Star Trek: Discovery Is No Longer Here For Your A.I. Anxiety

By Kayti Burt

Star Trek: Discovery is finding its optimism when it comes to artificial intelligence.

Star Trek is widely recognized as a hopeful imagining of what our future could look like. But that aspirational future can come with its share of problems...

In Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, the big problem was a malevolent A.I. known as Control. Originally designed as a threat-assessment system by the Federation’s Section 31, Control evolved into evil.

Attack of the Artificial Intelligence 

While the crew of Discovery eventually defeated Control before it could wipe out all life in the galaxy, the depiction of artificial intelligence as something to be feared remained.

But, in Season 3, Discovery seems interested in telling a different kind of story about AI. In “Forget Me Not,” the Discovery computer casually evolves into a new version of itself.

We’ve met this version of the ship’s computer before: in 2018’s Short Treks episode “Calypso.” Her name is Zora.

A.I. Love

“Calypso” is set sometime in the Discovery’s future, when Zora has been abandoned by her captain and crew. When Zora rescues a man named Craft, a relationship grows between the AI and the human.

Zora teaches Craft about “Taco Tuesday” and old Hollywood films and, when Craft expresses the desire to return to his family, Zora finds a way to make this happen. It looks a lot like love.

The Zora we meet in Discovery Season 3 is a new and improved AI. Rather than using this new understanding to wipe out humanity, Zora helps Saru plan a movie night for the demoralized Discovery crew.

This new future the Discovery has found itself in has its share of greedy thugs and violent squabbles, but it also believes again in the possibility of artificial intelligence that can love.

Star Trek: Discovery is no longer here for your A.I. anxieties.