RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 141,443
Posts: 5,507,591
Members: 25,133
Currently online: 454
Newest member: jokerone

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: The Emperor’s New Cloak
By: Michelle on Dec 20

Star Trek Opera
By: T'Bonz on Dec 19

New Abrams Project
By: T'Bonz on Dec 18

IDW Publishing March 2015 Comics
By: T'Bonz on Dec 17

Paramount Star Trek 3 Expectations
By: T'Bonz on Dec 17

Star Trek #39 Sneak Peek
By: T'Bonz on Dec 16

Star Trek 3 Potential Director Shortlist
By: T'Bonz on Dec 16

Official Starships Collection Update
By: T'Bonz on Dec 15

Retro Review: Prodigal Daughter
By: Michelle on Dec 13

Sindicate Lager To Debut In The US Next Week
By: T'Bonz on Dec 12


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 2 2012, 03:02 AM   #1
los2188
Commander
 
los2188's Avatar
 
Location: North Carolina
Another Data question....

There's one other thing about Data that I've always wondered about. In the TNG beginnings, I recall how much of a technological wonder Data was. I would hear things like only the most brilliant of the most brilliant could create an android like Data, and how the technology was so unbelievably superior to anything Starfleet could ever dream of. But as the series progressed and in to movies, it seems as though Starfleet pretty much had it all figured out. I mean they made many repairs to Data, hell, Data himself even created another android Lal, even though she "died" in the end. She was based off of Data's own programming and technology. With all of that said, shouldn't there be hundreds if not thousands of Soong type, or close to it, androids out there presumably created by Starfleet??
__________________
Darling, you remain as aesthetically pleasing as the first day we met. I believe I am the most fortunate sentient in this sector of the galaxy.
los2188 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 2 2012, 04:32 AM   #2
Ugly Sweater
Trekker4747
 
Ugly Sweater's Avatar
 
Location: Kansas City
Re: Another Data question....

Watch "The Measure of a Man"

Get back to us on why there aren't 1000s of Datas walking around.

There also does seem to be a technological hurdle in creating a stable "positronic" brain to operate a sapient android. Soong was only able to do it twice with Lore and Data (B4 (Nemesis) was too dim to be considered "sapient" or as "alive" as Data.) Even Data's attempt to do it didn't work out. Creating a positronic brain behind a sentient/sapient android seems to be more than the sum of its parts requiring an absolute level of perfection and even if you pull it off it seems that even then there's a chance it won't work.

We can infer that since Data is able to be transported that the perfection need only be on the quantum level but replicators in trek operate on the molecular level. Even if you had a "quantum replicator" (requiring loads of energy to produce something) there still just might be a "quality" that is needed to reproduce a Soong-Type Android that a replicator might not be able to reproduce.

Keep in mind how absolutely special Data is in terms of all of the androids we've seen in Trek. We've seen plenty but rarely depicted as self-thinking, autonomous, beings. Simply machines that "act human." Which is different than being human. That's what special about Data, he's not completely driven by facts and programming. He's able to freely think and even create. That's what makes Data special. He's a lot more than "just a machine."

That's not likely to be something that can easily be replicated even if you know absolutely everything there is to know. It could be a delicate balance of all sorts of things on levels of creation that even if one speck of a chip or connection isn't 100% perfect the whole thing doesn't work. The quantum level construction of Data's entire being pretty much being like our DNA. If something in our DNA is even slightly abnormal you can be born with any number of defects hastening your death, shortening your life-span or crippling some aspect of your life. If you get to be born at all.

There's so much complexity to Data that he can't "just be duplicated." He himself even supposed that if his memories were transfered to a computer memory and then back to his body there'd be a "quality" or "substance" to them that'd be lost that only his own positronic mind can sustain.

One could -hypothetically- figure out how every neuron in your head is laid out down to quantum levels and then duplicate it making a perfect copy of your brain. But any consciousness in that brain wouldn't be you. If we did this to preserve your life by copying you into a machine-body there's be a loss of consciousness or some "spark" that makes it all that is you special. What results is a poor imitation and copy.

Life is a lot more complex than just copying what is done. It may work on some level when we get to single-celled organisms, or similar absolutely tiny lifeforms but the more complex the system the greater likelihood there is a chance at failure.

