Knowledgeable Data fans, please help me !

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by TauCygna, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One thing I can definitely see is a very career focused woman dating Data because she's looking for all technique and no commitment, but I doubt that's what OP is looking for. :)

    Also a woman who's been abused might consider Data as a man she is 100% sure will never abuse her, but again, not what OP is looking for.

    Yeah, Data maintains a friendship with Geordi but Geordi's a low maintenance buddy. To be Geordi's friend you just have to not be an asshole and not mind very technical discussions in your social time. And if Geordi decided tomorrow he didn't want to hang around Data anymore, he wouldn't be hurt, he'd just quietly accept his decision.

    Vulcans have emotions and can be empathetic, they just choose not to act on those emotions most of the time. Without the emotion chip all he can really do is mimic expected behavior, he can't really understand. With the emotion chip I think he can have a real relationship because he can form a real emotional attachment with a woman and get hurt. Just it'd have to be a really understanding woman who understands the learning curve he has and can bear with it.
     
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why does Data have to properly understand (or have) emotions to be a worthwhile partner? As long as the other person gets what they need from the relationship, what difference does it make?
     
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  3. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah.....Lots of humans have a hard time understanding, expressing and empathizing with emotions...... or have to learn how to go through the motions. Data can form attachments....
     
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  4. TauCygna

    TauCygna Captain Captain

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    Looks like loads of interesting things have been said while I was away ! :hugegrin:

    @JirinPanthosa : In In Theory, Data did follow pre-scrypted behaviours, but my understanding of the situation is that he was not given the opportunity to act "naturally" anyway. I'm pretty sure that if the relationship has continued for a little longer, he'd have been able to learn from trial and error how to properly interact with Jenna, like he somehow figured out how to interact with each of his collegues in a subtly different way. One of Data's strenght is that, despite his lack of human-like emotions, he is excellent at learning from observation and adaptating.
    Now to tackle the reciprocity issue...I don't agree that only post-emotion chip Data would be able to be reciprocal. The way he cares for people around him, especially people who're special to him like Geordi or Lal, suggests that he's capable of giving some sort of kind attention. He may not be able to reciprocate love per se, but he sure is capable of provinding someone attentive care; which I think could be enough for the right person.

    @Mojochi : The way I see it, a good partner for Data would be someone experienced with androids and artifical intelligences, which is the main reason I chose to pair him with a cyberneticist in my fic ;)
    The idea of how his mate would benefit from the relationship isn't so different than the same question applying to a normal, IRL relationship. When I look at Data, I more or less see the same thing as looking at a human being, basically because he has his own personality, his own strenghts and weaknesses. There are things he can do and other things he can't, pretty much like any of us.
    He may not be able to reciprocate emotions the way a human partner would, but he has other qualities. He's always honest, which makes him a very trustworthy person and certainly a good confidant (I can't imagine Data breaking the promise of keeping a secret). He's very curious, eager to learn, and he's never reluctant to trying new things, which would make him a good companion for travels and all kinds of discoveries. His rational thinking makes him good at discussing things with a neutral, unbiaised point of view. He has incredible intelligence and is highly knownledgeable, thus providing infinite possibilities of discussions. He has his own personal way to see the world, much like an innocent child trying to understand his surroundings, that can be seen as refreshing and appealing. There is no cruelty, no selfishness in him. When he makes a decision, he is very commited to it and won't let go at the first difficulty.
    Those are all highly desirable personality traits for many people, so I don't doubt there are people who would like Data for who he is, despite the fact he's not exactly "human".

    Those ^ ^ ^
    That sums up the whole thing quite well ! Since Data can form some sort of bonds and can learn how to intereract in a personal way with each person, then I think he could meet his partner's needs somehow - given that said mate is fully conscious of Data's limitations.
     
  5. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree Data could eventually learn how to behave in a relationship, but wouldn't the person always know he was just executing learned behaviors? Like, Google may be able to learn what to advertise to me that I might actually want to buy, but it isn't emotionally devoted to delivering me quality products. Facebook isn't showing me things to giggle at because it likes to make me laugh. And sans the emotion chip, wouldn't the woman come to the same conclusion about Data?

    Is it really any different than the movie Her?

    Not that I don't think in the real world people will be dating robots 50 years from now. Just I think for non-narcissists it would be a purely physical substitute for people who feel emotions back.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  6. TauCygna

    TauCygna Captain Captain

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    Except that Google or Facebook ad services are not complex enough to be self-aware or sentient in any way. They are rather simplistic algorithms programmed for the easy task of matching search entries with related results.
    On the contrary, Data is sentient and self-aware. Not only that, he is also aware of people around him and the fact that they are sentient beings too. Even if he doesn't experience empathy in the same way most humans do, he knows they can feel and is capable of analyzing others' facial expressions, voice tone, and so on, to find an appropriate answer.
    I'd like to draw attention here on the fact that not all humans have strong empathy, yet they are still considered humans. In the case of Asperger Syndrom, for example, most Aspie people lack the ability to properly read facial expressions and have to use other factors to know what's going on in their interlocutor's mind. They have to analyze the situation and its details to find an appropriate answer, much like Data. That doesn't make them less human, nor does it mean their efforts to understand others are superficial.

