Never Heard of Star Trek’s Borg?

Borg_Locutus_LoseyAt Legal Tech in New York Craig Ball, one of my most avid readers, kept telling me privately, and slyly during one of our panels together, that most people under 50 (40?) have never heard of the Borg. At one event he asked everyone to raise their hand if they knew who the Borg were. Of course, I don’t write for most people, I write for you, part of a very esteemed group of highly skilled and very cultured e-discovery professionals. But, the show of hands at Legal Tech, or rather lack of same, convinced me that some of you may be a bit confused by my many analogies here to the Borg. It is possible that you do not know about the Star Trek Borg, much less Locutus.

You do not really need to know about this famous Star Trek villian in the Next Generation and Voyager, in order to understand that my reference to Borg here is intended to refer to a type of machine learning (CAR or TAR) search procedure, one that relies on random selection and fully-automated processes. I prefer a multimodal hybrid approach, where human judgment is utilized to  train and supplement the machine learning, and full reliance is not place on the computer. But, if you read this blog, you already know that. Still, you may not know and fear (and respect) the evil Borg as I do. So while I am busy this weekend dreaming up and writing the final episode to my nine-part SciFi Saga, Journey into the Borg Hive, here are a few fun YouTube videos I dug up. They will give background to Borg neophytes,  or provide a good refresher for long time Star Trek fans like me. Enjoy!

There are a million more like this on YouTube. Also suggest you buy some of the Star Trek tv series reruns and the many great Trek movies. I for one cannot wait for Into Darkness, the new Star Trek movie (trailer below) due out this summer. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may inspire one or two new Star Trek analogies, both here and throughout the e-discovery universe. Electronic discovery is the final frontier of the law, a speciality where everyday we do the seemingly impossible and boldly go where no man has gone before.

9 Responses to Never Heard of Star Trek’s Borg?

  1. Ralph,

    Your Borg story seems to conflate two strains of Borg. One strain, which I’ll call the O-Strain, uses only random training examples. The other strain, which I’ll call the E-Strain, starts with random training examples, but then selects its own examples going forward. In the first few episodes, I thought you were dealing with the O-strain, but in later ones it seemed you were dealing with a peculiar cross between O and E.

    I’m not sure that either of these strains is truly Borg-like. A true Borg would be opportunistic, like the R-strain, happy to assimilate the fruits of your ad hoc searches.

    G

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  2. […] This is a continuation of Journey into the Borg Hive: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven and Eight of a SciFi Saga. This series is about a legal search project set sometime in the not too distant future. For a look at fifty years from now check out A Day in the Life of a Discovery Lawyer in the Year 2062: a Science Fiction Tribute to Ray Bradbury. For a bunch of videos on who and what the Borg are, see Never Heard of Star Trek’s Borg? […]

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  3. Ralph Losey says:

    I already changed one of the videos. Added First Contact movie trailer and removed the slide show with bad music.

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  4. […] For those of you who do not know who the Borg are, much less their hive, that is not really necessary to enjoy the story, but it wouldn’t hurt either. You might want to watch a bunch of videos on who and what the Borg are, at Never Heard of Star Trek’s Borg? […]

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  5. […] I usually refer to this method as the Borg approach, after the infamous Star Trek villains. See: Never Heard of Star Trek’s Borg? This method is used by many predictive coding software systems. It contrasts with the hybrid […]

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  6. […] I usually refer to this method as the Borg approach, after the infamous Star Trek villains. See: Never Heard of Star Trek’s Borg? This method is used by many predictive coding software systems. It contrasts with the hybrid […]

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  7. […] Thinking of the scene in Wrath of Khan where Spock utters these fateful words nearly brings a tear to my eye, no doubt it did for the plaintiffs here too. It was a warning shot that they were about to be phaser blasted, or as lawyers often say these days, bench slapped. The first paragraph of the opinion gives a great summary of the plaintiffs, copyright trolls all, and includes a reference to my favorite Star Trek villains, The Borg: […]

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  8. […] Thinking of the scene in Wrath of Khan where Spock utters these fateful words nearly brings a tear to my eye, no doubt it did for the plaintiffs here too. It was a warning shot that they were about to be phaser blasted, or as lawyers say these days, bench slapped. The first paragraph of the opinion gives a great summary of the plaintiffs, Ferengi all, and includes a reference to my favorite Star Trek villains, The Borg: […]

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