Data's Sexuality

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Yvaine, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Tasha acted as if Data gave it to her in more than just a mechanical way, and Data seemed to still maintain a special quasi-emotional bond when he experienced grief at her death.

    My feeling is that something mysterious happened between the two that can't be explained by what we saw. And it's nice that there are still a few things that can't be fully explained in Trek.
     
  2. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A human told him so.
     
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  3. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Vulcans and Klingons would be very unlikely to put up with all this android claims to be your race stuff.
     
  4. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But why so determined to mimic one particular race, instead of learning from other lifeforms in general? Isn't he doing basically the same thing as Timothy?
     
  5. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Data knows the answer to why he's "here," that's why. He doesn't have to search himself, or investigate how others arrive at it, he already knows what his purpose in life is - and that's basically to be a poser. He was made by a Human Man to pretend to be a Human Man. It makes ... NO sense. There's NO logic to it. But there it is. As Data already has his Life's Mission etched in stone by his Creator, he's apparently uninterested in reinventing himself. Perhaps he's incapable of acting in a way contrary to his basic "programming." He idolizes the Human Race, because it's his "nature."
     
  6. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    If I remember correctly, it was a human Starfleet crew who first found him, and he wanted to emulate his rescuers.
     
  7. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The reason why we never saw Data in a homosexual relationship is because the writers didn't want to go there. There's nothing about the nature of the character that would make you think he would be exclusively interested in women sexually. He's curious about all things human. Although it does make sense that he emulated traditional "courtship" rituals instead of something less conventional, since he was curious about how humans in general lived.
     
  8. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How do we know Data wasn't programmed to emulate attraction? If he has scent receptors that he can use to recognize that the green liquor is really strong, then it follows he could also have pheromone receptors.

    And clearly his mother was happy to find out he had experienced intimacy, so he was definitely programmed with the possibility in mind.
     
  9. Jedi_Master

    Jedi_Master Admiral Admiral

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    Seeing as Data was built to essentially live forever, he could enjoy a long life as a human, then find out what life was like as a Vulcan, Klingon, etc.

    He just started as a human.
     
  10. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's a really tragic "A.I." sort of slant to put onto it. I take it you would have denied Data's request to be treated as sentient in Measure of a Man?

    Data's supposed to be a mirror upon which the audience can explore the human condition. It's the same as Spock, only from a different perspective (moving towards rather than away emotions). You can call into question how self-actualized Data's motivations are, but at the very least, from a story perspective, he's a useful symbol.

    He's also meant to redefine what it means to be sentient in general. Even if he falls short of his goal to be authentically human, does that make him less worthy of respect as a unique sentient being? How many people succeed in actually reaching their life-objectives rather than just striving to reach them? Data knows that without the emotion chip, he can't get there, and yet he perseveres. That's pretty courageous of him. And should we look down on those whose dreams in life seem somehow mundane or irrational? It's their life to live.

    As to Data's programming, I've lost count of how many science articles point to "biology is destiny" with human beings. Studies explaining how we size up the opposite sex based on cold assessments of health or genetic fitness, and how love is merely hormones. How we live by the pleasure-principle in a pavlovian way. So would it be fair to put humanity on a pedestal if we too are merely machines fulfilling our biological programming? Just because Data had a known creator in Dr. Soong and we have mother nature, the end product isn't that different.

    The burden is on us to prove we're somehow more than the sum of our parts.
     
  11. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hmmm ... that's quite a bit to digest, you might have to get back to me later on some of that. For now, though, Bruce Maddox brings up a very interesting point. But because we're meant to dislike him, we're also meant to ignore this point. Indeed, those characters in attendance do ignore it and it's a good one:

    "If Data were a box on wheels I would not be facing this opposition."

    Had this been the reality of the TNG, that Data was realised like that, I'm sure audiences would have a very hard time buying Data's Humanity. But because Data's realised by Brent Spiner with greasepaint on his face and hands, his "Humanity" is undeniable. In my opinion, Data should've at least been modelled after Brent, but been a STAN WINSTON robot/puppet hybrid. Seeing an actress act against that and professing attraction and deeper feelings, such as love would've really been a hard sell, I'm sure. But interesting!