    That being said, ultimately yes, Data's reactions will always rely on complex computations in binary language. But our reactions, as biological beings, don't come from nowhere either. Our feelings, memories, emotions and everything we consider "noble" and "human" in the way we think, are just electro-chemical reactions in our brains. When the chemicals aren't balanced, we exhibit disorders (depression, anxiety...), our reactions can become irrational and non-sense (ie : bipolar disorders), or we can even die. Each experience we go through slightly changes the brain wiring, leading to a unique brain architecture that determines many of our reactions. Let's not forget that part of the brain wiring is genetically inherited, too : bipolar disorders, anxiety and depression are partly genetic d inherited from ancestors. This plays as a form of biological programming we can cannot change.
    Looking at those facts, I personally see a lot of common points between a human being and a human-conceived sentient, self-aware AI. Both are programmed to a certain extent.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And every relationship is like that anyway, deep down. A learns what B likes, B learns what A likes, and they act upon that, pretending it's not a game. The more complex the game, the easier the pretense, and Data can be complex enough to make this worth the while of the partner.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. TauCygna

    TauCygna Captain Captain

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    @Timo : yeah, exactly ! I've been married for almost 10 years, and my relationship with my husband is continually changing and adaptating. We learn from each other continuously. My husband is partly responsible for the woman I am today, as well as I am partly responsible for the man he is, because we kind of "made" each other by trial and error during all those years. It's not so different from how Data would adapt to his mate.
     
  9. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And I'm saying I think he's more than that. He is certainly designed with the intention to be more than that, & even before the chip, he demonstrates it. Yar's death... Geordi's death in The Next Phase. These have a legitimate effect on him. These people are meaningful to him. I have no doubt there can be more examples of it for him, including someone who wants him to be an intimate partner

    Aren't we all just executing learned behaviors? The significance lies in why we chose to execute them. It was difficult for Jenna to SEE the meaning in Data fabricating his "Lover's Quarrel" with her. His inexperience with conveying that meaning, coupled with a clumsy lack of knowing how relationships work, failed him there. Real moments are forged from understanding, & he's still grappling to achieve that with her. My personal opinion is they didn't know each other well enough for this. Anyone who ever decides to couple with Data will probably have to know him for a good long while & share in some pretty intense or profound experiences... life & death... triumph & loss...that kind of thing which truly demonstrates what a person is made of.

    Geordi & Data achieve real understanding moments all the time, when Geordi won't help Data's Borg simulation in Descent, when Data WILL help Geordi with his obsession in Interface. They connect. There is meaningful relation there. Frankly... if Geordi & Data were open to a homosexual coupling, we'd already have the very relationship we're discussing.
     
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  10. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    People with Aspergers may have difficulty interpreting and reacting to emotions but they sure feel them. Dating an emotionless robot is more like dating a sociopath.

    I agree with the argument that Data's brain is complex and adaptable enough to replicate sentience.

    Also I agree that people never really know what the other is thinking or feeling. But I have a common frame of reference for their range of possible emotions, there's no common frame of reference with an emotionless android.

    I can only think of how I'd feel if I met a beautiful emotionless robot complex enough to adapt to my needs. Deep down I'd always know she was just executing a programmed series of responses.
     
  11. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But Data's existence goes beyond just attending to people's needs. He is not just a tool or servant. He has his own will. He chooses to join Starfleet. He chooses to make another like him. He chooses the people with whom he will form relations. These are meaningful personal choices denoting desire

    The point being, your perspective assumes Data is truly emotionless. Despite his testimonial to the contrary (Which is subject to his maker's design) that everybody just seems to take at face value, because it appears true on the surface, I hold to the notion that he actually does have something emotional within him, even if only micro-emotions by human standards. After all, both Julianna & Lore did have them, & Data is designed to have them. Heck, even Lal who was designed from Data's positronic brain, developed an aberration such that she felt them eventually too. Data is supposed to have them, & though they have been blocked or in some manner deactivated, still leaves the potential for them to be in there. If I have a perfume bottle, but I've taken out all the perfume. I can still smell the perfume lol

    I'm willing to bet even B4 has some kind of emotional awareness. By all accounts, no Soong type android ever had no emotions. Data was just denied access to what Soong worried might be another failing, until such time as he was confident they'd work right
     
  12. TauCygna

    TauCygna Captain Captain

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    So the female hero of my fic will happily date a sociopath. Let's do this ! :hugegrin::hugegrin::hugegrin:

    Anyway, maybe it'd be more convenient to move the debate about Data's emotions on another thread ? So I can keep this one for questions and references ;)
     
  13. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Lots of people (knowingly and unknowingly) date sociopaths....... and I think it is shortsighted to assume a sociopath would, by definition or by nature, automatically be bad, evil or immoral.

