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During my watch of this series (which had several 'holes' in it)… one in particular nagged at me.

Why did the hosts need human labour?

For what is essentially an AI alien species that handles things through massive automation, you'd think they would have the ability to create fully automated system that would be able to do the work on the moon at the factory and mine radioactive materials without losing large numbers of biological organisms (which seems excessively wasteful).

Why bother with humans at all?

From a biological or resource point of view, humans had nothing to offer to the hosts. The universe is teeming with vast swaths of what are probably uninhabited star systems where they could easily come in and use asteroids (which are probably far richer in resources the hosts require ranging from weapon construction to creating building blocks for making more of automated machines to do the tasks they want or need).

The third season started elaborating that the hosts intend on using humans in some way to inhabit them… which seems… reckless. There is nothing in regards to biology that automation cannot handle (especially one coming from a synthetic alien species that has the ability to travel light-years through space in large ships).

I mean seriously, even in real life, automation is already thousands of times better, faster and more accurate than humans in every single field (creativity was demonstrated it can be automated years ago, similarly so with repetitive and specialised work). So, I find it 'suspicious' that these aliens would need humans at all as a viable 'labour'.

If their numbers are low population wise and the whole reason for transferring themselves into humans would be followed by biological reproduction, etc… they could upload those new people (biological hosts) into new synthetic Hosts (essentially make more of themselves and increase their population-size).

But still, that (again) doesn't necessarily keep track. A single AI system could easily control vast number of ships, drones, etc. (whatever really) remotely, so even if there are only several hundred Hosts (orbs), they could literally build and control practically limitless amount of machines (ships, robots, construction systems, etc.).

Similarly, if their orbs contain what is their 'consciousness'… why not simply make many digital copies of each and allow each of them to become their own 'individual' (for lack of better term) by exposing them to different stimuli virtually? An algorithm can play through hundreds of years of gaming virtually until it becomes proficient (in the real world only a day would pass – for the AI, its hundreds of years).

I mean, any kind of limitations these 'species' supposedly have, the writers didn't necessarily thought through properly.

Could they be technologically inferior to their enemies? Sure thing, but an AI system such as that would be incredibly adaptive and would learn in nano-seconds (probably less given how much more advanced these aliens are supposed to be) what would take a biological organism years, decades or centuries. In essence, they should have been able to learn and adapt to such a degree that in just a short time frame, they'd be able to find and use a weakness in their enemies technology… or probably even match (if not downright surpass it).

I find the scifi writers continuously create some kind of 'limitations' to AI that already in the real world simply don't apply. Is it just poorly thought out or intentional to make the show work with humans caught in the middle?

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  • Majority of Scifi is lacking in proper understanding of actual science or for that matter what real life automation is already capable of (especially if you apply the premise that science and technology in real life already advance exponentially... for a race of synthetics such as the Hosts, this would also apply).
    – Deks
    Apr 13, 2020 at 22:30
  • Sure, but if the goal was to just become an AI species, there's really no need to go anywhere or invade anything. You just build a solar powered thingy and stick it in orbit.
    – Valorum
    Apr 13, 2020 at 22:35

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