In Star Trek: Discovery, the AI "Control" was the second season's antagonist.

But what were its motives?

I've just re-watched all three seasons and I can't see any explanation as to why Control decided to murder all life in the galaxy.

Am I missing something?

Was there really no explanation for its motives?

That seems a little odd, to have it just be evil

1 Answer 1


Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman explained Control thusly:

Control is an artificial intelligence program that was designed by Section 31 that helps them do threat analysis. It is supposed to help you come up with the best possible solution that saves the most amount of lives and achieves the outcome you are trying to achieve.

In its analysis, it sort of realizes that organic life and human and alien inability to fully come together is inefficient, and that the best way to proceed is to eliminate all organic life. It won’t be relying on anything we organic creatures need and it will be an evolutionary step.

This is similar to AI themes in other scifi properties but in ST:Discovery the focus over several episodes is on Control's attempts to acquire the Sphere data and very little explanation of Control's previous motivation and evolution.

  • I forget what type of algorithm that is, it's one of the proposed dangers of strong-ish AI. It doesn't quite work in this scenario, a more accurate outcome would be the perfect authoritarian. A machine that removes all liberty to prevent us from ever hurting each other. I suppose eradicating all sentient life could be seen as a solution for preventing war?
    – RoboJ1M
    Sep 30, 2021 at 21:35
  • I still can't remember what this type of algorithm is called, but building an AI could lead to the 'Paperclip apocalypse': voxeu.org/article/ai-and-paperclip-problem
    – RoboJ1M
    Sep 30, 2021 at 21:39
  • I guess the question is, is Control a strong-AI without the sphere data. And how did it come to the conclusion that it has to destroy life to save it. With the paperclip AI, it realises that in order to make everything into paperclips, it must protect itself from being switched off. Hence, war with humanity to protect its paper clip mission. But war with all life in order to prevent itself from being switched off so that it can save all life doesn't make sense, it's an infinite loop.
    – RoboJ1M
    Sep 30, 2021 at 21:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.