In (VOY: "Collective"), Seven of Nine retrieves the children's names from Borg's assimilation profiles. Why would the Borg keep such individual-related profiles? How do they manage to record such profiles when a mass assimilation of billions is carried? At what stage of assimilation do they access one's biography and record it?

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    Hell, Google does it. Their capabilities are vastly inferior to Borg. Jan 4, 2014 at 23:11

4 Answers 4


The Borg are information addicts

The Borg is a cybernetic hive mind/superorganism whose sole purpose is the pursuit of perfection. It does this through assimilation (in particular, of knowledge, technology and biology).

So when a species or population is assimilated, they are injected with self-replicating nanoprobes that infect the host organism. Upon infection, one of the immediate functions of Borg nanoprobes is the construction of a neural transceiver which links the host individual up to the hive mind—a virtual network of the minds of all Borg drones connected via subspace (sort of like a distributed computing cluster), resulting in a single collective consciousness.

The more species and populations are added to the collective, the more advanced/intelligent/powerful the Borg become. Although drones are robbed of their individuality, their creativity, their personality, etc., the experiences and knowledge of each drone feed the Borg's ability to improve itself, to adapt to threats and to strategize.

This is how and why the Borg assimilate. So it wouldn't make much sense for the Borg to just toss out the valuable knowledge and experiences of their drones — which is arguably a far greater prize than the physical technology they capture.

The Borg isn't interested in wanton destruction and much prefer efficiency over waste, so you'd expect them to save and catalog every bit of information they come across.

The Borg cluster has plenty of storage

As to how it's possible for the Borg to retain the knowledge of every individual they assimilate using the brains of every individual they assimilate? Well, just because you obtain a billion hard drives and shuffle the data around between all the hard drives and re-organize the data, doesn't mean the volume of the data has changed. Remember, the Borg don't really synthesize original knowledge on their own. They are almost slavishly dependent on assimilation for acquiring new knowledge and only recombine or make incremental improvements on assimilated research/technology (e.g. the Omega particle).

And that's before you even take into account the cybernetic enhancements that Borg drones receive, which allows Seven of Nine to become possibly the most advanced/intelligent (or at the very least the most knowledgeable) human alive in the 24rd century (with the exception of One and Reginald Barclay while he was under the influence of Cytherian control).


I suspect it's more of a side-effect of assimilation, than anything else.

In the flashbacks in VOY 6x02, Survival Instinct, we see 4 drones all start to remember who they are once they're disconnected from the Collective. Their memories weren't ever erased, just suppressed.

When a drone is assimilated, they're given a cortical implant, which allows their mind to interface directly with Borg technology. The cortical implant can also store neural patterns, as seen when a damaged vinculum started to bring those personalities to the surface of Seven's mind in VOY 5x07, Infinite Regress.

The personalities Seven experienced had to come from somewhere, either long-term storage in Seven's cortical implant or directly from the vinculum itself. Either way, it would seem that the minds of assimilated drones are stored in computer systems, which means their memories should in some way be accessible from Borg terminals.

The specific information about their names probably wasn't purged due to the fluid nature of the Collective. It is made up of the minds of billions of drones - selectively eliminating memories could have further repercussions inside the mind of that particular drone, making its contribution to the hive mind less than it otherwise could have been - and there's no way of knowing for certain that the information might not be useful later, such as the connection between "Picard" and "Locutus".

Finding, classifying, and then erasing irrelevant information would also become extra effort expended for no real benefit - a drone is a drone, not an individual. The name is irrelevant, whether or not it is remembered.


Because it makes sense to have independent records.

Seven of Nine mentioned in the episode with the Vuadwar that the collective's memories from ~900 years ago are extremely fragmented, and it's possible that this problem is also present in other eras of data as well. The Borg know this is a problem. So it makes perfect sense form their perspective to use some forms of external storage, especially if it's information you don't need very frequently, such as assimilation data of someone you already assimilated, backups, etc.

  • While true, this doesn't really explain why the Borg would even bother with saving that particular data: who those individuals used to be is of no importance to the Collective.
    – BMWurm
    May 25, 2015 at 16:23
  • @BMWurm: Really? Who those individuals used to be is literally the reason they were assimilated in the first place. May 25, 2015 at 19:04
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Is it though? What their profession was, what (to the Borg) useful knowledge they had accumulated, for certain, but their names, date of birth and other personal information is literally irrelevant to the Borg.
    – BMWurm
    May 25, 2015 at 19:20
  • @BMWurm: My date of birth is pretty irrelevant to absolutely everybody, yet I still have to use it regularly for various reasons. Getting rid of knowledge for the sake of it is pointless. May 25, 2015 at 19:27
  • Some of the info might be useful. For example, if a large number of drones keep die dying at a relatively young age of unknown causes, that info could be used. Collective: "Hey! All of those drones were Betazoids! I guess the info we got from Locutus was right! That species IS useless!" Also, certain species work better for certain drone types. Example, being queen is a hard task, so you must find a drone who is up to it. Checking the species of a drone would be a good idea. May 26, 2015 at 16:13

Information is a raw resource, think of it like an ore.

Ore on its own is pretty useless until it is refined, even then refined Ore is still useless until....a use for it can be found but that use is not always going to be found in any decent time frame.

Just like ore, information takes time to refine and to structure but for a species like the borg that is less of an issue, they are adept at holding information, indeed it is what they do best.

Time is a concept the borg and any other species treat very differently, whilst an individual may look at a long time being their lifetime the borg may think of the passage of time on a much larger scale.

So why store information that on the face of it seems irrelevant to a species who purge individuality?

Well I would like to think the borg do not know themselves what to do with the information themselves but because they can they simply hold on to it just in case the information becomes relevant in the future.

Let us say they assimilate person a, 500 years go by and they assimilate person b, person b has information on relevant technology, specifically they know of an individual with knowledge of the omega particle.

it so happens that person b has a name to this individual, turns out that individual is a descendant of person a, if they removed all the information on person a's previous life they will not be able to leverage that information to achieve a standing, long term goal.

This is a stretch I know but i am trying to demonstrate that information is not always readily useful, patterns are not readily known and so on so forth, the borg know this, so regardless of what the information is they keep hold of it because they can do this easily.

  • Is there any indication this is the case? Or is this just speculation?
    – amflare
    Dec 14, 2017 at 18:29

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