I want Data back...

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

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes. B-4's whole role in the story was to be a flawed reflection of Data in the same was that Shinzon was a flawed reflection of Picard. Both Shinzon and B-4 were trapped because they were unable to grow and improve the way Picard and Data had always striven to do -- Shinzon because he blamed all his problems on his circumstances rather than taking responsibility for himself, and B-4 because he was simply too limited a prototype. The point of the engram-download scene was that it failed -- that B-4 couldn't become Data even with all Data's knowledge dumped into his head. Sure, the studio surely insisted on leaving a back door open just a crack, a way to bring Data back if the film had done really well and they'd wanted to do another with Spiner in it, but that was what the studio wanted. I think the intent of the screenwriters was the opposite of that. B-4 wasn't meant to be a vehicle for Data's resurrection, not primarily; he was meant to be Data's legacy. The knowledge Data left him would finally permit him to begin growing past his limits as he never could before, and that would be Data's final gift, allowing him to live on in the sense that we live on through our children or the people we help and inspire.
     
  2. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    FWIW, I agree that using B-4 as the vessel of Data's resurrection would be terribly obvious and boring, even though the ethical challenges involved (i.e. a Data waking up in B-4's body would most likely struggle with the knowledge that his life comes at the expense of B-4's) make for some interesting story potential in their own right.

    In my mind using the data that was uploaded into B-4 to recreate Data's neural network inside a newly-built model would be a massive engineering challenge, not a simple thing to do. After all, to begin with you actually need to build Data.
     
  3. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk's still dead and Spock is getting stuck in a new timeline try again.

    An android that wanted to be more human as his major character arc.

    An arc which ended in his death and shouldn't be reset back to 1 because some fans weren't happy about where it ended.

    Considering Data wanted to be more human staying dead is actually true to his nature.
     
  4. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Why do you need to build Data? Why can't he put in something else? I'm just curious why he can't be a bit like Morven Prime (or whatever her name was) in New Frontier, except for how cheesy that could potentially be - or Zoe-A in Caprica? Isn't Data's consciousness essentially software?
     
  5. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    For the record, as a fan I'm not unhappy with the end of the character's arc.

    This is actually more of an in-universe dilemma, I think. If you assume that it is technologically feasible to recreate Data from the ingredients available (sensor logs uploaded into B-4, historic information on his life, information on the make of his hardware), then Data is not dead, he is waiting to be cured. How much effort in personnel, equipment and time is justified to cure him?


    I was talking about the nature of his body, not the preferences of the person.

    That said, Data was never shy to point out the differences between him and humans, and never embarrassed to use them to his advantage.
     
  6. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's a very good question. On the one hand, yes, you could argue that what you minimally need to build is only Data's brain, or even just an accurate simulation of his brain.

    However, after you feed the log into that simulation and recreate Data's original state, then what? You're left with a neural network that has evolved to function inside the body it was controlling, and it might not easily work inside any other context, especially just from one moment to the next. Of course it might turn out that Data's brand of mind is flexible enough to handle that, or that you can identify the minimal context you need to simulate or substitute and do that as well.

    In depends on how much of Data's simpler functions (e.g. limb movements) are actually controlled by his neural network to any specific detail, or delegated to secondary processors, etc. - i.e. how tied his mind is to his body.

    From a story POV, plenty of options. Data's technology has never been specified to that amount of detail.
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    You must've missed all those Jim Kirk in the 24th Century books that Pocket started churning out in the mid-late 90's. And the fact that Spock died in the 2280's, yet still has adventures well into the 24th century. Wasn't Spock even on the cover of a book with Sisko not so long ago?
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm with Sho here. The sci-fi conceit that a brain evolved to function inside a physical body can be "copied" or "transferred" into cyberspace or a different type of body and still be exactly the same is overly simplistic. It's like transporters -- a handy story trope in some cases, but one that's full of logic and plausibility holes.

    Although Trek has routinely assumed that swapping consciousnesses between bodies would actually be pretty easy -- usually with organic beings' minds, but sometimes with software, such as the Doctor's program running inside Seven of Nine's body (and letting Jeri Ryan do an uncanny Robert Picardo impression).
     
  9. flandry84

    flandry84 Captain Captain

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    Janeway is back??!

    In space no one can hear you groan...
     
