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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

View Poll Results: Rate The Persistence of Memory.
Outstanding 71 56.35%
Above Average 41 32.54%
Average 12 9.52%
Below Average 1 0.79%
Poor 1 0.79%
Voters: 126. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 4 2012, 06:44 PM   #211
JoeZhang
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
Relayer1 wrote: View Post
I didn't get anything from Vaughan's last appearance that would make his 'being with the Prophets' any less likely than Kira's.
Except for his lifeless corpse.
Didn't Noonian Soong have a lifeless corpse or Spock? Then there was Janeway who didn't have a corpse because she was blown to bits.
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Old November 4 2012, 06:44 PM   #212
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
...besides that doesn't explain why they need the Robinson and Aventine in particular except to make some fans happy
But isn't that the whole point? If the majority of fans aren't happy, Pocket won't be selling many books.
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Old November 4 2012, 07:04 PM   #213
Hartzilla2007
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

BillJ wrote: View Post
Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
...besides that doesn't explain why they need the Robinson and Aventine in particular except to make some fans happy
But isn't that the whole point? If the majority of fans aren't happy, Pocket won't be selling many books.
I said some not the majority. I really doubt the majority of fans would be clamoring to have the Aventine and Robinson stuck outside of DS9. Heck I can think of some who would be annoyed by reducing the Aventine to a sidekick ship like your idea would do.
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Old November 4 2012, 07:04 PM   #214
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Benny Russel could decide to write them back to life. *shrug*
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Old November 4 2012, 07:07 PM   #215
Hartzilla2007
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

shanejayell wrote: View Post
Benny Russel could decide to write them back to life. *shrug*
What does a prophet vision thingy have to do with this. Especially since Benny Russel doesn't even write in them anymore.
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Old November 4 2012, 07:17 PM   #216
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

"Humor. It is a difficult concept."
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Old November 5 2012, 10:54 AM   #217
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Well, personally, I, for one, loved it. And I didn't think the method used to bring back Data was at all cheap, which is surprising as I couldn't personally devise any way to pull it off that wouldn't have been.

Although really, who didn't expect someone to take the Data resurrection ball at some point? They set the stage in Nemesis with B-4's uploaded memories, for crying out loud. Besides, as an artificial construct, resurrection is FAR more plausible than it would be for an organic being, and there were several people in-universe who would have been glad to facilitate such an outcome.

In fact, if you're going to talk 'realism', it seems to me that, when you're talking about an artificial being, it's MORE unrealistic for there to be no 'escape plan' for corporeal death, as could be seen in this novel in the number of hoops Mack has to jump through to make B-4 and Data's recovery a non-trival undertaking.

This is a problem not exclusive to Trek, as I've seen many general SF stories (even purported hard SF titles) try to create artificial tension with AI characters with various dodges that place them in more mortal peril than really makes sense to avoid the simple real-world option of "come what may, and I'll just restore from backup".

So yeah, I find Data to be a special case in the annals of resurrected characters where I can accept his return far more than certain other ones.

As for 'Data 2.0', as it seems we're terming it, it seems like he's taking a logical path right now, a journey to discover just what kind of being he is, now. I'd always sort of wondered what his perspective was of the minds inhabiting his matrix (the colonist logs, the memories of Lal, Lore, and now Soong himself) and how that affects his self-identity. I'm glad to see that someone's finally taking a shot at having him walk that road, to discover himself, particularly now that, with Soong's body, I don't think anyone can make the claim now that Data is now anything less than 'fully' human, for all intents and purposes (after all, Mack makes SEVERAL references to Soong's personal comparisons between being organic and post-organic and how painstaking the reproduction has been). So Data has fully attained his life's goal. Imagine the enormity of that for a moment, especially for such an impossible dream as it must have been when the character was first created. Now he must find a new journey, a new purpose. That may lead him back to Starfleet, yes, but if it does, even then he won't just be Data done over, he'll be changed, with a new set of motivations and drives that he didn't have before.

Between being a father (because who doesn't seriously think that he's not going to get Lal back after this?) and having his father's iconoclastic, nonconformative influence as a direct foundation of his behavior patterns, he wouldn't be the same, obedient officer that he once was upon a return to active duty, which may severely effect his career path if he goes back.

Hopefully we get to see the full realization of that journey, because I'd like to see what kind of man Data will become now that he's attained his dream.

