Reality of Data

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Makarov, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Recently I was thinking about what it would be like if a Data actually existed. Of course he's a fictional character and so is his internal workings, but setting that aside for a moment...

    In TNG we have debates like Measure of a Man, we have the character who didn't want to serve with Data in command etc. It's quite clear that we as the audience are rooting for Data. Playing devil's advocate for a moment, I think in real life it would be much harder to side with a machine.

    You know all those times where Data's programming is malfunctioning or he's been reprogrammed by Lore? Well in reality I think he would instantly carry out those commands. Meaning he would shoot Geordie or Picard without hesitation if it was in his programming.

    I also think he would make much more inhuman mistakes. Pushing Crusher off the boat as an attempt at humor is a good example of this, but I think in reality he would make even worse mistakes. His malfunctions would be extremely dangerous to anyone around him as well.

    Brent Spiner is truly lovable as Data but imagine if a real Data looked slightly inhuman, like the "uncanny valley", where his face or facial movements are just slightly off. It would probably be creepier than Data on the show.

    What do you guys think, would you be as willing to trust a machine?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  2. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    People are just as capable of being unreliable as Data with his "faulty programming." I mean, imagine what a person with a serious mental illness off their medication could do. Humans are filled with cognitive biases that affect perception, judgment, and behavior. I think Data was responsible for saving the ship far more often than he pit it in danger. And you can't really blame him for his actions in "Brothers" or "Descent" since he was being controlled by someone else.
     
  3. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Well, there's things to consider about Data... It's unlikely he's capable, on his own, of doing anything truly dangerous and reckless. Pushing Crusher off the boat was a calculated action, he likely knew Crusher would come through the experience un-harmed given the various safeties of the holodeck and other factors. So I don't think Data would strictly be "dangerous."

    But, as you noted, there is the concern with how easy it seems his programing can be taken over and put others into jeopardy. I mean, this seemed *really* easy considering how unique he was supposed to be and the technology that operated him pretty much worked perfectly by a fluke.

    It's likely any mistakes he would make would be mostly faux pas in social interactions, much like we see in the series, and not necessarily anything that put people at risk or in danger. It's also possible Data operated on something akin to Asimov's "Laws of Robotics" that precludes him from being able to willfully harm people unless the life of himself or another is in danger.

    "Willing to trust a machine."

    Dude, our entire society right-now is based on trusting machines that are infinitely less advanced than Data was supposed to be. We trust machines to do a LOT of things these days, things you probably don't even think about. Granted, there's some checks and balances here in the form of humans who monitor and maintain these machines but, still, an error by a machine can severely dick up the entire world's economy. Granted, not permanently as it's likely backups, redundancies and such will correct things in time but it still wouldn't be a pleasant period of time. In fact I'm pretty sure such a thing *has* happened where an error in a stock market computer nearly caused a crash in the stock market.

    So, yeah, I think I could trust a machine like Data to do things considering how much we already trust machines to do a great many things.
     
  4. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There are even some women who - if given the opportunity and the technological advances were sufficient enough - would marry a machine like Data, no problem! There's just no way I could get with a machine, I can tell you that. And I suspect he would be a very cold bedfellow, at night. All of that plastic and steel. But these ladies could program their personal Datas to spark their interest, whilst also obeying their every command. At first, there might be - might be - social taboos associated with such a practice. But with time, those very same taboos will, themselves, be the turn-on that makes getting with an android too good to pass up. Eventually, android boyfriends and husbands may even enhance a woman's social position ... regardless of their being rather mechanical in the saddle.
     
  5. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    While it's true that a crew member could become mentally ill, they don't pose as much of a risk as Data, who can pretty much hack into the computer or physically beat down the entire bridge crew if he went haywire.

    Of course that wouldn't happen because on the show Data isn't just a machine, he's a person. I just think a real life equivalent would be much more dangerous. Just like when medical devices that have safeties malfunctions and causes a scandal.
     
  6. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    If it were possible to know the "real" Data you propose in this thread like I "know" the Data that "exists" in the pretend world (wow, grok that ten times real fast!) then I would have no problem trusting him...but the "reality" of that is simply impossible...love the question, however...as Trekker points out above, we trust many machines of varying complexity, orders of magnitude less complex than Data, to do shitloads of things for/to/with/at us without our even blinking or having second thoughts...on balance, I would trust the concept warily and cautiously at first! and then get used to him like we get used to everything else...
     
  7. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    Wonder if Spielberg thought of the Data/Tasha thing with Joe in AI...

    "Hey, Joe, whaddya know?" :rofl:
     
  8. bbjeg

    bbjeg Admiral Admiral

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    Right here buddy.
    Dem androids ar takin' our jobs!

    -The South
     
  9. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    the Enterprise itself could go haywire, as seen in "Emergence." The more we become dependent on technology, the more risk there is, but we also gain tremendous benefits. Technology is just a more complex form of tools, and we don't discard them because they can be misused.
     
