Self-recording, Well-programmed, Emergency Doctor Entity EMH Plugin

Maintainer

Larry Garfield

Primary Designers

Jeremy Friedman

Larry Garfield

Original Designers

Jeremy Friedman

Larry Garfield

Revision History
Revision 1 2 October 1999

Approved by Engineering Director Nathan Miller


Table of Contents

Description

Description

The EMH Mark I and EMH Mark II had been in service for some time when certain members of Starfleet began to voice strong objections to the system. Although they applauded the concept of the EMH, the interface system was significantly lacking. The EMH Mark I suffered from the bedside manner of a brick, and the EMH Mark II, while friendlier, was far too flamboyant to be useful. One of the most vocal critics of the EMH personality interface routines was then-Lieutenant (junior-grade) Andriss Mardall of the USS Alliance. After several run-ins with the Alliance EMH Mark I program, Mardall decided to take it upon himself to try and improve upon the system. With the blessing of his captain, Mardall began around Stardate 98051.2 looking into alternate interface systems that could be added to the existing medical subroutines.

Mardall's research led him to Nyetscape Communications, makers of the famous, and sometimes infamous, GORBI AI system for the Trafalgar-class Destroyers. Of special interest was how Nyetscape had been able to port the GORBI interface onto an existing system with the BORIS Starbase OS, allowing for the continued use of existing hardware and databases. Mardall brought a formal plan to Nyetscape Communications, asking for their support and assistance with the project. In the beginning, Nyetscape was unsure of both the possibility of success for the project, and the sanity of the designer. However, when shown definitive plans for the project, they were reassured. Mardall's dream had conquered even the legendary Russian pessimism.

Lt. Mardall enlisted the aid of then- Lt. Cmdr. Murri Kep of the USS Montgomery, who had worked on the original GORBI AI system while doing an internship with Nyetscape at Starfleet Academy. In addition, many production designers from GORBI did research into developing the product, those that could be brought back from their early retirements on Risa. At this point, the official name for the program (the Self-recording, Well-programmed, Emergency Doctor Entity), as the acronym SWEDE was introduced. Work continued, but was fraught with difficulties. To quote Lt. Mardall, "The original problem involved the terrible bedside manner of the EMH. This problem is proving difficult to solve."

For four days, Mardall locked himself in his quarters (eating nothing but replicated Andorian Tuber Root), and searched through the several hundred years of voice files in the computer database, hoping to discover the perfect voice. Many famous figures almost "got the job," historical and otherwise. Some examples include: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States; Bugs Bunny, famous late-20th-century cartoon character, Harrison Ford, popular actor; Mark Twain, 19th-century author; and of course, Bond. James Bond. However, none of these seemed to be quite appropriate for SWEDE. Mardall even briefly toyed with the voice of the legendary murderer, Jack the Ripper! After that, he continued searching, checking even the oddest references. Finally, he discovered some damaged and extremely antiquated records from late 20th century Earth tucked away in the personal archives of some friends on Earth. They were of the TV (television, a primitive method of data viewing on Earth) show called The Muppets. In the end, a character on this show, 'The Swedish Chef', was chosen, due to his light, humorous tone, and the obvious relation to the acronym SWEDE.

The SWEDE system, like the BORIS system before it, installed as an overlay to the existing EMH program. Relying on the existing medical databases and subroutines, SWEDE overwrote the personality algorithms and interface methods while leaving the underlying code intact. Inaddition to a new personality and vocal system, the visual interface was replaced as well. The traditional bald Starfleet doctor was replaced with a recreation of the same character on which the SWEDE's vocal patterns were modeled. The final image contained the same beady eyes, giant hat, and perverse smile as its namesake, which added to the jovial atmosphere created by the vocal feedback system. To encourage starships to upgrade, the SWEDE system included a new Adaptive Announcement Algorithm (AAA). The standard EMH Mark I and Mark II interfaces both used a standard "Please state the nature of the medical emergency" message upon activation. In order to add to the more personable style that SWEDE represented, the system was programmed with the ability to assess the situation at startup and adjust it's welcome message accordingly. In addition, during operation the SWEDE system can asses the user's state of mind and adjusts it's conduct accordingly, varrying the level of blood spurting depending on the tollerance of the patient in question.

Admittedly, this unusual voice interface system alarmed patients when tested, but as Nameless Lieutenant (j.g.) #84 reported, "Oh, it was great. I mean, sure he had a strange accent, but there was some kind of reassurance in knowing that you were being taken care of by a guy who originally cooked for a living, and badly, at that!" It was later discovered that the Lt. (j.g.) was being sarcastic in his praise of the product. He was duly executed.

Independent interviews conduced by SNN with some early patients at the testing labs in Luvov, Ukraine revealed generally positive experiences. As one satisfied tester put it, "I love SWEDE! I feel so comfortable talking to someone positive and cheery! And I can't understand exactly what he's saying, so I won't know if he bluntly says, 'you are going to die.' Besides, my little boy loves it when he randomly throws lobsters at the holochina set!" At this point, this patient was seen to hug his 2-year-old son lovingly. A special SNN Report later revealed that the patient in question was quoted as saying "When do I get paid?!" after the formal interview had concluded.

When the final release date for the product approached, many critics complained. They claimed that the program was a joke, and that it would never become standard Starfleet issue. In fact, it was a joke, which is precisely why it has proven so effective. SWEDE is gaining universal renown through the media. It is possible that, in the near future, SWEDE will be the standard to replace the archaic EMH user interface systems.