data
while respecting individual privacy. We work with academics, advocates, chief
privacy officers of almost 150 companies to try to advance responsible practices.
We’re optimists about tech and data, but we recognize that real serious ethical
and privacy-related concerns need to be in place for us to get the best out of
data and technology. The academic community has been working for years
struggling to solve some of the most challenging data problems: artificial
intelligence, big data, wearables. Some of this work is incredibly important, but it
may not be easily available to the leaders of companies, it may not be
available to busy members of Congress. The Future of Privacy Forum is bringing
together interdisciplinary chief privacy officers, academics, advocates, and
government; learning, to share knowledge, to collaborate, and hopefully find
solutions to improve society.

This Philadelphia art exhibit pushes the envelope with designs for the future


JUDY WOODRUFF: Question: What will the future
look like? That’s a big question posed by a new exhibition
at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Eighty designers from around the world have put their
imaginations to work to address both the anxieties and excitement over the possibilities brought
by innovation and new technology. Jeffrey Brown visits the museum as part of
our ongoing arts and culture series, Canvas. JEFFREY BROWN: It’s usually the stuff of sci-fi
films, books and cartoons, but now the future is on display at a new design exhibition at
the Philadelphia Museum of Art. KATHY HIESINGER, Philadelphia Museum of Art:
We want people to find their own paths. JEFFREY BROWN: Kathy Hiesinger co-curator
of Designs for Different Futures. KATHY HIESINGER: The idea of the show is to
make us think of, you know, who we are as human beings and how we relate to each other
and to the world around us, and what that means in terms of both design and the future. JEFFREY BROWN: But why is design a good way
to explore the future? KATHY HIESINGER: Design today now encompasses
more than making chairs or simple physical objects. Designers collaborate, as the show
demonstrates, with scientists, with anthropologists, with sociologists, biochemists, across all
fields. JEFFREY BROWN: Divided into 11 sections, the
exhibit explores innovative ideas, often mixing high tech with the natural world, textiles
made of seaweed, artificial organ implants, even a robotic baby feeder. It offers hope, inspires fear, and asks ethical
questions about the choices involved. How will our clothes be made? Who will be
watching us? And how might we hide from surveillance? How and what will we eat? That was the focus
for Orkan Telhan, an artist and designer at the University of Pennsylvania. His display, titled Breakfast Before Extinction,
offers several futuristic meals that may or may not whet your appetite, 3D-printed pancakes,
genetically modified salmon and, strangest of all, steak made from our own blood cells. ORKAN TELHAN, University of Pennsylvania:
In the future, imagine you receive a kit coming to your house, where you can get a little
kit where you can take your cells from your body. JEFFREY BROWN: My own cells. ORKAN TELHAN: Your own cells, almost like
getting a swab from your cheek, putting them into a little dish, where you let them incubate
for, you know, six, eight weeks, so that you can have your little meat, which you can consume
by yourself in front of… JEFFREY BROWN: And I’m eating myself? ORKAN TELHAN: Yourself. Yes, you’re eating
yourself. And so no animals are harmed. JEFFREY BROWN: And why do I want to do — why
do I want to do that? ORKAN TELHAN: First of all, it’s the most
sustainable way of making food. I’m not saying this — it’s going to be a
replacement for all your protein needs, but making you think about, you know, do we need
to kill an animal to be able to feed this? JEFFREY BROWN: Scarcity and diminished resources
are coming, he says. It’s up to us to make some difficult choices. ORKAN TELHAN: This is not about, oh, this
is a solution for it. But maybe we can, you know, change certain things, and then maybe
avoid this future. JEFFREY BROWN: The exhibition’s top celebrity
was found in the jobs section, where Quori, a robot designed by a team including architect
Simon Kim mimics basic human movement. Kim says an enormous amount of thinking goes
into the look and feel of the robot and how that will impact our interactions with it. SIMON KIM, University of Pennsylvania: It
is meant to be a genderless robot. So there’s great pains in the design to maintain the
kind of not only male or female traits. JEFFREY BROWN: Why is that? SIMON KIM: It’s a large issue in the human-robot
interaction community. So, if it’s taller than us, if it’s bigger
than us, if it looks aggressive, these are things that, in our perception, turn us away
from the robot, whereas the robot is meant to be helpful. We might not engage at all. JEFFREY BROWN: Here, Quori performs simple
gestures, but it can be programmed to do more, including things that could raise fears of
the machine’s power over us. SIMON KIM: So, it takes more than just smart
engineering or smart design, but it’s also going to take, you know, somebody who can
work psychologically to make sure that the rules for which we hope these robots occupy
work with us, so that we’re not turned off, nor do we think so negatively about the robot
that we don’t assign it any role at all. JEFFREY BROWN: The exhibition includes a futures
therapy lab, where visitors can digest and contemplate their experience. Emily Schreiner is a curator for public programs. EMILY SCHREINER, Philadelphia Museum of Art:
A lot of people come in with their eyes really wide. They have just seen a lot. They have
experienced a lot. But this is a space that has people and paper
and books, and that has been sort of a hyper-analog counterpoint to a very dizzying perspective
of the future. JEFFREY BROWN: People gather in the lab to
read from the crowdsourced library, make art, and listen to designers talk about their work. Wendy Rosenfield felt a range of emotions. WENDY ROSENFIELD, Visitor: It actually gave
me a little bit of anxiety walking through, just like how quickly everything’s changing
and how much technology and the development of technology even plays into that. JEFFREY BROWN: Curators hope to inspire visitors
to reflect on the human condition, how we can design better solutions, and also recognize
our own agency. KATHY HIESINGER: In today’s climate, political,
environmental, the present seems to be very urgent. And making decisions that will affect
the future seem more important now than ever. JEFFREY BROWN: In a show like this allows
us to think about that. KATHY HIESINGER: I hope so. And I think there
are many projects here that show what can be done or speculate about where we could
go in the future. JEFFREY BROWN: The exhibition Designs for
Different Futures is here through March 8, before traveling to Minneapolis and Chicago. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown
at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. JUDY WOODRUFF: And some of it, we have never
thought about before.