  10. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    To add to what Christopher is saying, it's my take-away from the few bits we did get about Data's implementation on the show and films that he is very much not merely software, i.e. not just a program that runs on an easily exchangeable general-purpose computer.

    Many of Data's cognitive advantages over humans likely stem from the fact that he also possesses traditional computing circuitry and software and that his mind can interface with them with great efficiency (in other words, whereas humans interface with computers through their limbs and senses, he can do it more directly with the computers built into himself). But he secret sauce that makes him more than the Enterprise computer, the chunk of hardware that accounts for his personality and higher-order functions, is a purpose-built machine that moreover actively changes its makeup in response to the stimuli fed into it. As with humans and their brains, the hardware/software distinction becomes non-useful there because the hardware is not fixed. Arguably Soong was very inspired by biologic precedents in his work.

    It may be possible to simulate both Data's positronic matrix and for that matter a human brain in software - science is actively working on that problem today (check back in a few decades on that one) - but that doesn't immediately give you a working human in a box.

    So to reiterate, really the only reasons that Data's machineness may make him recreatable are that there's a good case for him having complete logs of his sensory inputs in an exportable format (supported by his perfect recall on the show), that we may have such an export in B-4, and that we know it's possible to build his body because his body was once built (of course it's a bit more complicated than that and I could offer additional thoughts on rebuilding Data's body, but by now probably everyone's eyes are bleeding ...).
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  11. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    All of which are in their own little universe that have very little to do with the regular lit verse except for references within them to characters from it that are also included in this universe, Much how STO is separate from the regular lit verse.

    And yet in 2387 he will get sucked into a black hole and end up in an alternate 2258, but from the point of view of the prime verse characters will have appeared to have died.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    But they still sold books with him on the cover and I don't remember any cover disclaimers that these books really don't count. They brought him back to sell books.
     
  13. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Technically none of the books actually count what with the whole not canon thing, but you notice that non of the authors have acknowledged any of the events from the 24th century set Shatner novels right which generally means he's not alive their.

    And its pretty much a given that the Shatnerverse is its own thing separate from the main line of novels.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Right. It's not about "counting." All these stories are equally unreal. They're not study materials for a test where you have to get the right answers; they're works of entertainment. As long as you enjoy them, it doesn't matter if they fit together. There are different continuities in play, though, and what happens in one isn't binding on the others. The Shatner novels were pretty much separate from the main novels because they were aimed at a somewhat distinct audience, and because nobody was going to tell William Shatner he couldn't do what he wanted because some no-name novelist had done something different.

    So in the Shatnerverse, Kirk was resurrected and Janeway never died; while in the main novel continuity, Kirk was never resurrected and Janeway did die. Among other discrepancies, like when Bajor joined the Federation and when Titan finished its business at Romulus and began its exploratory mission.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Just check out Christine Thompson's first short story in "Star Trek Magazine".

    B-4 and Captain Data both exist as separate entities, so fans assuming that the Data personality permanently overran B-4, some time before "Countdown", were incorrect.

    http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=176575
     
  16. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not sure I understand, because I've read neither that story nor Countdown. I'm not saying that Data overwrote B-4 when he uploaded his memories, that's actually rather inconsistent with what I wrote. Or is your point that that short story suggests that a Soong android can house two neural nets at the same time?
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^What Therin means is that the most popular fan conjecture for how Data could be resurrected -- which is a common interpretation of what was alluded to in Countdown, as well as being independently used in a Strange New Worlds story -- is simply that Data's memories inside B-4 were fully retrieved and B-4 thus became Data. He's not referring to your position, but to the widespread fan assumption in general.
     
  18. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Plus I'm pretty sure T'Lana is still a member of the Enterprise-E's crew in the Shatnerverse.
     
  19. FreddyE

    FreddyE Captain Captain

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    I think a good idea to have Data return might be to have it connected to the "great bloom". May be instead of ripping him appart, he was pulled thru the anomaly right during its creation. And since Data can pretty much exist in space indefenitly...he could still be floating around there on the other side of the anomaly somewhere. Maybe he deactivated himself while he waits for resuce or something.
     
  20. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The other end of the anomaly is the Magenelic Cloud specifically an area that may or may not even exist anymore or at the very least was devastated and said anomaly has been closed off.
     

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