The Moral Case Against The Holodeck


What constitutes a being in the Star Trek universe, and why are we so quick to dismiss the lifeforms created on the holodeck?

This is a sticky subject, but the fact is that on Star Trek most holographic creations aren’t considered alive because they aren’t really made up of matter.

The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager is of course the most obvious exception, but his exception seems to be based on the crew taking a liking to him. The crew of Voyager didn’t suddenly decide that he was a living being, they just got to know him and then started treating him differently than other holograms.

Vic on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is another noteable exception, but again his being treated as a real life form seems to be based on the crew liking him. We also don’t know what happened to Vic at the end of DS9. Sisko had ordered that his program remain running, but Sisko is gone at the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Would Quark or Major Kira simply have him turned off now?

It’s a complicated issue because even if these creations are just made of light they do seem to show all the other characteristics of life. Shows like Westworld have explored this with androids, and certianly Star Trek: The Next Generation explored it in “The Measure of a Man.”

Check out this video on the case against holodecks from our friend


and decide for yourself.

Now compare the way Picard talks to Moriarty on the holodeck with the what he says in “The Measure of a Man.”

It’s hard not to feel that the line being drawn in regards to the holodeck is how well the crew knows the being in question. Star Trek usually comes down on the moral side of issues, so this would be an interesting problem to see future Trek series tackle.

NEXT: Alien Species We Want To See In Star Trek Discovery

So what do you think? Are holodecks moral? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.