5 Times Artist Nam June Paik Predicted the Future | Tate


Can art and technology unite the world? This
was a question that Korean artist Nam June Paik spent much of his career exploring.
Paik had a uniquely global view of the world for his time. Born in South Korea in 1932,
he went on to live and work in Japan, Germany and the United States.
Travel at the time was difficult and rare, but Paik saw tech as a way to open up the
world and share art beyond borders and cultural differences. Here are five times Nam June Paik predicted the future. One: The internet In 1974, Paik proposed building a network
of “electronic super highways”, using satellites, cables and fibre optics to connect
faraway cities. We could hold ‘conferences between people
in different locations via colour video… It will become our springboard for new and
surprising human endeavours.’ While others before him had suggested a digital
network, Paik was the first to predict an Internet that would be used for communication. Two: Video as art For his first art exhibition in 1963, Paik
showcased a dozen manipulated TV sets. It was the start of his fascination with electronics.
Paik started to play with the latest gadgets and was one of the first artists to use TV
and video. He built TV-robots, TV-walls, made his own
synthesiser and broadcasted live events. His – Good evening, Tamara
– Hello, everybody. This is my friend, Mischa His ground-breaking work showed the possibilities
of videos in art and paved the way for future artists. Three: Climate crisis In 1980, Paik wrote an essay called ‘How
to Make Oil Obsolete’. He wrote that ‘someday brain-power must prevail over oil-power…
which would indicate ecological well-being.’ For Paik, technology and nature were connected
and needed to exist in harmony. Illustrating this idea, Paik created TV Garden,
where he placed TV sets among tropical plants. ‘Many people had thought that television
is against ecology… But in this case, television is part of ecology.’ Four: Global media In 1973, Paik predicted global satellite TV.
In his video broadcast artwork ‘Global Groove’, he announced: ‘This is a glimpse of a video landscape of tomorrow, when you will be able to switch to any TV station on the earth.’
This was an ambitious goal, but Paik hoped that mass media could help unite the globe. 15 years later, his final video broadcast ‘Wrap Around the World’ was aired to 50 million
viewers in 10 countries, from the United States to Japan. Five: Smartphones In 1974, Paik wrote that one day there would be a ‘mixed media telephone system for one-thousand-and-one new applications’, on which you can make
video calls, watch TV, go shopping and even get a health check.
Paik believed that tech would give us all the chance to make and share art.
‘The invention of the camera changed the scene and made everybody into an active visual artist’,
he wrote, predicting the future of camcorders, live-streaming and social media.

Is Quantum Slipstream the Future of Starfleet?

February 6, 2020 | Articles, Blog | 100 Comments

Is Quantum Slipstream the Future of Starfleet?


