I think Data just doesn't LIKE to use contractions.

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by TroiFan4ever, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Nacluv

    Nacluv Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 19, 2012
    Peak Performance comes to mind when you read the word "insecurity".

    Actually, some people on disparate personality types boards has suggested that Data is (or would be) more of a feeling type, and even if I do find the typing INFJ incorrect, IMO it's an attestation to the fact that Data is not unisonally viewed as a walking computer.

    I think the affections of Lore is enough asseveration of what very well could exist within Data.
  2. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2012
    The Enterprise's Restroom
    This. :bolian: I've long been of the same opinion. Data is already pre-programmed with things like contractions and emotions -- we saw more than enough examples of both slipping through over the seven seasons -- but there are simply algorithms in place which stop him from 'recognising' these things, hence he can't (consistently) display them (although occasionally one might sneak through by accident).

    Doctor Soong didn't start from the ground-up after Lore went wrong... he simply took the existing template and installed some additional Firewalls to ensure that some of Lore's worse character traits were "hidden" within the Data type, until such time as he was able to figure out how to unlock them without unleashing another Lore on the universe. What we see in the episode Brothers is Soong effectively recalling Data because he's finally come up with that breakthrough: the so-called 'emotion chip'. I say "so-called" because my theory is that the chip doesn't actually give Data emotions. Rather, it simply updates his firmware while removing the restrictions on the emotions that are already built into his core. He was always capable of emotion (re: episodes like The Naked Now where said emotions clearly bubble to the surface), but until the 'emotion chip' was installed, those capabilities were simply locked away within his matrix. Inaccessable.
  3. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 18, 2007
    Right. An innate quality in Data is that he values the achievement of bettering himself, and if his dream program is any indicator, that is what Soong wanted for him that Lore never got, the opportunity to grow into his own sentience. Perhaps missing out on that growth was an important factor in why Lore was so troubled.
    I don't think it's over complicating to want to reconcile what some people think are conflicting elements of a popular character.

    So often I'm dismayed when people dismiss elements of Data as just being poorly written by lazy or incompetent writers, simply because they note surface inconsistencies. All characters have inconsistencies and conflict and can contradict themselves, but in Data's case it's just dismissed as bad writing, when it should be perfectly acceptable that these conflicting elements are part of his nature.

    He didn't know he could dream. He might not know he's exhibiting emotional conditions at some level, and he probably hasn't figured out that he's mistaken about his inability to use contractions.

    It's not like tech or timeline inconsistencies. Data is a character. He's not perfect, nor does he know everything, least of all about himself. If he did, there'd be no character arc at all

    It all works just fine if you think about it.
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Actually a lot of Data's inconsistencies are the result of changes in the writing staff -- not necessarily bad writing, just different writers coming and going and having different ideas about Data's character. As discussed above, the no-contractions thing was a retcon introduced midway through season 1, before which he'd been using contractions routinely. That was a bit of sloppy continuity due to the upheavals in the first-season writing staff. As for Data's lack of emotion, that wasn't overtly codified until "The Ensigns of Command" early in season 3. Originally, the idea was that Data was capable of emotion but that it was subdued and underdeveloped, a potential he hadn't fully realized yet. He was meant to be childlike and naive in his understanding of emotion, but not completely incapable of experiencing it. "Skin of Evil" and "The Measure of a Man" made it clear that he did have feelings for Tasha Yar. But for whatever reason, by the start of season 3 the producers at the time decided that they wanted Data to be totally devoid of emotion, a decision I've never understood.
  5. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 18, 1999
    Yes, it is very silly. Basically, contractions are Data's kryptonite. :guffaw:
  6. Draculasaurus

    Draculasaurus Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 14, 2011
    Yeah, there's definitely a similarity between Data's behavior and experiences and autism.
    I friend of mine, after being diagnosed with autism mused; "no wonder I always identified with Data more than the other characters".
    At the same time, I don't think that we can conclude that an inability to express (or experience) emotions has anything to do with using contractions.
    If someone with Asperger's "feels" more comfortable using formal language, that's still an emotional response which Data doesn't have.
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    That's not what I was suggesting. I was simply saying that contractions can be considered analogous to slang and idioms in that they're a form of abstract and nonliteral communication, using one word to represent a different one (or ones), and thus a person who has difficulty grasping the latter could also have difficulty with the former.