  10. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    Even more than that. Data is not even the only crew member that proved susceptible to mind control or being fallible. EVERY crew member on the ship has been subject to it at least once or twice. Riker's promiscuity got the entire crew addicted to a mind altering game. Everyone's memories have been tampered with more than once. Troi's telepathic/empathic nature was used against her more than once, even Geordi's visor was used twice against them by enemies, before he got the ocular implants

    That's the key, once he realized what a vulnerability it was, he upgraded. That's what they do when they find a weakness that gets exploited, they correct the problem, if possible. I'm sure that even though they never remarked about it, we can assume that once some of Data's failings were discovered, they corrected some things to see that it couldn't happen anymore, just like any of us or them would do. Because someone is fallible is not a reason for prejudice against them, & it's overwhelmingly obvious that they count Data as a someone & not a something
     
  11. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I definitely see what you're saying, that if there were a real sentient machine there would be Asimovian ways to trick him into murder, or ways to hack his moral reasoning circuitry like with the Doc in Equinox.

    Also it'd be much harder to convince people that an android is truly sentient, and truly an individual with rights.

    One could also argue though that for an android to be as convincingly sentient as Data it must have circuitry that mimicks the chemical processes in the human brain, meaning the ability to generate new ideas, new behaviors and recombine existing circuitry in unpredictable ways, which would be a lot harder to hack specific ideas into than a traditional machine.

    Suppose you could make custom neurons and insert them into the human brain the way you can add new circuits to a computer. Do you know how hard it would still be to even add a simple idea like 'Apple' that way? It'd be just as hard to program specific ideas into a truly sentient machine.
     
  12. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You got that right! :rommie:
     
  13. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    ...and it's time we dun sumpin' 'bout it!... :klingon:

    Hmmm...excellent "point", and not something I even considered...
    ...hell, we still can't even get along with the differences between humans...throw an android into the mix, or even something like a Hal 9000....or Mutants...well, I think we will get our chance to see how some of this resolves...maybe not in our lifetimes, but soon, je pense...
     
  14. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    ...and would you be willing to go further and say that guys, also, could get attached to their "cold bedfemmes/fellows"????...sort of like an artificial "Mudd's Women/Men"???...I am sure the "Companionship Units" would come with all manner of enhancements and comforts, from choice of Voice to warmth and naturalness of skin and hair...their customer base would be large...and would not tolerate artifice in tactile or emotional "feel"...IMO...
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  15. Kevman7987

    Kevman7987 Captain Captain

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    I don't know. I know I'd prefer a biological companion. Though it would be easier to have an android that won't ever "fall out of love" with you or need to be "picked-up/courted"...
     
  16. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Androids with female features are just high-tech, expensive blow-up dolls. And although some wouldn't mind, a Man still has his pride to think of ...

    And what greater reason is there to boast, than in claiming the woman who nobody could get with? Holding her close, in victory. Showing her off, at all the right places. Taking her to all of the right parties. And just 'taking' her, of course.

    That ... that's what it's all about! And where's the passion with a robot? No ... there's just no substitute for an attractive, real-life, flesh-and-blood woman. And that's the way we like it, really, am I right, fellas? Or Am I RIGHT?!!
     
  17. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No need for android sex toys when you have the holodeck. Just don't forget to leave the safety protocols on if you know what I mean.

    It doesn't come across in the show but I think an android's face would look a bit off which might give off slightly creepy vibes. To the point where it would be as non-mainstream as "real dolls" are today. Not to mention, I get the feeling in the Star Trek world people can find out what you're spending your credits on.

    I love Data's response to getting dumped in that one episode, "I will delete the appropriate program"
     
  18. Kevman7987

    Kevman7987 Captain Captain

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    If there were Data-like positronic androids, I do admit I'd probably purchase an attractive "female" model. It would be mostly in a care-giving role due to my health issues though. However, I would make sure that "she" is fully-functional in various other capacities as well, like housekeeping for example. We'd be best friends too. "She'll" give me high-fives every time I crack a one-liner.
     
  19. HIjol

    HIjol Admiral and Consummate Peacemaker Premium Member

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    I feel your resolve, Two-Takes, and yield to your rebuttal! :techman:

    LOVE your style, Kevman, and the high-fives you would certainly get!!!! :bolian:
     
  20. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here's the catch-22 of the 'Female android companion' though. There are three options.

    1. The android is very realistic but not sentient. In which case it's just expensive masturbation.
    2. The android is sentient, and you force it to be your companion or even program it with the desire to. This is slavery.
    3. The android is sentient, and you do not force it at all to be your companion. Then the android can leave you just like a biological woman can.

    #2 is morally repugnant, and #1 is not morally repugnant but can not be a true marriage because she does not return the affection. #3 is no different than real marriage and thus would not have any hedonistic advantages over it.

    #1 is probably a generation away.