The Borg from Star Trek

Kenneth Pichler, Jr.
The primary author is the individual who drafted the first version of this section; a section that could have been modified since it was originally published.

The Borg is a fictional alien race that appears as recurring antagonists in the Star Trek franchise. They are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones in a hive mind called the Collective or the hive.

The Borg use a process called assimilation to force other species into the Collective by violent injection of microscopic machines called nanoprobes. The Borg's ultimate goal is "achieving perfection." Aside from being the main threat in First Contact, the Borg play major roles in The Next Generation and the Voyager television series; primarily as an invasion threat to the United Federation of Planets.

On page 10 of Dr. Nick Sousanis' Unflattening there is an uncanny similarity between the Borg and the learning process that we are taught. As depicted in an image on that page, tubes of information shoot out of the mouth of a person talking to students' heads while they are sitting at their desks.

The Queen Borg (professor) in Star Trek is the person putting out information and the students at the desks are receiving the information and then, in turn, will go out and apply it. Although, unlike the actual Borg from Star Trek, the students are not being injected by microscopic machines called nanoprobes, but rather they are being injected with knowledge through talking to "achieve perfection" in school as well as in society.

As students, we are taught from an early age that school is important; that it doesn't matter exactly what we learn or retain. Rather the overall end result is the grade. Sousanis does a great job depicting this resemblance because the students look like robots sitting at their desks while the teacher being the "Queen Borg" is putting knowledge into their heads to try to achieve that overall "perfection."

Another similarity between Unflattening and the Borg is that the Borg never create; they only assimilate. Professors or teachers don't actually create the students but they do cause the students to assimilate.

The last way that Unflattening and the Borg are similar is that the Borg use audio signals to assimilate the person. As people, professors and teachers use audio by speaking because the student is in the "hive" (classroom) to listen and to take in the information that the professor is putting out. As students, we are taught to listen to the professor and that the professor is right all the time. Especially when it comes to the test, we are not taught to think outside the box.

Works Consulted

    "Borg History." Memory Beta. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 May 2015.

    "The Borg." Memory Alpha. N.p., 18 Nov. 1991. Web. 16 May 2015.

    "Borg." Star Trek. N.p., 12 June 1990. Web. 16 May 2015.

    Sousanis, Nick. Unflattening. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2015. Print.

Image from Unflattening (left) and the Borg Unicomplex (right)