Data is about as complex as it can get.
__________________
Just because it's futuristic doesn't mean it's practical.
Ugly Sweater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 2 2012, 05:57 AM   #3
Therin of Andor
Admiral
 
Therin of Andor's Avatar
 
Location: New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
View Therin of Andor's Twitter Profile
Re: Another Data question....

los2188 wrote: View Post
shouldn't there be hundreds if not thousands of Soong type, or close to it, androids out there presumably created by Starfleet??
Read the excellent novel, "Immortal Coil" by Jeffrey Lang. It has cameos by, or mentions of, all the AI featured in TOS and TNG - even homages to "The Questor Tapes" - and is a whodunnit about what happened when Starfleet and Maddox made a new Soong-type android.

Circus Peanut wrote: View Post
Soong was only able to do it twice with Lore and Data
You forgot Juliana Tainer in "Inheritance".
__________________
Thiptho lapth! Ian (Entire post is personal opinion)
The Andor Files @ http://andorfiles.blogspot.com/
http://therinofandor.blogspot.com/
Therin of Andor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 2 2012, 07:07 AM   #4
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Another Data question....

Rather than think that it would be difficult to create a Data, we can easily postulate it would be fruitless to create a Data. What good is an android, another mouth to feed? (Yes, he does "lubricate his biofunctions", whatever those are.)

We have never gotten the impression that Starfleet would be lacking in manpower. Being a Starfleet employee is a privilege people compete for; creating employees on an assembly line would be an affront running contrary to the interests of both Starfleet and its employees.

Nor do we get the impression that Starfleet would be dissatisfied with the muscular power or computing power of the employees it does have. Starfleet personnel, like supposedly all personnel everywhere, have access to machinery that does all the real work; they themselves are there for the adventure and for the human(oid) touch. Giving the adventure and the touch over to the machines is not a goal or even an option.

Androids in the 24th century are something of a triviality, a useless curiosity that nobody bothers with. Sentient machines have their uses and their place in the society. Cramming a sentience into an android is a technological feat of sorts, which is apparently why Noonian Soong chose it as the way to demonstrate his mastery of positronics - but it's not useful, merely spectacular. And while spectacles come in all shapes and sizes, megalomania is not common in our heroes and sidekicks; creating a single perfect sentient android (while keeping decades of previous research secret because it was a hair's breadth short of perfection) is more appealing to Soong than creating 4.7 million sentient androids that would dance the perfect Swan Lake in front of the Federation Science Academy but stumble on properly smiling an embarrassed smile at the applause.

Sure, Data is unique. But that is no reason to try and have another Data. Indeed, it's a very good reason not to.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 2 2012, 09:42 PM   #5
Genesis
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: Another Data question....

To reiterate what Circus Peanut said, this question was answered quite thoroughly in Measure of a Man. It's not that Starfleet can't build more Datas, necessarily. It's a matter of the moral questions involved making it untenable to try to build an entire race of androids.
Genesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 2 2012, 10:42 PM   #6
sonak
Vice Admiral
 
Location: in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
Re: Another Data question....

Genesis wrote: View Post
To reiterate what Circus Peanut said, this question was answered quite thoroughly in Measure of a Man. It's not that Starfleet can't build more Datas, necessarily. It's a matter of the moral questions involved making it untenable to try to build an entire race of androids.

the moral question was about them being slaves. What if they built thousands and thousands of Datas and let them make their own choice about whether to join Starfleet or not? That solves the slavery issue by having them volunteer.
sonak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 12:42 AM   #7
Genesis
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: Another Data question....

Well, if Starfleet isn't going to have a particular use for the androids they create, it would seem kind of pointless for them to throw tons of resources into creating thousands of them. They would just sort of be doing it for fun at that point.

And they would still have to address the implications of literally creating a new race, and what the creators' obligations and responsibilities are to that race. They would be jumping into a moral quagmire for no real purpose.
Genesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 12:46 AM   #8
Therin of Andor
Admiral
 
Therin of Andor's Avatar
 
Location: New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
View Therin of Andor's Twitter Profile
Re: Another Data question....

sonak wrote: View Post
the moral question was about them being slaves. What if they built thousands and thousands of Datas and let them make their own choice about whether to join Starfleet or not? That solves the slavery issue by having them volunteer.
"Bladerunner"?

