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In the Babylon-5 episode, The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, a propaganda technician named Daniel makes up stories showing Delenn, Sheridan, Garibaldi, and Franklin as power-hungry megalomaniacs who use non-human races to harm humans.

Daniel makes holograms of Delenn, Sheridan, Garibaldi, and Franklin for propaganda. These holograms are based on historical data and recorded memories of the original crew, with the forged records overriding their personalities. Sheridan is programmed to make an impassioned speech about conquering Earth before soon-to-be massacred prisoners and Dr. Franklin is programmed to act out a scene showing him talking clinically about horrific experiments involving human children and alien organs. Before Garibaldi is reprogrammed, he stalls by getting Daniel to reveal his faction's plans to launch a sneak attack on civilian population centers as the start of an all-out war. Garibaldi, who is aware that he is a computer program, hacks into the computer network and broadcasts the conversation. Before Daniel can turn off the holograms, an alarm sounds, indicating an imminent missile attack. Daniel, knowing that pro-Alliance forces have launched their own attack, leaves moments before a nuclear explosion envelops the anti-Alliance base.

Why would Daniel believe Garibaldi? Since the holograms are made from stored memories, couldn't Daniel just search through the memories to determine if Garibaldi is lying?

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There's a few things going on here, notably that Daniel only has a few hours (maybe a day or two at the most) before the pre-emptive strike takes place.

Daniel: Our attack fleet will be leaving within the hour.

Spending his time rummaging through the hologram's memories (even if such a thing was directly possible) would probably be prohibitively wasteful of time, especially when it could offer him useful information directly


On top of that, they've downloaded data from a wide variety of sources in an attempt to build a realistic 'core personality'. It's fair to assume that the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A fully sentient hologram may be able to access memories and organize information that aren't available any other way.

Daniel: To determine if the psychohistorical research has been thorough phase two will begin with the control holograms working with the actual psychological makeups of the subjects in question.


Oh, and the "missiles approaching" alarm just sounded. That seems pretty solid proof that Garibaldi isn't bluffing about having broadcast their conversation to their enemies.

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    "Spending his time rummaging through the hologram's memories (even if such a thing was directly possible) would probably be prohibitively wasteful of time ..." That's speculative. I don't recall anything in the episode saying it would take too much time to search the memories. And if a computer can search the memories enough to make a realistic personality in seconds, then a computer could search the memories for essential facts just as easily. – RichS Mar 12 '17 at 15:48
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    "A fully sentient hologram may be able to access memories and organise information that aren't available any other way." As I mentioned in the above comment, if a computer can search memories fast enough to make a convincing personality in seconds, it can search for vital facts too just as fast. It's hard to make a case that there isn't any other way available. – RichS Mar 12 '17 at 15:51
  • From the point that he accuses it of lying, to the point that the alarm goes off is only a few seconds, hardly enough time to do anything. – Valorum Mar 12 '17 at 15:58
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    A few seconds is hardly enough time to do anything? It was plenty of time for the computer to create dialogue in just a few seconds when verbally ordered to do so by Daniel. I'm just not going with the "not enough time" premise of your answer. – RichS Mar 12 '17 at 16:19
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    Perhaps the answer needs tweaked a bit. What if Daniel is merely a β¯? He might not know enought about how the holograms are generated to be able to do that sort of troubleshooting. – can-ned_food Mar 15 '17 at 5:40

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