The Ethics Of The Jurati Collective

(⚠️ Star Trek: Picard S2 spoilers)

Once again, a season of Star Trek: Picard introduces an interesting concept with moral questions and gives me no faith it will be properly discussed or acknowledged going forward.

Jurati's proposal was to build a new Collective out of people in distress who have no one else to save them. The show seems to treat that as good...but really only because it is more voluntary than the forced assimilation by the Borg up to that point.

But how voluntary is a choice you make when it is the only one available to you? Jurati's proposal did not sound like dispensing the “no strings attached” help the Federation provides, where they will fix your geomagnetic compensators, drop you some dilithium, and leave you be until/unless you later approach them after deciding you want to be a part of what they do—and can leave again if you feel it no longer acts in your best interests. It sounds like a cult some would join in a moment of desperation when they have no one else to turn to and then not feel they could ever leave—joining the Collective is not easily or entirely reversible, and on top of that, most of the known galaxy being prejudiced against xBs only increases the chances they would run back to the support network they have: the Collective.

Obviously I expect none of those moral questions to be addressed in S3 any more than S2 addressed the S1 finale, where the writers took a man who had multiple traumatic experiences that involved replacing parts of himself with cybernetic components, transferred his consciousness into a synthetic body, and then decided there were no moral or psychological issues to explore with that and they could basically act as though it never happened.

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