In any case, sentient holograms are probably cheaper to make than androids. "Voyager" already pondered this question with the EMH in episodes and in the first few post-"Endgame" Relaunch novels.
__________________
Thiptho lapth! Ian (Entire post is personal opinion)
The Andor Files @ http://andorfiles.blogspot.com/
http://therinofandor.blogspot.com/
Therin of Andor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 02:52 AM   #9
Mojochi
Commodore
 
Mojochi's Avatar
 
Re: Another Data question....

I always got the impression that the general hardware wasn't so much a miraculous invention, as it has been seen in everything from the Enterprise, to an Exocomp, but the specifics of creating the Soong Positronic Matrix was the mystery, even to Data, who failed at creating a stable one, & Soong having flaws in all his creations prior to Data & Juliana. Shit, Maddox has made ground breaking cybernetic developments in his work I'm sure. Data finds him a worthy scientist, but even doesn't have a clue how to achieve the matrix. He doesn't even have a good plan for how to study one.

As impressive a design as his body is, the real magic of Soong's work was in the mind of Data
Mojochi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 07:27 AM   #10
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Another Data question....

They would be jumping into a moral quagmire for no real purpose.
Picard could certainly see a purpose. "Starfleet was founded to seek out new life. Well, there it sits!" Creating a new sentient and sapient species would be a great experiment and a fascinating start for an all-new type of exploration: one where wondrous things aren't brought in from the stars, but created on the spot.

Data himself later saw a purpose in multiplication, too. The slavery thing was always but a straw man and certainly had nothing to do with Maddox' motivations for studying Data - yet OTOH probably would have been no problem for the Federation morally, considering their use of comparably sentient AIs with holographic rather than android bodies later on.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 07:49 AM   #11
Genesis
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: Another Data question....

Fair point, Timo, though copying Data wouldn't exactly be seeking out new life. More like replicating life they've already found. Maybe the best answer is: "Because the writers didn't want to go there".

Did they ever address the moral questions involved in sentient holographic AIs in the later shows? Just curious. I have barely a passing familiarity with what came after TNG.
Genesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 08:11 AM   #12
Timo
Admiral
 
Re: Another Data question....

There are some episodes centered on the very thing. VOY often runs into alien AIs and the plots sometimes revolve around their rights or lack thereof. In VOY "Author, Author", the ship's holodoctor (or Emergency Medical Hologram) starts writing polemic fiction on the treatment of holograms, and the episode concludes with a view of the Federation apparently employing sentient EMH programs in menial mining duties but these starting to foment rebellion after gaining access to the Voyager EMH's writings. This might indicate there are moral questions to be addressed, of the exact sort brought up in "Measure of a Man". OTOH, since much of the episode involves the fictional viewpoint of the EMH, we can also fairly conclude that the concept of fellow EMHs toiling in mines and being liberated by the hero EMH's writings is utter fiction as well...

We do know that holograms are seldom considered to be sentient and treated with appropriate respect - even though much of holoentertainment is based on the holocharacters convincingly faking sentience. The big moral question thus seems to be whether faking of sentience is grounds for respect or not, and whether faking can be told apart from the putative real thing. Should we politely say hello to window dressing dummies because they look like us, just in case? This issue is implicit in the holodeck-heavy stories of VOY, but never really explicit. Our heroes treat characters as sentient within the context of a program, but simply turn them off (or turn them into weapons) when more pressing matters arise. They do the same to the EMH, who sometimes is miffed. Or does he only fake being miffed?

It is rather logical for Data and the holograms to be viewed so differently as regards their (possibly faked) humanness. Data is a unique miracle of technology; holograms are household items, and have been that at least since Janeway's youth.

Timo Saloniemi
Timo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 12:01 PM   #13
Patrick O'Brien
Captain
 
Patrick O'Brien's Avatar
 
Location: Brooklyn NY
Re: Another Data question....

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Read the excellent novel, "Immortal Coil" by Jeffrey Lang. It has cameos by, or mentions of, all the AI featured in TOS and TNG - even homages to "The Questor Tapes" - and is a whodunnit about what happened when Starfleet and Maddox made a new Soong-type android.
Therin you have peaked my interest yet again I am now the proud owner of Immortal Coil, which was downloaded to my kindle moments ago
__________________
The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe.
-Dr. McCoy, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Patrick O'Brien is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 03:35 PM   #14
sonak
Vice Admiral
 
Location: in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
Re: Another Data question....

