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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old July 5 2011, 09:42 PM   #16
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Re: rethinking Data

^ How do we know he didn't start trying to emulate humans until that point? How do we know that when he was first activated, he wasn't far more primitive than we saw him in Encounter at Farpoint. Maybe he was very robotic in nature and only spoke in a mechanical monotone. Maybe he originally sounded like the computer from TOS. Perhaps he was like Lal in The Offspring. The point is that just because Data is childlike and naive in Encounter at Farpoint doesn't mean he just started his journey of trying to become more human.
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Old July 6 2011, 06:13 AM   #17
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Re: rethinking Data

captrek wrote: View Post
I think the character of Data was poorly conceived. The idea behind it was simple enough: TOS showed us the half-human/half-Vulcan Spock who is proud of acting logically and not having (or at least not acting on) emotions, so in TNG they wanted to explore the flip side with a character who wants to experience emotions but can’t.

Unfortunately, they didn’t think it through much further than that. Data’s desire to understand and experience emotion, and his frustration at being unable to do so, appear to be emotions, belying the very premise they were trying to establish. Worse, neither the writers nor Spiner appeared to have any idea why Data wanted to be more like humans. The first time we meet him he’s pathetically jealous that humans can whistle better than he can, and we never get any clue why. (FWIW, Data, I’m a human and I can’t whistle. It’s not such a big deal.)

So here’s my idea of a better way the character could have been imagined:

When we first meet him, he is logical, efficient, and emotionless. Some time in Season 1 he is in a situation like Spock in The Galileo Seven, where his failure to understand emotion leads to him mishandling both his crew and the life forms threatening them, resulting in a failed mission and some dead officers.

As a result of this and other experiences, he concludes he needs to understand emotions better in order to be effective in his role as a Starfleet officer. At first, he studies emotion as an outsider, approaching it as a logical problem of studying emotional beings and deciphering how stimulus relates to response. This way he gains some insight, but it only gets him so far, because the subject is too complex for that kind of analysis to explain it thoroughly. He comes to the conclusion that he will never really understand emotions unless he experiences them, and sets himself to that task.

That, unlike what we actually got, would have been interesting and made some sense.

Not that the TNG writers could have pulled it off. Their “exploration” of this aspect of Data’s character consisted of little more than a bunch of scenes of Data making puppy dog eyes asking Picard to explain emotions to him, and Picard giving answers that were profoundly lacking in profundity. They painted by numbers, and did it poorly.
I think the point was to show that Data had innate programming to become human. I think he succeeded in Generations and became just another member of the crew in the movies after that.

That being said, think about where computers were in 1986 and the challenge we face in robotics now. We want robots that are the most efficient us we can be. But there's a human factor that we haven't learned how to create yet. We can give them encyclopedic knowledge, but we can't teach them to make decisions. When they do there is no apprehension or fear of failure. We want robots that think and act like us and they don't face the same obsticles we do which is why they don't perform.

I think the character should've been obsessed with understanding emotion, not experiencing it.

Again, I am happy to be here. People have opinions and aren't afraid to have an opinion.
"Cogley was old-fashioned, preferring paper books to computers. He had an extensive collection of books, he claimed never to use the computer in his office."
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Old July 6 2011, 12:09 PM   #18
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Re: rethinking Data

I disagree, he was supposed to evolve and DID in the order to attempt some of the same evolving in the movies, they actually devolved him slightly...but he certainly did grow as a character during the show.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities".
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Old July 6 2011, 07:36 PM   #19
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Re: rethinking Data

CoveTom wrote: View Post
Maybe he was very robotic in nature and only spoke in a mechanical monotone. Maybe he originally sounded like the computer from TOS. Perhaps he was like Lal in The Offspring.
The existence of Lore as a predecessor makes that quite unlikely though.
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Old July 6 2011, 08:12 PM   #20
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Re: rethinking Data


Depends. If there is even a shred of truth in what Lore had to say, the colonists wanted a 'less human' android.

As to why would Data aspire to be more human? He was surrounded by them, his 'father and mother' were human, plus he held the memories of the human colonists within him. And that's just scratching the surface.


Thought of something else. It is most likely that he was programmed that way. Why else would Soong have worked so long and hard to create an emotion chip for Data? Why would he have built him with a dream program? I believe he was designed to evolve and find his own version of humanity.
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