Blurred lines - Part 2
Although integrative technology and wearable tech have always been a mainstay in the Star Trek universe, with the advances in communication, connectivity, and transportation our world today is looking more like Star Trek than ever with the technology in Star Trek now ubiquitous--and even with Picard focusing more on the interpersonal relationships and politics between the characters, there is an opportunity to delve deeper into potential subplots that could exist within the dramatic reunion show, much like Data exploring humor in the original. Themes which could be explored that would be highly relevant to our current tipping point in tech would be:
The blurred lines between what is human/Borg/android
In this current time with key cards, Fitbits, Bluetooth and smart-homes talking to smart-phones the Borg (A wide area network of integrated individuals cybernetically connected). These can feel more relatable to the audience of Star Trek right now with all the advancements of tech we have seen in recent years. With implants and medical tech advancing by leaps and bounds it seems like it could be more interesting to position the Borg as more than just an adversary to the humans. Perhaps we could question where the line is between becoming the ‘hivemind’ assimilated cyborg and having your own unique thoughts as a human? As Facebook takes over every aspect of online activities --with questions popping up in every login online "would you like to log in with Facebook?"--perhaps the statement on the screen should actually be "You shall be assimilated.” As movement online becomes more restricted by companies in control of the platforms and we question "what is free thought?" and "would we trade freedom for efficiency?", Picard has huge potential to begin asking those questions of our own society as we deal with some of the same struggles.
Though I see some of the connections to Borg and androids being analyzed in Picard, humans seem to be left out of the conversation as a well-established 'given' rather than an exploration into how much tech is too much tech. When does using a computer become a computer using you?
As we spend more of our time sharing and creating information, one of the biggest technological problems in this day and age is security. Star Trek and their utopian technological systems seem to focus on cool looking but very ergonomically unsound HUD systems. There are no nods to even the most mundane security protocol except for the well-established tropes already in place for Star Trek communications. Even in our earliest of internet times we are being asked to prove constantly that we are 'not a robot' and it would be enlightening to see what the imagined future would believe security protocols would look like in a world where cyborgs and androids are an irrefutable truth. A subplot where Picard constantly fails retinal scans to prove he is who he says he is because he once was assimilated into the Borg collective, (he still had a human eye). Or the Star Trek universe technology has problems with Borg survivors or some similar small annoyance with security would be an interesting addition to the technology embedded in the adventure. For example, when Batman in the movie Batman Returns has problems with his technology, like flicking the button and the Batmobile not responding, it makes the character more relatable, while the constantly perfect working technology in Picard is a touch alienating.
Established system updates
Nothing is more well established than Starfleet, but their systems would have had to have had an update at some point to be sure. With antimatter providing unlimited power for communications, transporters, and thrusters, the coding of all the systems is still being written by humans and would need systematic updates. And with that being said there are always back doors, and 'hackers' who want to exploit the weakness in any system. Though the Borg’s systems have been hacked it would also be interesting to see Starfleet's own weaknesses that reflect the security issues we are facing today with our own established systems within government, military and the security attacks of those who think outside the box. These small subplots of humans interacting with technology within the wider pot of the show Picard would root it more deeply in the questions we are asking ourselves and our government today.
Star Trek is an opportunity to pose questions about the technology of the perceivable future as well as the imminent technology of today. Many of the questions that we are currently facing are with technology from our own 'Borg-like' challenges in wearable tech to our android programming with our personal assistants. These challenges and technological opportunities are not being explored within this show Picard at this time, even in the subtle ways that made Star Trek the Next Generation such a thought-provoking show. There is still time for Picard to explore the blurred lines of wearable and integrative tech, as well as the security and systems risks within the technology of the future. The questions that the show may pose, and how they might relate to our own reality as technology advances faster than the speed of light, and as we deal with our own versions of cyborgs and androids, we ask--what would we give up, in regards to own humanity, in order to be assimilated?