Upon encountering the USS Dauntless in the
Delta quadrant, the crew of the USS Voyager thought they’d found the answer to their
prayers in the form of a fast way home, but of course it turned out to be a trap set by
the lone survivor of a race assimilated by the Borg.
Arturis, the owner of the vessel belonged to Species 116 and his people exhibited some
interesting technology in the form of the Quantum Slipstream Drive and Ship-wide Particle
Synthesis. The latter of these two allowed for the molecular reconstruction of the interior
and exterior of the ship to a limited extent. It was the Slipstream Drive however that was
the true treasure. Despite losing the “Dauntless” and the final survivor of species 116 to the
Borg, the crew of the Voyager had had many opportunities to preform detailed scans of
the vessel and tinker with its workings. Upon returning to their own vessel they set about
on a project to recreate the Drive and they were successful, to an extent.
The federation has always being seeking faster and faster methods of interstellar travel
but Slipstream Drive seems the most promising by far and many books and such mark it as
the new step in Starfleet propulsion. Most of this information comes from Star Trek Online
and the post Dominion stories centred around the USS Aventine, but Starfleet, alongside
managing development and improvements of conventional warp began serious development of the Quantum
Slipstream drive on Voyager’s return. But what makes this technology stand out over
other failed experiments such as the USS Excelsior’s Transwarp drive or Transwarp coil stolen from
the Borg? It seems that Borg transwarp is yet to be replicated by Starfleet in full.
Though it can be incorporated with Federation tech to create short bursts of Transwarp before
it burns out as seen in Voyger, but it should also be noted that the USS Voyager had undergone
extensive modification prior to this already. So the integration and acquisition of Borg
technology is generally a risk best avoided except in remarkable circumstances.
And as for earlier transwarpp? Well, apparently they never found those bolts Scotty took from
the Excelsior. I’m joking, but that form of Transwarp requires its own video as there
are plenty of theories around it. But for a start, look how relatively easily
it was to create a Slipstream Drive. The crew of the USS Voyager, the only Federation ship
in the Delta Quadrant with no starbase nor port to dock at managed to overhaul their
warp core to accept the modifications required for a fully functional Slipstream Drive. This
already suggests that the drive only required and adaptation of existing technology in part
and that was not too far from compatible with Federation standards. Though it did require
the use of Benamite Crystals, short lived lattices that provided short-term access to
the Quantum Slipstream. So there are limiting factors but there are too, many similarities.
For example, it was still powered by the matter-antimatter reactions of a Federation vessel and didn’t
need the support of a network of gates, like Borg or Vadwaar Corridors. Warp speed has
a limit that has been vexing Federation engineers for generations, except Tom Paris apparently
but that’s a whole different headache. In the 24th Century warp 10 is infinite velocity
but they have never been able to achieve this speed (again shut up), no matter how many
9s they add to the end of Warp 9. So clearly, the answer to higher speeds lies outside of
Warp Drive. The Quantum Slipstream itself is described as something that you can enter
into and be carried by, the nature of a ship’s Drive in this case is to maintain a field
that lets the ship ride the slipstream like a glider in air currents rather than a plane,
or so it seems. While Voyager’s drive was deemed too unsafe
and eventually dismantled, the problems were navigational and computational, not the hardware
itself. This problem was compensated for in the original Voyager test flights by having
a smaller vessel flying in front of the ship and calculating the phase variances to beam
back to the mother ship, but the risk of error increased with the duration of the flight.
In the USS Aventine , this same work around was applied with the use of a chroniton integrator
which actually took readings from a few seconds into the future to provide enough time for
the calculations to be applied shipside. Another issue is that micro-fractures in the
Benamite can occur that begin to destabilise the slipstream. For this reason Slipstream,
for the foreseeable future is likely to be limited to short bursts of speed to supplement
Warp Drive, not replace it entirely which is the conclusion reached in 2380s and still
in the case in 2409, although by this time, the drive is out of the experimental stages
and a common integration of ships systems. But even with these faults, Slipstream seems
to be the most promising development in recent Trek history and a true contender for the
advancement of interstellar exploration. What do you think of the Quantum Slipstream
drive? Do you think its incorporation into Starships should be canonically continued
or do you think it lessens the vastness of space? I think that it’s about time that
the Federation developed some new faster-than-warp drive to allow for further exploration, after
all, if not slipstream then it would be a plot point like a Wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant
or an Iconian Gateway or something. Slipstream, if working allows for a continuation
of exploration into the unknown, even if it does risk some new plot juggling. Until the
next vid however, thanks for watching, I’ve been Ric and I’ll see you next time, goodbye.