    The show Supernatural dealt with this recently, by having a formerly good person, left with no soul, and therefore no feelings and connections but full sets of memories and intelligence, make his decisions based on the question, "What would Mister Rogers Do?" Lol.

    Going through the motions of what you are "supposed" to do is not the sole realm of androids. Even a character like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory acts primarily on social convention, and not the underlying social connections.
     
  14. velour

    velour Commander Red Shirt

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    Jenna should not shoulder all the blame for the breakup with Data. Data was just as much at fault. The relationship was seemingly an experiment for Data. It was a dating program that Data was operating under while they were dating. Data was trying to satisfy his own desire to be more human.

    Data should have made clear to Jenna that he was incapable of organically loving another person.

    Jenna was right when she made the observation that Data's behavior was "forced and artificial". Data was going through the motions of how he believed he should behave as a mate. There was nothing genuine behind his actions. And Data admitted that.

    And Jenna made another correct observation, "Because as close as we are, I don't really matter to you. Not really. Nothing I can say or do will ever make you happy or sad, or touch you in any way."

    Data responded, "That is a valid projection."

    When they broke up, it didn't affect Data in any meaningful way. The relationship didn't help Data evolve. It was just the end of an experiment or programming.

    One of the flaws of Data, imo, was that he was trying to be something that he was not.

    Data's dating experience with Jenna demonstrated the paradox of Data's overall programming, imo. I think Data's creator did Data a disservice by instilling in Data a desire to be human when he is incapable of really becoming like a human. Why couldn't Data have been satisfied with what he was as an android when it came to romance and things of that nature?
     
  15. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    He did. It was literally the first thing he said when she first implied interest in him.

    I blame neither of them. It just didn't work out.
     
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  16. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I kind of blame them both myself. She clearly hadn't thought through WHO she was dating, just why she wanted to date him, which for some humans, under normal circumstances, would maybe be a normal thing, just giving it a go, but with Data, how can anyone possibly think it would be that easy?

    & Data didn't invest in a genuine relation enough, the way he might with someone who he has known in the kind of meaningful ways as with someone like Geordi. He did seem to rely too heavily on programmed experimentation too much, even for him. I'd like to think if it was a person who he'd had other meaningful history with, he might not be as inclined to do so. I've seen him engage in social relations of other kinds in a much more casual way, without resorting to textbook analyses & overly simplistic hypothesis. It took time for him to wrap his head around it, but he learned

    Another thing that was at fault was the very broad & conflicting feedback he got from his friends on it. Riker's take is just plain hazardous, Troi's was way too condemning, Geordi's was all over the place. Picard wouldn't go near it with a 10' pole, & Guinan did barely any better, except to hint that there was already something there to not interfere with, which was still a manner of influence, a positive reinforcement, if you will

    Frankly, how can a guy with no real time experience in this pin down anything reasonably, when the only real time advice he got was just chaos? So he turned to his researcher roots, which isn't enough, clearly
     
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  17. TauCygna

    TauCygna Captain Captain

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    Hey guys, just checking...Soong type androids don't abide by Asimov's 3 laws of robotics, right ? From the episodes I watched so far, Data's and Lore's behaviours don't match the laws so I am pretty sure they weren't programmed with it. But maybe Data says the contrary on a later episode ?
     
  18. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not as such, no. Data does have a similar directive regarding taking life, that it can only be done in defense, but it doesn't apply in the same ways as Asimov's, which is somewhat slave function, without autonomy. Data doesn't have to die in the event his safety conflicts with not taking life, for example. Asimov's 3rd law, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law, means a robot can't protect its own existence, when it means taking life or harming someone. Data can do that, thereby rules 1 & 3 don't apply. As for rule 2, Data doesn't have to obey ANY orders, except that he has sworn an oath to Starfleet, which carries an obedience with it, but apart from that, rule 2 doesn't apply either
     
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  19. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    Much of the discussion above serves to highlight the differences between Robot and Android. By Asimov’s definition, a robot doesn’t need to conform to humanoid appearance and is totally subservient to human masters. An by accepted definition, a humanoid simulacrum a d granted greater autonomy of thought and action. IMHO, anyway.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, android = "like a man". Data probably at most has rules precluding feminine behavior...

    Does Data have an aversion to killing? He generally kills left and right at Picard's command, pushing the right buttons on the starship console dedicated to mass murder; OTOH, he has nonlethal means available when coming face to face with opponents, more of those than most Starfleet officers in fact. His arguably low kill rate of characters who actually appear on screen and have lines is IMHO better explained by the latter means than by some sort of underlying programming, then.

    One wonders how much to read into Data and Lore supposedly being Soong's answer to "Asimov's dream" of positronic brains. Did Soong try and devise Asimovian brains and the call them "positronic" out of respect to the author? Did Soong build brains that were positronic in nature (whatever that means in 24th century jargon) and his colleagues consequently ridiculed him for doing "the Asimov thing"? Certainly we lack references to the Laws, but what other sort of connection could there really be to these fictional thinking machines that Asimov never defined except through "they follow the Laws"?

    Timo Saloniemi