^But the idea was that the ship itself
had the intelligence to do that, that it was closer to a living organism than a mindless machine, even if it wasn't fully self-aware. The idea that was talked about in the early TNG development material was "Technology Unchained," the idea that technology had become so advanced as to be all but invisible and effortless to use. Which is why the TNG bridge originally looked more like a conference lounge than a computer center.
The problem was that technology so advanced that it never goes wrong didn't make for good action-adventure storytelling. They needed things to break down, and so they needed someone to fix them.