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The whole idea of the Borg is that they're in a constant state of assimilation and improvement. However, has there ever been any point in the franchise where the Borg were shown to have become more technologically advanced than they were earlier? Unlike, say, The Federation, I've never gotten the impression that the technology of the Borg has improved between their introduction and any later point in the franchise.

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    good catch, even in all their prequel appearances in Enterprise they seem pretty much as they are throughout basically the entire franchise // the only change that does appear to be tracked in their tech throughout their appearances in the franchise is their warp drive tech // I've not seen the new Picard films yet though.
    – Pelinore
    Aug 22 at 23:02
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    @Pelinore the Borg from Enterprise were from the 24th century, having traveled back in time during the events of First Contact and left deactivated until researchers found them at the start of the episode. We never see 22nd century Borg. Aug 23 at 9:35
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    I think the question misses the mark on the Borg's traits. They don't have the imagination or ingenuity to drastically improve their own technology, if any Borg were to show signs of this individuality, they would be terminated. The Borg's improvements occurred by assimilating other civilizations individuals and technology. The lack of significant improvements to the Borg technology is evidence that they never encountered civilizations with technology better than them. Aug 23 at 14:37
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    The Borg are shown on multiple instances to change shield frequencies or do other things to negate Federation weapons as well as find new ways to penetrate Federation shields mid-battle, which would be forms of technology advancement. They might not be massive leaps, but new information and techniques are still advancement. Aug 23 at 19:54
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    @computercarguy I assumed "adapting to energy frequencies" was a skill they always had (they do it slowly since they're basically space zombies). It's like when a cat learns to open a particular door. That can be a big change; but it's not new in general -- door opening is existing cat technology. Aug 24 at 17:18
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One example that comes to mind is the assimilation tubules. When the Borg are first shown to assimilate Captain Picard in the episode "The Best of Both Worlds", they have to take him over to their ship and carry out a medical procedure. Throughout The Next Generation TV series there is no indication that they have any other means by which to assimilate individuals.

Then in the second TNG movie First Contact the Borg are shown to possess "assimilation tubules", devices that can reach out from the wrist of any Borg drone to inject nearby victims with Borg nanoprobes and assimilate them in a matter of seconds. From this point on drones are a much bigger threat as they can quickly multiply. This goes on to be standard Borg procedure when they return in Star Trek: Voyager.

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    I think this is the more solid answer. This is tech that is fully assimilated and spread out to all the borg, unlike the other answer. Aug 23 at 9:58
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    @WolfieSmith - except that there is no confirmation that this change actually occurred in-universe. This, along with more complicated patterning on their ships, appears to simply have been as a result of better CGI
    – Valorum
    Aug 23 at 11:31
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    @Owen the Borg ship in Enterprise was from the 24th century, and came back during ST:First Contact. Aug 23 at 21:32
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    I agree with @Valorum. I think the tubules were more of a retcon than an in-universe technological advancement. Aug 23 at 22:54
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    @ThePopMachine: Somehow, it's astonishingly easy to forget that the entire idea of the Borg as a mass-assimilating horde was not yet present during TNG and only retconned in as of First Contact. Aug 23 at 23:19
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Although there are various minor instances of the Borg adapting to various efforts made by Picard and Janeway to attack them, a really solid example of technological progress is the Borg's acquisition of the Spatial Trajector from the Sikarians seen in Voyager.

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    Didn't they also acquire tech to assimilate people without the complicated machinery seen in their debut episode?
    – Medinoc
    Aug 23 at 7:50
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    @Medinoc - they appear to have done, but I personally just ascribe it to improved CGI. Certainly it is never mentioned in the shows
    – Valorum
    Aug 23 at 11:29
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The Voyager episode Drone is about a transporter mishap that causes one of Seven's nanoprobes to interact with the Doctor's mobile emitter, a piece of technology from the 29th century. The nanoprobes extrapolate various future technologies and materials from the device and create a significantly more advanced Borg drone than normal in the 24th century. (This drone is sometimes refered to as a "29th century Borg drone", but it's strictly speaking a 24th century Borg drone that has had access to 29th century technology.)

While this is not an example of the Borg developing over time, it does show that they do indeed have the capability to develop over time as they assimilate new technologies and integrate them into drones, should they come across them.

As to why Borg development doesn't seem to happen over the course of the series, here's one possible explanation:

In the Voyager episode Scorpion, it is stated that the Borg don't perform research*; all their knowledge is gained through assimilations of other cultures. As such, major technological improvements would presumably only occur whenever they manage to come across and assimilate a species with some piece of technology more advanced than their own, with is presumably a rare occurrence given how much technology they already have access to. By the 24th century, it's not inconceivable that the Borg development has effectively plateaued.

*) Though this may simply be an assertion on B'elanna's part. Later statements about the Borg performing experiments on Omega seem to contradict this somewhat.

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  • Excellent point. I would have to dig deep in the attic, but i vaguely recall having read something somewhere years and years ago - might have been the First Contact (movie not episode) novelization (but admittedly could easily have been some fanfic) - that this plateau was one of the reasons the Queen had in First Contact in trying to assimilate Data and through him to reassimilate Picard. Because why else would the Borg be interested in the Federation - inferior technology, yet a determination to grow and evolve the Borg are lacking...
    – BMWurm
    Aug 24 at 22:53
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In the TV Series Picard:

Within the captured Borg Cube, Hugh points out several advances to Picard, which have been created since Picard had last seen the Borg tech

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    You could improve this answer by citing one or more specific examples of their improved tech. Posting an exact quote would be beneficial too. Aug 25 at 10:50
  • Thank you for the suggestion. I had recently seen it, but not noticed it referenced above so I felt it should be mentioned. However, when I have checked further, I can see that this is already better answered by @valorum above.
    – MarkA
    Aug 25 at 11:20

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