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NCIS Needs To Stop Resurrecting The Dead With AI

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In “Collective Memory,” Episode 9 of Season 19, “NCIS” uses AI technology to generate a hologram that serves to resurrect Sandra Holdren (Stepfanie Kramer), the episode’s victim du jour. Nicholas Torres (Wilmer Valderrama) and Jessica Knight (Katrina Law) use the information given to them by the hologram to suss out the person responsible for killing the financial advisor. 

But that’s not how AI technology — or even a hologram — works at all. To produce a hologram of Holdren, the person running whatever visual engine was used to make the imagery had to consult actual human sources to feed knowledge about her life into the program. In other words, there’s no need to use a hologram to produce further information about Holdren if you already have the raw material that went into the tech at your disposal. You can directly interview the people who gave you the information instead of adding this extra work to the pile. It’s also just plain uncomfortable and unnecessarily creepy to stuff words into the mouth of a dead woman.

Even worse, the story brings out the very worst in Nick’s technophobia. He’s actively creeped out by the hologram and is crudely dismissive toward the tech types he has to probe for the case, making him come off as reactive and ultimately providing “NCIS” with its worst Season 19 storyline.