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In the TOS episode 'The Ultimate Computer', we see the problems with the M5 unit by Dr Daystrom. I know in TNG, and even VOY, there is still need for a crew aboard the ship, but is there any further reference to what becomes of the M5? Like, is an M6 ever developed or something or is this sort of thing ditched and all computer developments focused on improving human-computer interfaces, as seen with the LCARS system in TNG onwards?

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    I believe that a spur was taken off the M5 into Wales, and the M6 toll road was closed by 2120 as a horrendous mistake. (thumbs up any brits out there :-)) – Steven Wood Mar 19 '14 at 9:52
  • @StevenWood I came in here to make a similar joke. :D – Moogle Mar 19 '14 at 14:56
  • @StevenWood - Don't try and close the M5! "This roadway...MUST...SURVIVE". – Oldcat Mar 19 '14 at 22:39
  • Related, maybe dupe given what the M5 was for? Why don't Starfleet vessels have intelligent on-board computers? – Izkata Mar 19 '14 at 23:52
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Within the Trek TV canon there are no further mentions of the M5 computer beyond the episode "The Ultimate Computer".


Within the various EU books it's mentioned pretty regularly;

In Star Trek - New Frontier : Gods Above - As a (literal) textbook example of why engram-based computers are a bad thing.

In Star Trek : Next Generation - A Rock and a Hard Place - As justification for not allowing Mr Data to take control of the ship.

In "Strange New Worlds 6" there is an entire story called 'The Soft Room' which features M5.1, the predecessor of the M5 computer. The main plot revolves around the M5.1 taking control of a Romulan research facility and trying to find a method of escape.

The sequel to that story can be found in Strange New Worlds 8 in the story 'Concurrence'. The M5.2 infects a colony of Mudds Androids and plots to take over the Federation.

  • I would have thought that A Fistful of Datas would have been evidence enough for why not to let Data control a ship. – Xantec Mar 19 '14 at 17:42
  • @xantec - They eventually make him captain. – Valorum Mar 19 '14 at 17:51
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There is no mention of a successor to the M5 ever being developed, though I do recall a novel (which I can't find a reference to without remembering the name, unfortunately) where Daystrom's work is continued by a certain Dr Soong. In a non-canon novel, The Rift, Richard Daystrom invents the Holodeck, but otherwise he personally seems to have faded into obsurity after the M5 incident.

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It appears that duotronics and multitronics were almost entirely abandoned in favour of isolinear circuitry, however, according to the Memory Alpha article, multitronics are still in use to a limited extent, forming part of The Doctor's holomatrix (some kind of software-defined variant, I would presume) and are also used for a type of neural interface.

  • In the TNG episode with the Sheliak, the woman Data befriends asks if his pathways are duotonic. That settlement was only two generations old, so duotronics seem to have been only recently replaced by isolinear circuits. – Xantec Mar 19 '14 at 17:40
  • @Xantec - "Two generations old" must be using an unusual definition of "generation". The colony was somewhere around 90 years old. The (almost certainly warp) colony ship disappeared in 2274 and the colony was rediscovered in 2366. – Compro01 Mar 19 '14 at 22:01
  • Gosheven makes the point that his grandfather is buried on the mountain, surveying the path for the aqueduct. I had assumed that he wasn't born on the planet and was one of the original colonists, the need for water being a primary concern. That would make Gosheven's father the first generation, and Gosheven the second. But I'll entertain the possibility that his grandfather was born on the planet though. – Xantec Mar 19 '14 at 22:31

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