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Does Data's quest for humanity make sense?


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Report this May. 17 2011, 3:14 pm

My signature quote notwithstanding, I think it's fair to ask whether Data's desire to become more human is a reasonable one.  My wife feels that Data should have accepted his android nature for what it was, and not tried to become more like humans.

Also, why choose humans to emulate?  Sure, he was found by Starfleet officers, presumably humans, but is that a convincing reason to emulate them?  Odo took the appearance of his Bajoran caretakers, but he never tried to act like them, and instead embraced his identity as a changeling.  Would it have made more sense for Data to do the same?

"We must strive to be more than we are, Lal. It does not matter that we will never reach our ultimate goal. The effort yields its own rewards." - Data, "The Offspring"


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Report this May. 17 2011, 3:43 pm

What if Geordi, for instance, decided to emulate android
qualities, because he used cybernetic implants? Seriously,
audiences would look at him like he was a complete idiot.

The whole thing is absolutely absurd. I never cared for that
aspect of the Data character. There are more apt ways to
remind the audience of our uniqueness and responsibilities
to mankind. Having that stuff voiced by a Socially Inept robot
did nothing for me. He should've just strived for its own sake.

Matthias Russell

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Report this May. 18 2011, 4:34 am

Data was programmed to grow and want to be more human by dr Soong.  Even if he should have acceptd himself for what he was, the desire to become more than that was so deeply installed into his neural net that trying to be more human was who he was.


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Report this May. 18 2011, 8:46 am

I liked the brief exchange between Data and Spock reguarding how Data was programmed with what Vulcans try all their lives to achieve. I think the problem with his character is if you don't have him trying to be human then what do you do with him character wise for the series? Just have him show up to save the ship and do spectacular things? I didn't think him trying to be human was interesting but there just isn't much more to do with him.

Are you sure it isn't time for a colorful metaphor?


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Report this May. 18 2011, 8:53 am

Lore was very aware that he was superior to biological life. It read to humans as arrogance he was disassembled because of it.

Data was programmed to be humble and questing humanity.This did not scare people and he was accepted.

Soong was a genius



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Report this May. 18 2011, 9:23 am

I think Data 'chose' to want to be like humans based on his creator/'Father', Dr. Soong.  Right or wrong he wanted to be more human like.

I think that maybe Dr. Soong didn't want Data to just be an 'Android' and wanted him to want to 'grow' from his original programing.

We tend to strive to be something we're not, to grow beyond our 'original programing' so to speak.  We want to better ourselves.  Maybe that's what Soong wanted for Data?

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Report this May. 18 2011, 9:34 am

Data only discovered in 2364 that he was immediately preceded by a "brother," Lore, built with an inferior ethics program and originally disassembled before Data's own creation. The Starfleet android encountered his "sibling" three times in all: once upon his reassembly when first revisiting Omicron Theta in 2364, again when Soong was killed by Lore on Terlina III in 2368 during his theft of the emotion chip meant for Data; and again in late 2369, while commanding a faction of renegade Borg marauders released from the Collective. Lore had coerced Data by suppressing his ethics program, but he was overcome and finally disassembled, the emotions chip going to Data at last.

This is from the Data Base here



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Report this May. 18 2011, 9:34 am

In the sense that Data was at first created for a sci fi allegory as Pinnochio and a rehash for Spock it makes sense that he is on a quest to understand humanity. He believes it will help explain his own existence more because he was created by a human. This is also an allegory for why humans wish to understand humanity to understand philosophical questions like where did we come from and why are we here.

Matthias Russell

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Report this May. 18 2011, 10:36 am

Quote: Trekwolf164 @ May. 18 2011, 8:53 am


>Lore was very aware that he was superior to biological life. It read to humans as arrogance he was disassembled because of it.

>Data was programmed to be humble and questing humanity.This did not scare people and he was accepted.

>Soong was a genius



Well said, sir.


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Report this May. 18 2011, 11:19 am

There is probably a balance to be struck between become a better person and being true to yourself.


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Report this May. 18 2011, 12:48 pm

It makes perfect sense. It's like the V'ger thing - is this all there is - am I nothing more? etc.

Also as somebody else said, what on earth would you do with the character otherwise? Data's struggles with the business of being human added much humour to the proceedings - in much the same way Spock's attempts to lose it did in the original series.


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Report this May. 18 2011, 3:51 pm

Dr. Soong made Data with the purpose to grow and ultimately evolve into something more. If Data just accepted that he was an Android nothing more nothing less the characte would have been alot less appealing to viewers. Data wanting to be human was much more unique than Data just wanting to be an android and only an android.


I also agree to what Trekwolf164 said about the contrast between Data and Lore. If Data accepted being an android and not striving to be more human-like, he would be accepting superiority to the humans he worked around. This could've cause animosity amongst crew members.

"I do not believe it is justified to sacrifice one life-form for another."-Data


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Report this May. 18 2011, 5:37 pm

There was a time or two where Data was questioned, "So you believe you are superior to us (humans)."  He flatly stated, "Yes, in many ways."

Dr. Soong was probably how Gene Roddenberry inserted himself into the stories.  Creator and creation and seeking out the mysteries of this life.  Most humans don't accept who they are and emulate those they admire.

Many of us make excuses for the things we do that might not be agreeable with others around us exclaiming, "I'm only human."  Yet, there is more than just humanness.  We can become better than we are even in the midst of what ever it was that had us acquire our personality, quirks, and habits.  There are always possibilities!

Star Trek explores that humanness in every story, and Data is the focus of the moral to the story.  We all learn.

Why didn't Data just accept who he was?  He wanted more.

"If Man is to survive, he will have learned to take delight in the essential difference between people and cultures" -Gene Roddenberry -=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Col. P. A. Stevens CO, USS Code Talker NCC-1195

Ezri Janeway

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Report this May. 20 2011, 1:10 pm

Data accepted what he was for the most part, but accepting who he was meant figuring that out and his only point of reference was his human creator and his mostly human collegues and friends. Seems natural that he would want to experience humanity on the same level.


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Report this May. 20 2011, 10:44 pm

There were the good aspects and the bad aspects.

Good: Data realised that he could be more than he was, and was always striving to improve and develop as a person.

Bad: His reference point for development was based on a goal that he would never attain, and almost on a lack of acceptance for his own unique qualities. "Human" does not equal "Better", just as in this day and age, "Normal" does not equal "Better" and yet we are constantly being fed the erroneous message that it does.

So in his quest for self-actualisation, I applaud Data. In his quest for "humanity", I say he is following entirely the wrong path.

Have you ever danced with a Tribble in the pale moonlight?

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