    "Data's supposed to be a mirror upon which the audience can explore the human condition," you say. Well, it's clearly the intention behind the character, but that is not what we got. Instead of a mirror, he was a Yellow Highlighter for the Audience, to underscore The Message & Meaning of Tonight's Program for Everybody at Home. Picard, or someone, will say, "Data, do you understand what just happened/what this all means?" and Data will just spell the shit out for us, like we're all as naive as he is.

    Let me see what else we have here ...
    "I've lost count of how many science articles point to "biology is destiny" with human beings. Studies explaining how we size up the opposite sex based on cold assessments ..." that's an interesting theory from Eggheads in Labcoats, but I'm not drinking that Kool-Aid. The worst Poetry on The Internet nails Love down alot closer than that line of guff.

    As far as being a symbol, or icon, or whatever, for striving for an unattainable goal, sure, there's some of that in Data. Unfortunately, along with that comes his needyness, his offputting questions about the obvious and all that. It was rarely demonstrated to the advantage of either the audience, or the character. It came off as condescending, at times. Personally, I like Data when he's doing the adding up and making calculations. He has Mega-Strength and quick reflexes and all that. But the character's definitely the weakest in THE NEXT GENERATION. A lot of lost potential there ...
     
  12. JesterFace

    JesterFace Captain Captain

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    But would Spot do it to Data? And maybe Data would like it...?
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A common misunderstanding is that the JAG court in Measure of a Man determined Data to be sentient.

    The judge in the case found that Data was machine. He wasn't the property of Starfleet. And that Data had the freedom to choose whether to be transferred and examined by Commander Maddox. .

    That's all.

    Data is incapable of feeling emotions, which is very different than Spock cultural rejection of them. I like the character of Data, but I have never thought of him as a mirror in any way.

    :)
     
  14. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

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    Data is intended to be an exploration of what it means to be human though. Every Trek series has a character who does that: Spock, Data, Odo, Seven, T'Pol. All of them outsiders who all become more human to some degree thru their friendships, and lovers.
     
  15. Kobayshi Maru

    Kobayshi Maru Commodore

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    I believe Data was thought after Asimov's R. Daneel Olivaw, Daneel was completely functional, he had a twin android that became the lover of a woman who called him "my husband", that android was killed, we learn at the end that a non-android robot did it to prevent a scientist from stealing the secrets of the android, compromising by that the conquest of the galaxy by men and the future of humanity... (As for all Asimov's novels, the story is in fact very complicated).

    Anyway, like Daneel, Data should be able to do everything that a human can do, except better...
     
  16. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The entire "Fully functional" aspect of Data seems to me, the writer's acknowledgement of their "fanboy" wish to make everything about sex.

    Realistically, Data is as sexual as an Intel Pentium processor.

    I personally always understood Data to:

    1. Have zero sex drive
    2. Be "fully functional" in case a woman was willing to be in a romantic relationship with him. Basically he had the function, the same as one of those Sybian vibrating saddle sex toys has the function, and Soong probably felt it would be too weird for a woman to be with a guy who didn't have a penis, even if it was just simulated.

    So in that sense, yeah, he was basically just a dildo with a prosthetic man attached to it.
     
  17. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Had Data been at all "real," somehow, what GalaxyX suggests seems to be the right answer. Metal and plastic is just not capable of lustful, passionate urges. Programmed simulations is all his "partner" is ever going to get from him, on that level.
     
  18. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You can't prove that Data's reactions are 'programmed' any more than you can do so for humans. His brain governs his actions just like our brains do for us. He is no more or less programmed than we are.

    Data is a sentient being with wants and needs of his own. And yes, sometimes this includes relationships and sex. The fact that Data is artificially constructed means nothing.
     
  19. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Recall that Data was intoxicated in Naked Now as well as proving to be fully functional.
     
  20. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

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    His father. I thought that was pretty clear in the show?