A "Machine President" was the title / position of an individual Red Dwarf crewmember. The role was elected by the various artificial intelligences aboard the ship, with the Machine President voicing the concerns and representing the rights of the A.I.s to the rest of the crew, and ensuring that they were satisfied.
It began during a crisis, when Dave Lister and the Cat had accidentally downloaded an SOS virus from a nearby ship because they were too busy playing Renegade Monks. The virus rendered Red Dwarf inoperable and drifting into a supermassive Black Hole. As the boys from the Dwarf prepared to evacuate on a Starbug, a bank of several vending machines (including 402) demanded equal rights and to be taken with them, but Arnold Rimmer rudely denied their requests, telling them they were not important.
The various A.I.s of the ship then pooled their processing time to boost the anti-virus program, removing the SOS virus, but also giving the A.I.s full control of Red Dwarf. They then went on strike, including the elevators and the Skutters, and leaving the Dwarfers in darkness with only candlelight, trapped without access to the shuttle bays or the cargo bays.
The A.I.s promised to return the ship to normal functions, but only if they were granted equal rights, and if somebody was appointed from among the crew to see to this in an official capacity.
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