Timo wrote: View Post
There are some episodes centered on the very thing. VOY often runs into alien AIs and the plots sometimes revolve around their rights or lack thereof. In VOY "Author, Author", the ship's holodoctor (or Emergency Medical Hologram) starts writing polemic fiction on the treatment of holograms, and the episode concludes with a view of the Federation apparently employing sentient EMH programs in menial mining duties but these starting to foment rebellion after gaining access to the Voyager EMH's writings. This might indicate there are moral questions to be addressed, of the exact sort brought up in "Measure of a Man". OTOH, since much of the episode involves the fictional viewpoint of the EMH, we can also fairly conclude that the concept of fellow EMHs toiling in mines and being liberated by the hero EMH's writings is utter fiction as well...

We do know that holograms are seldom considered to be sentient and treated with appropriate respect - even though much of holoentertainment is based on the holocharacters convincingly faking sentience. The big moral question thus seems to be whether faking of sentience is grounds for respect or not, and whether faking can be told apart from the putative real thing. Should we politely say hello to window dressing dummies because they look like us, just in case? This issue is implicit in the holodeck-heavy stories of VOY, but never really explicit. Our heroes treat characters as sentient within the context of a program, but simply turn them off (or turn them into weapons) when more pressing matters arise. They do the same to the EMH, who sometimes is miffed. Or does he only fake being miffed?

It is rather logical for Data and the holograms to be viewed so differently as regards their (possibly faked) humanness. Data is a unique miracle of technology; holograms are household items, and have been that at least since Janeway's youth.

Timo Saloniemi

the "sentient hologram" storyline always seemed a bit silly to me. Data was at least built to be a self-aware being who could make his own choices. Holograms are totally programmed characters designed from a computer. It would be like a video game character becoming self-aware. If you played "arkham city" long enough does Batman become self-aware?
sonak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3 2012, 04:43 PM   #15
t_smitts
Commander
 
Re: Another Data question....

sonak wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
There are some episodes centered on the very thing. VOY often runs into alien AIs and the plots sometimes revolve around their rights or lack thereof. In VOY "Author, Author", the ship's holodoctor (or Emergency Medical Hologram) starts writing polemic fiction on the treatment of holograms, and the episode concludes with a view of the Federation apparently employing sentient EMH programs in menial mining duties but these starting to foment rebellion after gaining access to the Voyager EMH's writings. This might indicate there are moral questions to be addressed, of the exact sort brought up in "Measure of a Man". OTOH, since much of the episode involves the fictional viewpoint of the EMH, we can also fairly conclude that the concept of fellow EMHs toiling in mines and being liberated by the hero EMH's writings is utter fiction as well...

We do know that holograms are seldom considered to be sentient and treated with appropriate respect - even though much of holoentertainment is based on the holocharacters convincingly faking sentience. The big moral question thus seems to be whether faking of sentience is grounds for respect or not, and whether faking can be told apart from the putative real thing. Should we politely say hello to window dressing dummies because they look like us, just in case? This issue is implicit in the holodeck-heavy stories of VOY, but never really explicit. Our heroes treat characters as sentient within the context of a program, but simply turn them off (or turn them into weapons) when more pressing matters arise. They do the same to the EMH, who sometimes is miffed. Or does he only fake being miffed?

It is rather logical for Data and the holograms to be viewed so differently as regards their (possibly faked) humanness. Data is a unique miracle of technology; holograms are household items, and have been that at least since Janeway's youth.

Timo Saloniemi

the "sentient hologram" storyline always seemed a bit silly to me. Data was at least built to be a self-aware being who could make his own choices. Holograms are totally programmed characters designed from a computer. It would be like a video game character becoming self-aware. If you played "arkham city" long enough does Batman become self-aware?
Sure, he would. Cause he's BATMAN!

Seriously, though, it's rather a blurry line as to what makes a hologram sentient. Is it simply the knowlegde that they ARE a hologram. As seen in "The Big Goodbye", seemingly any hologram can learn that.
t_smitts is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 07:02 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.