I want Data back...

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by BillJ, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Seriously, we've brought Kirk, Spock, Tucker and Janeway all back from the dead. Why not Data? Believability shouldn't be a roadblock as it got thrown out the window a long time ago in the Star Trek universe.

    Besides, TNG never felt right after his departure.
     
  2. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd like Data back too, but that conflicts with my annoyance with death never being permanent in the Trek universe.

    Having said that, I'm looking forward to seeing how good a job Ms Beyer's done with Janeway.

    Better to not kill them off in the first place if you ask me...
     
  3. Brit

    Brit Captain Captain

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    Well you need to get a Face Book page, and about a thousand (give or take some) working fans, a twitter account, and a petition. Then just never ever give up.

    Seriously Data should be brought back, the reasoning behind a plot ending in his death while valid at the time are not today. He is a great character and he should be returned.
     
  4. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    But do you think Janeway came back because of an angry fan group?
     
  5. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Or perhaps in spite of


    My thoughts - I would love to see Data back, he's one of my favourite characters, died in a contender for worst trek movie ever, and was even given plot dialogue to be resurrected in that selfsame movie. Would like it to be a good return though - can't say I was much of a fan for the reasoning behind Janeway's.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    To each one's own. I liked Nemesis on the whole; I felt that Data was wasted as a character in the movies once they walked back the emotion chip and abandoned all the story possibilities that came with it, so I don't mind that his story ended; and I feel the movie went to great lengths to explain why B-4 couldn't realistically be expected to turn into Data 2.0, and that final bit at the end was just offering hope that maybe he could grow beyond his limited beginnings after all and serve as a legacy left by Data.

    Then again, the very nature of Data as an AI means that finding a way to reconstitute his consciousness could potentially be handled more plausibly than your typical resurrection, as long as it were done in some other way than the "B-4 turns into Data" route, which is not only unlikely in the context of what the film established, but is deeply undesirable because it would mean murdering another individual so that Data could live. (Not to mention that it's too predictable -- there are surely more interesting ways it could be done.)
     
  7. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well being Data's an android you could get by with rebuilding him concievably, especially considering you have at least one copy of his entire memory.

    Really it would be more plausible than Vulcan magic, conspiracy theory death fakings and whatever is bringing Janeway back.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Although the catch there is that memory isn't personality. Data has all of Lal's memories, but who she was as a person didn't survive in him. Consciousness is more than just information, it's a dynamic process running within a neural network. So just dumping Data's memories into a blank android body wouldn't give you Data, any more than dumping them into B-4 did. If it could be done, there'd have to be something more going on. And what you got as an end result might not be exactly Data, so much as a new individual that remembered what Data had known and experienced. The question is whether that would be close enough.
     
  9. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure if this is considered a story idea, so i'll spoiler tag it...
    I always figured Maddox would finally succeed. Use the "memory engrams" from B-4 or whatever, rebuild, and voila.
     
  10. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm in the death should matter camp.
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I use to be. But if they're going to bring back all the other popular characters who have died, they might as well bring Data back as well.

    Might jump start the rather lackluster TNG books.
     
  12. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It depends on the form in which Data stores memories. The show has on some occasions shown him capable of perfect audiovisual recall, which may hint at him posessing a complete, unbroken record of all of his sensory inputs. If so then you could perhaps reset the neural network and recreate Data's personality by replaying the log.

    Some remaining challenges would be to try and find a way to do it faster than realtime without violating the goal of staying true to the original (in case time turns out to be a factor in the physical processes going on in his positronic brain), accounting for external circumstances that go beyond his sensor capability (as basic example, perhaps Data once was exposed to a radiation field affecting his brain while experiencing certain things, and if you wanted the sensory replay of those things to have the exact same state-altering effects on his brain, you'd need to recreate this radiation field as well) and accounting for build differences between Data and whatever new body (i.e. making sure the starting conditions are the same).

    A sufficiently science- and engineering-capable or properly advised writer should be able to write a plausible and credible resurrection by covering those things, at least arguably plausible and credible enough by the standards of the franchise.

    (I consider the above not a story idea since it logically follows from thinking about the technology.)
     
  13. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    I think we should start a bring back Dr Fisher camp! And a bring back Pike camp. And a bring back Duras camp. And a bring back Welshy camp.

    God, you know that this kind of behaviour was what South Park mocked in killing off Kenny each week. That his death was made redundant, a cheap thrill. Bringing people back from the dead might have creatively good reasons, but in general, especially in industries which seem to specialise in resurrections, it comes off cheaply and stupidly. When a creator or writer tries to make death be death - as Logan, Baird, Stewart and Spiner were trying to do in Nemesis - maybe we should just accept that, rather than act as a fan, as a dreamer, denying death its totalised power over all our existences.

