I want Data back...

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

  1. Keturah

    Keturah Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    This was touched upon in one of the Myriad Universe #2. Only in that case, it was Soong who survived to make many more.
     
  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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  3. Jedi_Master

    Jedi_Master Admiral Admiral

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    The world of TrekLit feels somewhat empty without our favorite android. There are many stories that would have benefited from his presence.
     
  4. Saul

    Saul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    True, but it would probably have caused a lot of problems for Data if he had multiple personalities of different gender in his positronic brain. Which would be dominant. We've seen evidence already of this is in 'The Schizoid Man', a normal computer could only hold Graves intellect but Data could hold his personality too. I realize circumstances were different though and Graves was Human but it's not too much of a stretch. B-4 was pretty empty headed to begin with leaving room for a Data personality in there somewhere.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    B-4 was no more "empty-headed" than a developmentally disabled human. You wouldn't say such a human's personality didn't exist or didn't deserve to exist, or that it would be okay to overwrite it with a smarter person's brain.
     
  6. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    That's an interesting perspective. If B-4 couldn't develop as Data did due to the limits of his program then I guess that's not dissimilar to some mental illnesses.

    Though I personally would like Data back, it would depend on how he was brought back. Do it well or don't do it all.
     
  7. The Evil Dead

    The Evil Dead Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I usually don't like it when people are brought back from the dead however, TNG just isn't the same without him especially with Riker & Troi on the Titan. I'd like him back.
     
  8. Saul

    Saul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, unless you're Julian Bashir's parents...

    ...or Spock

    ...or Uhura
     
  9. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Bashir was just made smarter, Uhura was just relearning everything erased from her brain, and Spock was just getting his soul/memories back.

    B4 is not Data, he does not have the same body as Data this was shown by him and Data interacting as separate people so no Data shouldn't just be made to steal his body because some fanboys don't want to deal with the reality of death in Star Trek.
     
  10. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But fantasy is the whole point of storytelling. Particulalry in science fiction and it's related genres.

    "Realism" is only appropriate for real life. Otherwise it's meaningless.
     
  11. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    Although with B-4's limited programming is he sentient? Or just a talking pile of circuits, I mean he has no aspirations, can barely recognise objects/people, it'd be hard to argue he has any rights. He might not have been given the ability to evolve beyond his programming at all which is the only thing that makes Data/The Doctor sentient.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^As I've tried to get across, there are human beings who are just as severely learning-disabled as B-4, but if you asked those questions about them, or alleged that they have no human rights because they don't reach some arbitrary threshold of smartness, it would be horrific.

    B-4 clearly had the capacity to ask questions, as a child would. He just wasn't good at retaining or understanding the answers. He's learning-disabled, not mindless.
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That depends on what you think the purpose of a particular work of art is, and in particular upon what you think the purpose of Star Trek as a work of art is.

    Is Star Trek just there to provide emotional relief from the real world, to be escapism that has no obligation to maintain verisimilitude? To be something that makes you happy, but doesn't delve into other aspects of life that are perhaps more unpleasant? To be, in other words, a live-action Disney movie set in space?

    Or is Star Trek there to delve into other aspects of life that are less pleasant? To say something about life beyond the parts of it that are good and pleasant? To be something other than a flight of fancy for its audience to escape the real world?
     
  14. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    As I said that's an interesting view but if B-4 was the way he was on purpose then he isn't exactly disabled in fact he's functioning properly. You can't be disabled if there's nothing to disable if that makes sense.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually a large part of the function of storytelling is to help us figure out how to think about and cope with real-life problems we may have to face. It's like play -- the reason children and young animals play is as practice for the real thing. Fiction serves a similar role -- seeing fictional characters have relationships, solve problems, cope with their emotions, and so on helps us learn or think about how to handle such matters for ourselves. It's part of how humans are socialized, how we learn our behavior and values -- by observing how other people behave and what they value, by learning from their example. And whether we realize it or not, we're all influenced by the examples of the fictional characters we spend so much of our lives watching.

