In 2017, Star Trek made an aggressive trek back onto the screen with the release of Star Trek: Discovery. The show orbits around the misadventures of the tragic hero Michael Burnham. Her actions lead to disgrace and war. In the first season, the Discovery is led by Captain Lorca. Burnham was previously convicted of mutiny during the Battle at the Binary Stars when she defied her captain in an misguided attempt to avoid a war. The fray destroyed the USS Shenzhou along with its captain. Burnham is rescued by the Discovery en route to prison. Later it is through impeccable logic that she defuses the war by locating a critical weakness in the Klingon’s defense. The story is about her efforts to make things right.
In the next season, Spock is on the run from the law for an alleged triple murder. Burnham and the crew get involved in the manhunt on account of his relationship with Michael. Spock is her estranged brother. Later it is discovered that an advanced AI beamed aboard the Discovery from an anomaly. The AI is leading a Nazi-ish charge to exterminate all organic life from the galaxy and replace it with pure machine life. The AI subsequently hijacks control over the automated command system of Starfleet and the Discovery itself. The Discovery crew further uncover that the Red Angel that began this trek is a traveler from the future. They are able to briefly capture the Angel and reproduce the time portal using a time crystal. The portal proves to be essential in discarding the AI into the distant future.
In Discovery, Spock is accused of murdering three staff members at a hospital. These murders spark a Federation wide manhunt for justice and later the involvement of the starship Discovery. During the investigation it is uncovered that the surveillance video implicating Spock is a fake, but the technology is very real.
You may have already encountered deepfakes in the 2016 Star Wars: Rogue One movie where Peter Cushing reprises his role as Grand Moff Tarkin. Peter Cushing has been deceased for over 25 years.
Deepfake crimes are a thing now. They are not as dramatic as framing Spock for murder, but people are already getting scammed out of money. Sometime in July of last year, a UK energy company worker was swindled into sending about $220,000 to a criminal imitating the voice of his CEO on the phone. The scam was only discovered when the criminal attempted the shakedown a second time and the worker called the CEO for verification. Vox said that the development of quality deepfakes threatens to break our concept of memory.
You can further manipulate the narrative with your own deepfakes. Github provides a platform for engineering videos. The application is compatible with Linux and PC. You are also recommended to have knowledge of video editors like Adobe After Effects.
In Starfleet, command decisions are too convoluted to be decided by a single officer. In the effort of improving strategy, Starfleet developed an AI to analyze the situation and provide recommendations. This Control is under the supervision of the sketchy Section 31 department of Starfleet. This only causes further problems when the pure AI from the anomaly hijacks Section 31 for its own nefarious purposes.
The Control is already here. In recent years Amazon has enlisted machines to supervise the army of workers assigned to the packaging and delivery of your orders. The algorithms continuously surveil the movements of the staff and time their performance like a drill sergeant. Fast employees get free swag. Slow employees get fired. Sometimes the fast employees get injured.
GPS time dilation in modern communications
In Star Trek, the Red Angel travels from the future to leave clues for the crew of the Discovery. Over the season these clues uncover the existence of the AI and the gameplay for defeating it.
Your cellular phone is a time machine of a kind. Every time you message or call, your phone sends a signal to a cellular tower. The signal is a combination of microwave frequencies that are dynamically selected from your handsets microprocessor for the best transmission. The signal only takes nanoseconds to arrive at the antenna where it is amplified, demodulated, mixed, and converted back into a digital signal for transmission on the internet.
The only problem with this arrangement is that perfect clock synchronization is needed for triangulating your position between cellular towers. Imperfect location knowledge can lead to lost messages. The clocks running the towers are generally synchronized by signals coming from the Global Positioning System (GPS).
The GPS system is a network of 31 satellites in orbit around the Earth. Each spacecraft is a flying atomic clock orbiting at about 12,600 miles above the planet. The clocks inside the craft synchronize the Universal Time Coordinate (UTC) signal that is triangulated by the chip in your phone for its location. This location is pivotal towards providing reliable service.
This plan comes apart when time dilation from Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity gets involved. Time dilation can cause the atomic clocks to speed up by up to a millisecond. The US Naval Observatory manages the master GPS clock that periodically updates the network.