Saturday, March 24, 2007


Data is my favourite character on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He's the science officer, an android - super strong and super smart - and the objective observer of humanity. He's like Spock on steroids. Data is the ideal human: analytical, rational, open-minded, and about as unbiased as anyone can get.

He knows how to solve problems, learns from them, applies this information to novel situations - just like we would hope to do. From putting two and two together to conducting breakthrough experiments in physics, robotics, biology, or even cat food design, Data is a renaissance man of science.

Emotions don't get in the way of his calculations. They don't make him stupid or unreasonable or make him lose focus. Without these cumbersome feelings, he can jump straight to the heart of the matter and resolve problems with ease.

More than all these impressive feats, it is his approach to life that is his most compelling quality. Data's silly quest to become human (why? he's way better than we are already!), of "learning, changing, growing, and trying to become than what I am", means we, as real humans, have no excuse to simply allow ourselves to stagnate.


Blogger Delta said...

I agree that the rational, analytical characteristics of Data are great, but he needs some sort of emotional feeling or pro-human orientation in addition. I think you can be perfectly rational and still strive towards very right-wing and destructive goals (especially if you were an android who didn't need clean air to breath), but if you add in a little human sympathy then it makes things much better.

26 March, 2007 11:22  
Blogger Mookie said...

I see your point, and could elaborate on how Data behaves without emotions, and, when he gets his emotion-chip installed, with them, but want to spare everyone the geekfest that will undoubtedly ensue.

His behaviour in the show suggests he has the ability to read emotions, and possibly the ability to mimic them, but not to feel them (until he gets the hardware to do it).

26 March, 2007 11:26  
Anonymous mad as a fish said...

Data is Star Trek's 'Pinnochio' character - And (at the risk of descending into the realms of beard-stroking Gandalf-ness, hmm - I wonder why we are all so hung up about social norms anyway??) in fairness the 24th century humans Data aspired to emulate did seem a great deal more enlightened than your average 21st century knuckledragger...

To divorce intellect from emotion is to destroy creativity perhaps. You would end up dissecting every painting in a gallery to find out what made it 'art' - emotional interpretation is important. it was this random element, beyond the dictates of mathematical understanding, that Data's character was after I guess.

30 March, 2007 06:11  
Blogger Landon Wang said...

He is ironic in the fact that though he is super human, all he wants to do is become more like one.

22 September, 2013 14:17  

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