    I'm really reminded of Community's season two episode, 'The Psychology of Letting Go', in which a character called Pierce thinks that his mother isn't dead, but turned into cosmic vapour that will be in the future turned back into her. The writer, Hilary Winston, lets Pierce keep his delusion, but the episode's point is summed up in a recording left by his mother

    Clinging onto dead characters is such a mockery of reality, mourning and bereavement. We are better because of loss, we experience and move on. If we can't, isn't that psychologically wrong?
     
  14. CNash

    CNash Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    As an aside, can I ask that people not spoil recently-released books without using the spoiler tags? Not everyone has read "The Eternal Tide" yet...
     
  15. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    On the one hand I agree with you, on the other hand I think this is arguably a special case because it's Data. Data is an android, and because he is an android the differences between artificially created, non-biological life and us have always been part of his treasure chest of story potential. If there is a technologically credible way to remake him because he is an android then that fact in itself is a story beat that begs to be exploited. You can make a case that treating Data's death as final just as if he were human is actually not staying true to his nature, and so not using the character to his full potential.

    Put in another way, I enjoyed writing my above post about how resurrecting Data might work. The scifi fan in me thinks it makes for some good science fiction. And that's what we're after, no?

    Then again, this is the guy talking who opened this thread. I could read 100 pages on how rebooting Data works on a tech level and be well-entertained :p.
     
  16. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Yeah, I definitely don't want the STO method. But there's a novel coming out in the not-to-distant future that has...possibilities.

    *fingers well & truly crossed*
     
  17. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    I understand, and of course Data could come back. But I think then he/it wouldn't quite be Data, unless he was copyable, and that is a side of his existence as a computer program that seems to have never been addressed in lit.

    Anyway, I just do prefer death to be death, since it seems that Treklit tries to aspire after a sense of realism these days (with exceptions like Peter David or the career of Sela between Death in Winter and DRG's books), and it feels like wish-fulfillment and escapism to do anything else. But who knows what will be happening with a certain trilogy, or other books in the future. Maybe it will happen, like an unmentionable character: but I hope not, unless the issues of identity and such really, really are explored (and poor B4 is not just killed effectively either: why do they need those bodies?)
     
  18. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I went and looked at the Nemesis script btw, and at a glance I can't find anything that overtly conflicts with the replay method. Data talks about uploading his "memory engrams" to B-4. A memory engram is a (relatively fuzzy) concept from neuropsychology that is obviously not a raw sensory log, but you can make the case that Data was using a common term for simplicity's sake rather than meaning to imply any particularities about the nature of the data he was uploading. And the reason he didn't do a reset and replay is that his intention wasn't to create a copy of himself but to assist B-4's own personality (plus the challenges involved I already mentioned).
     
  19. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Then I guess what the script suggests happen is that B4 be developed, not (a new) Data?
     
  20. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is a bit subtle I suppose, but I actually wasn't saying that Data is copyable any more than we are, strictly speaking. Christopher pointed out quite correctly that we are more than our memories: we are the exact state of our physical body from moment to moment. The problem thus is not merely to copy Data's memory around, but to recreate the state of his neural network as formed by the steady succession of his life experiences.

    The potential for recreating this state lies in the fact that Data may record his life experiences with greater fidelity than humans do. Human memory is quite lossy. Being a machine, however, and assuming sufficient storage, Data may be keeping logs of all of his sensory inputs: What his eyes are seeing, what his ears are hearing, ... as well as less obvious forms of sensory inputs like the position and condition of his limbs. This is unlikely to be Data's only form of memory since it would be very inefficient to search - at the very least he would need to build additional indices -, but it would have obvious advantages for optional recall.

    All of these inputs reach Data's neural network in a particular way and format - simplified, a wire sticking into it. If you can create an "empty" neural network with the exact same state as Data's before his initial activation - i.e. have the same exact starting conditions - then feeding the logs of those inputs into this neural network over the wire gets you a long way toward accurately recreating the state of his neural network at the time of his death.

    A remaining major problem is things the logs could not cover, like physical circumstances that were affecting his neural network at the time it was processing those inputs (i.e. the radiation field example). You might be able to explain this away by saying Data's cranium is extremely well shielded and that you can count the number of events that did affect his brain on one hand and simulate them.

    Another problem is that it might take very long because the replay might have to be done in realtime (i.e. it would take exactly as long as Data had lived) to allow for the time the physical processes inside his neural network hardware need to happen in response to each input. How much you can compress time there depends on the exact nature of the hardware.


    Well, I assume that Data would have seen resetting B-4 and creating a copy of himself in place of B-4's own mind as the murder it would be.

    I think to resurrect Data you do need to first build a new body. B-4 is important because he may have backup of Data's sensory input logs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012

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