    So you're absolutely wrong. Fiction is not just a meaningless escape from reality. It's a significant influence in how we all learn to cope with reality from childhood onward. Scary movies help us explore how to face our fears in a safe context. Stories about people making tough decisions help us learn how to make our own decisions. Mystery stories help us practice our problem-solving skills. And tragedies help us rehearse how to deal with loss and pain, which are unavoidable parts of life.


    What are you talking about? Okay, I know Geordi had some weird line about how maybe B-4 was "meant" to be as crude as he was, but how would he know that? He was just blowing smoke. To all indications, B-4 was a failed prototype.

    Besides, does it matter? You could just as validly argue that someone born with lower intelligence is not "broken," just different, and needs to be accepted as he or she is. So if you're right, if this is what B-4 is meant to be, then it would be an even more hideous thing to assume he had no right to exist or that you could just up and murder him because he wasn't smart enough for you.

    (Although, yes, the word "disabled" is a problem because of its unfortunate implications. It does imply that someone is broken and incapable, which is exactly the wrong idea to convey. The irony is that it was embraced as a less offensive alternative to "handicapped," a word that had taken on derogatory connotations due to extensive bigotry -- and yet if you look at the literal meaning of the word, it's actually more insulting, since "disability" means a lack or failure of ability, while a handicap is simply an advantage given to balance the playing field.)
     
  16. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    Equally the theory B-4 could evolve like Data was unfounded, Picard just assumed it.

    I suppose you could, but it's a little more extreme. Also it's very different when it comes to people.
    I think a good equivalent is those labour holograms from Flesh and Blood, they had no potential to be more than interactive humanoid-shaped tools. They weren't people nor could they ever be, the same could be true of B-4, his purpose could've been to just demo the physical model - see if the form could walk and talk, nothing more. If there's no potential or potential for potential, what are you left with?
    Whereas with Data and the Doctor they overcame built in limitations, namely ethical subroutines - for example Data in The Most Toys and the Doctor in Critical Care overcome this pre-programmed sense (or limitation) of right and wrong. Personally I think displaying their free will was a clear sign of sentience making them people.

    I'm not saying I think I'm right or anything but I just find it interesting, where do we define what constitutes a person in sci-fi?

    Isn't "differently abled" a more accessible term? I mean it has far less negative connotations.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, he gave him the chance to try. As you would with any sentient being. Neither Picard nor anyone else has the right to say that B-4 isn't entitled to exist just because he's below the normal level of intelligence. That kind of discrimination is anathema to everything the Federation stands for.


    Why? That just sounds like more discrimination -- that those who are different from yourself don't deserve the same rights.

    B-4 is a member of the same "species" as Data. If B-4 isn't a person, then neither is Data. And if Data is a person, then so is B-4. And why should B-4 have less right to exist only because he's less intelligent? Everyone is less intelligent than Data. Did he have the right to kill Picard or Riker in order to preserve his own, more intelligent mind?


    You can't prove that, and I don't think it fits the evidence. And frankly if there's any doubt about the question, the ethical thing is to assume that he is sentient unless proven otherwise. If you assume he's sentient and he isn't, then no harm is done. But if you assume he isn't sentient and he actually is, then you're guilty of violating a sentient being's rights and possibly even of murder. The choice is obvious, or should be.


    But it's pretentious and awkward and smacks of "PC." "Abled" isn't even a word.
     
  18. NrobbieC

    NrobbieC Commander Red Shirt

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    You do raise good points, I'm just throwing the what if out there.

    There's more intelligent and then there's B-4 who seemed to be about as advanced as a chat bot. Free will vs programming.
    I wonder, how can you test for sentience when something cannot prove it's sentient? (I ask out of curiosity not pre-judging something to not be sentient)

    Yeah it is haha. I didn't know that, then what is the opposite of disabled?
     
  19. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Indeed. And disliking political correctness DOESN'T mean you're a bigot or an jerk...
     
  20. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    The whole theme of Data's character arc has always been his quest to become more human. He sacrificed himself to save the lives of his friends. Bringing his consciousness back in another body or in some incorporeal computer mainframe just seems to reinforce the fact that he is not human, and somehow I feel like that would cheapen everything he has been through during his life. Keeping him dead is the most human thing you can do for him.