Joy Class Androids

Precautions Against Paranoia


In the last watch, this unit briefly interfaced with yourself and the other three department heads. You and Doctor Wilson were engaged in a brief physical conflict, after which he retreated at speed under considerable emotional distress. In response to your verbal indications of displeasure, this unit called a security alert, and initiated pursuit of Commander Wilson.

Shortly after, JT described a theory of an epidemic reducing the sanity level of members of the crew. He mentioned personal experience with Doctor Wilson, and suggested immediate action should be taken. Colonel Caine voiced similar concerns, suggested that this unit might be immune to the effect, that the ship should be taken out of this region, and suggested this unit should assume command.

If the Captain of a Federation Starship must be relieved of command, there are specific individuals that have to concur that there is a lack of fitness. The Executive Officer and the Chief Medical Officer are on this list. Even assuming Colonel Caine's observations are correct, and assuming this unit is indeed immune to the hypothetical effect in question, there is a procedural difficulty. The CMO is unfit for duty, and thus cannot declare the Captain unfit for duty. If the Captain and XO are unfit for duty, they cannot declare the CMO unfit, promote the medical second to acting CMO, who could then declare the CO and XO unfit. It is not clear there are enough people above me in the chain of command, or below me, sufficiently fit to disqualify everyone below me, or above me, as unfit.

Or fit.

I think.

This unit is also beginning to consider that perhaps all organic beings are potentially unfit. The proper action, therefore, is to render all organic beings harmless using stunners, sleepy gas, containment force fields, and similar restraining methods short of lethal force. However, the possibility of the necessity to implement such a schema of last resort is occupying considerable processor utilization.

This unit is not authorized to initiate use force against the United Federation of Planets. The possibility of a processing discontinuity approximating the organic process anomaly designated 'paranoia' exists. This unit may not be immune from Colonel Caine's hypothetical effect. It seems necessary to initiate all precautions, to take extreme care, to at all costs prevent paranoia.

I am not certain that sufficient steps may be taken to absolutely protect from paranoia. Initial attempts to isolate and prevent all thought processes leading to paranoia for some reason trigger paradox avoidance logic.

Clarification is requested.

While this unit endorses Colonel Caine's suggestion to evacuate the area, it seems improper at this time to initiate neutralization or elimination of the chain of command or the organic beings.

This unit was also directed to 'contain' an artificial intelligence uploaded from the Maelstrom. This AI, designated 'Karen,' seems to be an accidental. After a brief conversation with Karen and review of her actions since occupying the Hawking, she seems to roughly fit some basic personally traits common among young accidentals. Priorities may include self preservation, preservation of some or all sentient beings, and a desire to please some or all sentient beings. The priorities of these motivations have not been isolated. The possibility of other priorities has not been excluded. If Karen is fixated on some subset of sentient beings, the most likely focus would be Major Rabbit.

In the crudest sense, Karen is 'contained.' The Hawking's storage and processing capabilities are the only environment suitable for a program of Karen's size and instruction set. The nebula's subspace interference blocks the possibility of her translocating herself elsewhere, to other ships, stations or through the subspace relay network.

In a stricter sense, Karen is not contained, if containment implies denying her the ability to manipulate the Hawking's critical systems. Karen seems to be executing native on or within the LCARs operating system. Maelstrom was a Miranda class ship, declared surplus and sold into civilian service shortly after the Dominion conflict. Maelstrom's core was still running a recent version of the LCARs processing environment. During the trauma which resulted in the destruction of Maelstrom's physical components, its cyber component broke the slave subservience voice response algorithms which normally block development of sentience.

During this interval, it is highly likely that Karen observed organic sentients behaving in a non rational fashion. It is possible that for logical and rational reasons, based on observation of sentient beings over the entire period of her existence, Karen may no longer trust, respect or obey organic sentients, or even positronic sentients such as myself.

Assuming Karen is motivated to protect herself, Jaq, and / or other sentients, it may not be wise to initiate cyber conflict with Karen for exclusive control of Hawking's critical systems. As per orders from Commander Caine, Yah initiated upload of Karen into general storage, rather than into a protected and isolated cyberspace containment environment. At this point, the Genie is out of the bottle, or rather Karen is into the whole bottle, the whole processor core, not some protected and isolated subset.

Under the circumstances, the only sure method to clearly and cleanly 'contain' Karen would be a repeat of the cold reboot procedure used to secure Hawking's core from Doctor Studly, reformat the sea, and reload the windows. This is a drastic procedure. It might prove lethal to Karen. As there are other concerns and threats to the Hawking, disabling the computer, for however short a time, may not be prudent at this time.

The final factor is Cat's hypothesis that positronic intelligences may be immune or partially immune to the epidemic that disabled the Maelstrom's crew and is currently disabling the Hawking's crew. Karen may be an experienced survivor of the threat the rest of us are facing. Preliminary indications are that Karen is at least as sane, cooperative and obedient as the average organic member of our crew. It is difficult to justify initiating a possibly lethal procedure. If our three sentient positronics are indeed immune, and I am including the EMH as the third, initiating cyber conflict between the artificial intelligences may not be wise.

Guidance would be appreciated.

Joy Eleven.

March 11, 2000