Is Borg intelligence based on the sum of all the parts (people) in the collective, or is there a base personality that is imprinted on newly assimilated persons?

  • 46
    So this is the reason the Borg never assimilated earth, huh?
    – TLP
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 18:22
  • 9
    My first reaction to this question: This explains why they started losing after assimilating SOME Earthlings... makes ya wonder what would happen if they got all of us.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 21:43
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    I think you're confusing sum with average - if the overall knowledge were a sum, then the collective knowledge could never go down by assimilating a new species... :) Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 0:03
  • 2
    one 15mHZ chip is slow, 10000000 15mhz chip bound together separating a large variety of tasks can be quite fast.
    – Mallow
    Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 5:44
  • 17
    "We are the Borg. We need things. The things that make us go. WE ARE SMART."
    – fluffy
    Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 16:28

5 Answers 5


The Borg only assimilate species that will improve the collective. For example, the Borg do not assimilate Kazon (from Voyager). Likely the Borg would ignore a planet of idiots, or, if they were in some way a potential threat then the Borg would probably destroy them.

As Seven states in Mortal Coil:

SEVEN: The Borg encountered a Kazon colony in the Gand Sector, grid six nine two zero.
NEELIX: Were they assimilated?
SEVEN: Their biological and technological distinctiveness was unremarkable. They were unworthy of assimilation.
NEELIX: I didn't realise the Borg were so discriminating.
SEVEN: Why assimilate a species that would detract from perfection?
NEELIX: Good point. Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm needed in the shuttlebay. Pleasant regenerating.

  • 15
    They might assimilate them if they were especially hardy or strong. There are other measures of usefulness for drones other than intelligence, otherwise, they'd assimilate Vulcans once and then never assimilate another race again... Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 18:03
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    Didn't assimilate the Kazon (despite their supposedly being the "strong" race of their region of space). Bet they would bypass the Pakleds too. [We look for things.]
    – eidylon
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 18:05
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    @ChrisB.Behrens To a degree I agree with you. But they must have a limit on how low (in intelligence) they'll go, otherwise we would see a lot of assimilated animals as shock troops (imagine an army of Borg gorillas). I still think a race of dumb but strong people would be ignored since the cybernetics used in assimilation balance any strength/endurance bonuses, but assimilating a technologically superior race will being that knowledge and technology into the collective.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 18:08
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    @eidylon Right, Pakleds probably would be passed over because they wouldn't add anything to the collective. Pakleds steal technology, thus anything they might bring with them during assimilation would be copied technology with nothing new. Same for the Kazon; all their tech was stolen as well.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 18:10
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    @eidylon Hmmm... The Pakleds are apparently good at deceiving people, sort of. Maybe the Borg would figure out a way to use that?
    – Izkata
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 23:41

I would say: no.

Even if they did assimilate a race of idiots (Xantec suggests they wouldn't, and with good cause), Borg intelligence is actually based on the sum of acquired knowledge and its logical application, not the people that make up the race assimilated.

As knowledge is abstracted from the host race, there may be a collective dip in accuracy while the new 'knowledge' is analyzed and integrated with existing, however I believe (and I can't think of any canon that supports or contradicts it), that the Borg would throw out (or re-categorize) any misinformation that counters valid knowledge.

  • Good points on the "what if".
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 18:12
  • 1
    Interesting. Otherwise you could defeat the Borg by making them believe that really stupid and undeveloped races (like the Kazon or Tribbles) are massively intelligent and resourceful, thereby polluting the Borg collective intelligence.
    – bitmask
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 18:40

The answer must be No. The Borg take the best of both worlds, not an average.

  • 1
    I'm going to watch that episode when I get home. Sounds awesome. Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 20:10
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    And sometimes they take 6 of 9
    – horatio
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 20:45

The collective has the sum of the species, not the mean. So even a planet of idiots would have something to add to the collective. Even if it may be a small amount.

They tend not to assimilate people who cannot add anything to their knowledge, whether they are stupid or clever. It is not the absolute level of intelligence of the assimilated, it is whether they can improve the race in some way.

  • 1
    I think we normally assume that an IQ of 100 is the zero level. But I believe that everyone, even those who are stupid, have something that they can contribute. And as for your last comment, yes, normally me ;) Commented Mar 17, 2012 at 9:40
  • 1
    E.g. look at everything Forrest Gump accomplished with an IQ of 76. "Run Forrest! Run!"
    – ahsteele
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 20:59

The Borg Collective is essentially a huge Beowulf Cluster - a massively parallel array of low power computers to build a highly capable mainframe class computer system.

At present, the best supercomputers in place are outclassed by a cluster of videogame consoles... for a tiny fraction of the cost.

The Borg makes use of their synaptic processing - in other words, their brains - as a tool for massive computing. Plus, it augments their brains with linear computing via cybernetic interfaces. Plus, it dominates their behavior by implants being able to override the motor system of the brain. We know from Voyager that the mind is still present, and somewhat active, but subjugated during the drone's activity cycles, especially if resisting the collective in any way.

The individual idiotic individuals have to have some survival traits - even if it's only being able to breed quickly - and if dumb enough to be individually a liability, will be used as controlled drones for high risk tasks, completely bypassing their higher brain non-motor functions. Even so, bodies provide a resource. So think of them as people using old off-brand 80286 based computers running a lame version of linux... and being happy... then the big bad borg botnets them and viruses them so that the keyboard isn't used, just the video cards and printers, and the off-switch doesn't work.

Also - keep in mind - YOU have been personally botnetted any time you use a recaptcha authentication... one of the two is a known word; the other is one that recaptcha's OCR didn't recognize. You don't have to be bright to do that task, you just have to have synaptic symbol recognition, which is really hard to implement on computers, but is inherent in humans, and quite probably, also in any other social tool-using language-using species.

Even the Pakled.

And I think I saw a Borgified Pakled in the background on an ep of Voyager...

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