“In a way there are kinda two competing strands in history of Star Trek in terms of looking at computers and artificial intelligences — although that’s not what they would have been calling them in the original series — and one that was especially prevelant in the original series was this idea of computers being dangerous. There’s one episode where there’s this computer called Nomad, that believes it’s mission is to sterilize the human race, expunge it from creation because it’s imperfect. So you’ve got sort of like doomsday computers and mad computers and that’s a common trope in the late sixties and early seventies where this super mad computer was going crazy, taking over the world and killing all the humans. You see that over and over coming through Terminator and all kinds of cautionary tales right up to the present moment.”
DEADLINE: OnStar Trek: Voyager there was also the hologram doctor who had a prickly, exasperated personality. What kind of A.I. personality inhabits your story?
“But that time with Patrick as a resource and as a very willing and literate resource, I think its going to make the show. It’s going to take it to another level. Just to have him participating in the way he participated? Amazing. He understands drama and he understands character and can bring to bear on that all of his experience doing Shakespeare and Beckett and everything in between. Plus he’s incredibly sweet and funny and charming and surprisingly humble and modest. He’s a wonderful collaborator and I can’t say enough about the amazing and unexpected benefit of the process.”
“When someone has a ‘sir’ in front of their name you anticipate there might be a certain amount of loftiness, inaccessibility, whatever, but he’s such a genial, thoughtful and curious guy. He asks a lot of questions about you and your life. He’s a sweetheart. He’s also really, really smart. I’ve had the experience over the years of meeting actors who play intelligent characters and sometimes it can be a little bit of a disappointment when you meet the actor to discover that they aren’t as brilliant as the character they portray. But Patrick? He’s really literate, thoughtful and intelligent. He’s learned a lot about drama in the course of his long career as an actor.”
CHABON: “I think that it actually might be something more exciting than that. Something that is not so much a halfway point between one old medium and another old medium but something that is actually a new medium itself. We have this tendency to think of the kinds of stories that we consume — or the form of the stories that we consume — as having this intrinsic, plate-tectonic nature. We think of them as if they’ve always existed. But actually almost every kind of storytelling that we consume is a product of a particular kind of technology one way or another.”
“What we’re starting to see now — and I think Alex is right about it — is kind of a new medium emerging. It has constraints of its own and we are just starting to feel our way through them as artists working to the limits of those constraints and figuring out what they are as we go. It has possibilities neither film or television were able to provide. Serialized storytelling with budgets that are approaching the budgets of feature films. It’s giving us an ability to tell stories in a way they’ve never been able to tell them before and that’s exciting. To sit down and contemplate that you can tell as full and as intricate a story — with as many characters — as you can in a novel. That’s not something you could do in film or [traditional] television and something you couldn’t do until very recently. It changes the way you think about the art.”