On that note, it will be interested to get a look at B-4 now. While I don't expect Soong's firmware update to 'uplift' him to a more normal level of being, it seems like there is heavy hinting that it will allow him the opportunity to develop his character into something besides a simple-minded automaton. I'll be curious to see the results of that, as well. After all, even the less mentally abled of us still have an inner life, dreams and motivations that, so far, B-4 has been denied. I suspect that much of Soong's 'update' was an attempt to give B-4 a shot at having some of those abilities for himself, even if he'll never have the intelligence to be another Data, perhaps he may someday have the ability to feel and express, which is no less a miracle for him than it's been for Data...

Last edited by Bonzo the Fifth; November 5 2012 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Proofreading and additional insights.
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Old November 5 2012, 02:21 PM   #218
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Good analysis, Bonzo, although I'm skeptical of the standard sci-fi convention that merely copying a brain's contents (AI or organic) and installing them in a different platform constitutes transferring or resurrecting the original identity. A consciousness isn't just data and memories, it's an active, dynamic emergent process taking place within a brain. It's as much a function of the hardware itself, its initial conditions, and its state at any given moment as it is of the data stored within it. So I don't agree with the fictional conceit that resurrecting a mind is as simple as copying a JPEG. A conscious mind is far more complex than that, so it stands to reason that the process of preserving or recreating it would also be far more complex -- and that running the same memories on a different piece of hardware would result in a distinct entity, more an offspring of the original than a direct continuation.

Granted, VGR (along with "Ship in a Bottle") has established that it's relatively easy to transfer a holographic consciousness from one storage medium to another. But, with the exception of "Living Witness," it's generally shown that not as copying the mind, but as transferring it whole so that it is removed from its original storage site at the same time it's installed in the new one. That's consistent with the idea that it's more a process than a program -- not just an inert lump of data being uploaded, but a dynamic and shifting set of activity states and interconnections that can move through a network as a coherent pattern. (Think of consciousness as analogous to a wave pattern moving through a medium. When an ocean wave moves through water, the actual water molecules don't move with it; they just oscillate up and down, but the greater pattern they form through the relationship of their individual motions is itself moving as a coherent whole.) So an AI consciousness could "move" through a network from one body or mainframe to another by altering the pattern of the network's activity; but storing the data it contained and starting it on a separate system would be a different matter.

Maybe, if you had enough storage space, then you could store a "snapshot" of the network's pattern of activity at the moment the consciousness was stored, analogous to what Windows does when you put your PC in hibernate mode (only far more complex and detailed). That way, you could use both the stored data and the snapshot of the system's state to create a closely equivalent configuration on a separate system and essentially duplicate the original consciousness. That would explain "Living Witness." But what Data downloaded into B-4 was just his memories; we have no reason to believe it contained such a finely detailed snapshot of his own brain's activity pattern. Which would mean that what Soong retreived from B-4 and downloaded into the new android body wasn't Data's identity, just his knowledge and memory. Which is why I believe that this new "Data" is more an offspring than a resurrection. He's Data Junior.
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Old November 5 2012, 04:22 PM   #219
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Christopher wrote: View Post
what Soong retreived from B-4 and downloaded into the new android body wasn't Data's identity, just his knowledge and memory. Which is why I believe that this new "Data" is more an offspring than a resurrection. He's Data Junior.
I haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet (thanks Amazon) but with Data's emotion chip, wouldn't B4 have a copy of Data's emotions too ? To my way of thinking, along with his knowledge and memories, that would make up much of what made Data, Data...
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Old November 5 2012, 05:23 PM   #220
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Part of the issue here, I think, is the degree to which a sapient being can ever truly understand the identity process of another. The final chapter of The Persistence of Memory sort of suggests that this is going to be a dilemma. Geordi is somewhat confused that Data considers his relationship to the old Data to be problematic, difficult to describe. If it has Data's memories, Data's knowledge and Data's feelings regarding, for example, his friends, then as far as Geordi's concerned it's Data, right? But Data himself isn't so sure, because his vantage point is rather different from Geordi's. I guess the big question is, will the differences between this Data and the old Data be pronounced enough to convince other characters to see him as a new being, close to the old but distinct, or will they insist on viewing him as Data, restored? Or, put another way, are Geordi etc going to insist that this we've truly pressed the reset button because they're pleased to have their friend back and can only see what's identcal, not what's new? I can only assume, based on that final chapter, that the next two books will explore all this in detail.
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Old November 5 2012, 05:59 PM   #221
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

