Spock’s wise words for today’s network managers

It’s no surprise that many network engineers are also fans of Star Trek. Personally, I have been a Trekkie for as long as I can remember. One of the appealing things about Star Trek is that it pushed the limits of what’s possible. In fact, many technologies we take for granted today were previewed on Star Trek over 50 years ago. Things such as wireless communications, immersive videoconferencing and tablet computers were all used regularly on the Starship Enterprise long before we used them down on Earth.

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This week, the next wave of Star Trek kicked off with “Discovery” airing on CBS. As the dawn of this new era begins, I thought it would be fun to look back at the top seven quotes from Star Trek’s most logical person, Spock, which network managers should embrace. Incidentally, I chose seven because of the Galileo 7 episode, which was Spock’s first command.

7 Spock quotes that apply to network engineers

1. “Computers make excellent servants, but I have no wish to serve under them.” — The Ultimate Computer, Season 2, Episode 24

When Spock said that, he was referring to Dr. Richard Daystrom’s AI, the M5 Multitronic System, running the Enterprise. I know network engineers are facing the reality that machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are coming to the network and coming at warp speed. Technology professionals shouldn’t fear machine learning. Instead embrace it, and use it because that servant can do all the tactical tasks that are holding people back from focusing on strategic initiatives.

2. “Insufficient facts always invite danger.” — Space Seed, Season 1, Episode 22

Kirk was trying to get a theory out of Spock as to where the Botany Bay came from. Instead of guessing with no facts, Spock chose to wait until he had more data. Most seasoned engineers have enough experience to often guess at to what might be causing a problem. Heed Spock’s words, and don’t make a decision based on gut feel. Collect data, analyze it and make decisions based on fact. 

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