If someone suffers a brain injury and recovers, but some memory, motor control, behavior, character etc. change (albeit slightly), it is still the same person. Is this not analogous to Data 2.0 ?
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Old November 5 2012, 06:02 PM   #222
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
If someone suffers a brain injury and recovers, but some memory, motor control, behavior, character etc. change (albeit slightly), it is still the same person. Is this not analogous to Data 2.0 ?
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Old November 5 2012, 06:38 PM   #223
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
I haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet (thanks Amazon) but with Data's emotion chip, wouldn't B4 have a copy of Data's emotions too ? To my way of thinking, along with his knowledge and memories, that would make up much of what made Data, Data...
I don't think the phrase "a copy of Data's emotions" is even meaningful. Emotions aren't files, they're more like subroutines, programming that triggers certain responses to certain stimuli. They're hardware/firmware rather than software.

B-4 didn't have an emotion chip, and as per the literature, Data didn't either by the time of Nemesis. (The movie seemed to forget the emotion chip had ever existed.) By that point, Data would've retained the memory of events that had emotional impact for him, but without the capacity to process emotion, he wouldn't have been able to understand or re-experience the emotional content of those memories. Data Jr. does have full emotional capacity in his neural net, so he'd probably be able to remember those emotional memories and form new ones.

On the other hand, if the cognitive routines necessary for comprehending and processing emotion were physically stored within the chip (which seems to be the case, since Data apparently didn't retain his emotional capability without the chip active or installed), the emotional component of his memories might have been lost. We think of a memory as a single integrated whole, but its parts are actually stored separately and the brain reconstructs them from multiple stored elements. So you can remove some aspect of a memory altogether, or even of a real-time perception -- like the way brain-damaged people can be unaware of the existence of a whole limb or side of their body, not only failing to perceive it but no longer realizing that it ever existed.


Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Part of the issue here, I think, is the degree to which a sapient being can ever truly understand the identity process of another. The final chapter of The Persistence of Memory sort of suggests that this is going to be a dilemma. Geordi is somewhat confused that Data considers his relationship to the old Data to be problematic, difficult to describe. If it has Data's memories, Data's knowledge and Data's feelings regarding, for example, his friends, then as far as Geordi's concerned it's Data, right? But Data himself isn't so sure, because his vantage point is rather different from Geordi's.
That's why I think joined Trill are an appropriate analogy. It's not a black-and-white question, either he's the same or different. It's somewhere in between. It's unusual enough that we have to be open to changing our definitions of identity.

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
If someone suffers a brain injury and recovers, but some memory, motor control, behavior, character etc. change (albeit slightly), it is still the same person. Is this not analogous to Data 2.0 ?
But is it really the same person? We assume that because we see the same face, hear the same voice, but is that too superficial an analysis? For that matter, am I the same person I was 20 years ago? Or have I become a different person who retains many memories and habits of the person I was then, but has also lost a lot of who that person was and gained other attributes? Identity is not a simple thing to define. It's unwise to leave your assumptions unexamined when dealing with a situation outside your past experience.

And the situation here doesn't fit your analogy very well. This is a different positronic brain, constructed to house a different personality, with its experiential memories wiped and replaced with a copy of a copy of the memories from the original positronic brain. Also, brain damage tends to take elements away; this new brain has added abilities and enhanced performance. It's kind of the reverse of brain damage.
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Old November 5 2012, 06:42 PM   #224
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

In some ways it's the opposite... a person with a damaged brain got uploaded to a fully functional one, almost.
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Old November 5 2012, 08:18 PM   #225
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Christopher wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Part of the issue here, I think, is the degree to which a sapient being can ever truly understand the identity process of another. The final chapter of The Persistence of Memory sort of suggests that this is going to be a dilemma. Geordi is somewhat confused that Data considers his relationship to the old Data to be problematic, difficult to describe. If it has Data's memories, Data's knowledge and Data's feelings regarding, for example, his friends, then as far as Geordi's concerned it's Data, right? But Data himself isn't so sure, because his vantage point is rather different from Geordi's.
That's why I think joined Trill are an appropriate analogy. It's not a black-and-white question, either he's the same or different. It's somewhere in between. It's unusual enough that we have to be open to changing our definitions of identity.
Except in the case of Joined Trills the new body they move to has a living conscious person and their mind in there. From what I understand NuData's body was mindless at the time.
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