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StillKirok

Data

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Just thinking about this today.  It seems a little ridiculous that no one could duplicate Data's brain. 

Soong was a genius, and I get that.  Cool.

But the entire Federation, with all its wonders and geniuses, including a planet full of Vulcans couldn't reverse engineer Data?

 

Inventing things from scratch is hard, but reverse engineering is nowhere near as hard, especially when dealing with the kind of technology that already exists.  And even in that unlikely event that no one could duplicate the process, wouldn't a computer, with the precise scanning, be able to do that?

 

Even Data couldn't do it, and that makes no sense.

I think that was a bit of a flaw in Data's story, especially since there were super duper advanced androids 100 years earlier. 

They might have been better off coming up with some sort of material that Data is made of that is very rare as a means of not being able to duplicate him.

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Good point in that there were advanced androids in the previous century; the works of Dr. Roger Corby within the caverns of "the Old Ones", and the androids from Mudd's planet (although those androids were much more binary in their thinking than Data, and lacked his nuances).   But I don't recall the Federation ever purposefully reverse-engineering those androids and probably had some sort of policy against doing so (similar to their ban on genetic engineering) for some kind of fear of an android revolt.   It would make sense since the Enterprise's encounters with those androids were somewhat unfortunate.

A ban on limiting cyber intelligence may also explain why Soong traveled to the Omnicron colony under an assumed name; because he was breaking the law (?).   Just a thought.  Maybe that ban, made in Kirk's time, was lifted around the time of Data's discovery (?).  

At any rate, I'm guessing Data cannot be reverse engineered because after the ruling in "Measure of a Man", he was granted the right to NOT submit his positronic brain for reverse engineering.  Thus, no one had been able to create another stable positronic matrix.  There were attempts.  Commander Bruce Maddox said in MOAM that he'd created a positronic brain, but hadn't quite resolved some issue with signal degradation along the neural filaments (I just watched MOAM recently, so it's still fresh... :P).   

Even Data himself attempted to create a stable positronic matrix and failed, with tragic results, in "The Offspring." 

I would say making the positronic brain isn't the hard part; the hard part is creating the stable positronic matrix for the mind that occupies the brain.  And creating a mind is always difficult, let alone one that is fully finished and stable right off the showroom floor...

 

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Just thinking about this today.  It seems a little ridiculous that no one could duplicate Data's brain. 

Soong was a genius, and I get that.  Cool.

But the entire Federation, with all its wonders and geniuses, including a planet full of Vulcans couldn't reverse engineer Data?

 

Inventing things from scratch is hard, but reverse engineering is nowhere near as hard, especially when dealing with the kind of technology that already exists.  And even in that unlikely event that no one could duplicate the process, wouldn't a computer, with the precise scanning, be able to do that?

 

Even Data couldn't do it, and that makes no sense.

I think that was a bit of a flaw in Data's story, especially since there were super duper advanced androids 100 years earlier. 

They might have been better off coming up with some sort of material that Data is made of that is very rare as a means of not being able to duplicate him.

What annoys me, while not canon, is the absurd level they took the notion in the books.Long story short, Data is in love with Flint's (Requiem for Methuselah) Rayna. He can only save one and Data chooses to save Flint because he's the only one that can resurrect Lal because he's the only one that understand the "artistry" in a positronic brain. I recall the author even goes so far as to have someone say, "You could reproduce the work of daVinci to every pigment and brush stroke, but it still wouldn't be a daVinci.".

Only because he did it first.

It's nonsense. Lal's  an incredibly complex machine, but it's a mechanical device. It works this way. Do this to it and you will get that response. There's nothing "beyond understanding" to it.

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Good point in that there were advanced androids in the previous century; the works of Dr. Roger Corby within the caverns of "the Old Ones", and the androids from Mudd's planet (although those androids were much more binary in their thinking than Data, and lacked his nuances).   But I don't recall the Federation ever purposefully reverse-engineering those androids and probably had some sort of policy against doing so (similar to their ban on genetic engineering) for some kind of fear of an android revolt.   It would make sense since the Enterprise's encounters with those androids were somewhat unfortunate.

A ban on limiting cyber intelligence may also explain why Soong traveled to the Omnicron colony under an assumed name; because he was breaking the law (?).   Just a thought.  Maybe that ban, made in Kirk's time, was lifted around the time of Data's discovery (?).  

At any rate, I'm guessing Data cannot be reverse engineered because after the ruling in "Measure of a Man", he was granted the right to NOT submit his positronic brain for reverse engineering.  Thus, no one had been able to create another stable positronic matrix.  There were attempts.  Commander Bruce Maddox said in MOAM that he'd created a positronic brain, but hadn't quite resolved some issue with signal degradation along the neural filaments (I just watched MOAM recently, so it's still fresh... :P).   

Even Data himself attempted to create a stable positronic matrix and failed, with tragic results, in "The Offspring." 

I would say making the positronic brain isn't the hard part; the hard part is creating the stable positronic matrix for the mind that occupies the brain.  And creating a mind is always difficult, let alone one that is fully finished and stable right off the showroom floor...

 

i always read it that way. Data is alive, by any reckoning... and although current 24th tech can easily duplicate all his essential processes, as Maddox does, they're missing factor X from Soong's research that endowed both Data and Lore with self-awareness, with consciousness, sentience, call it what you will. Soong, like the best industrialists or artists, had a secret ingredient of design that eluded even the best forensic minds trying to analyze and replicate the path he took. Isn't that what MOAM is all about? Reverse-engineering so that this secret could be discovered? But, as Data attests, if you don't have Soong's knowledge or talent, who is to say you would be able to put Data back together again in the same way?

So, machine or not, you can't recreate Data without the vital "key" (the "signal degradation" treknobabble) to creation that apparently only Soong knew. Which begs the question... what was the point? Very odd character, that Doctor Soong...

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Then there's some "technical" bit that Maddox, etc. hadn't discovered yet. That's fine.

But the implication has all too often been, basically, "Build all these parts and put these parts together in a certain way, add magic and you have a two-stroke engine that runs."

Edited by prometheus59650

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I side with Robin on this one; you can replicate and assemble the parts, but fabricating the mind (i.e the stable positronic matrix, whatever...) is the tricky part.

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On 2/28/2017 at 5:40 PM, Robin Bland said:

 

i always read it that way. Data is alive, by any reckoning... and although current 24th tech can easily duplicate all his essential processes, as Maddox does, they're missing factor X from Soong's research that endowed both Data and Lore with self-awareness, with consciousness, sentience, call it what you will. Soong, like the best industrialists or artists, had a secret ingredient of design that eluded even the best forensic minds trying to analyze and replicate the path he took. Isn't that what MOAM is all about? Reverse-engineering so that this secret could be discovered? But, as Data attests, if you don't have Soong's knowledge or talent, who is to say you would be able to put Data back together again in the same way?

So, machine or not, you can't recreate Data without the vital "key" (the "signal degradation" treknobabble) to creation that apparently only Soong knew. Which begs the question... what was the point? Very odd character, that Doctor Soong...

I don't necessarily think that Dr. Soong knew what he did. Something he did was just a little bit different than he thought he did. Maybe one batch of positonic brains had a 1 in one billion bit of a contaminant that changes everything. So he ended up with Data and Lore as totally different than all of his other creations.

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Glad to see the board is back!

I understand the idea of a BAN on making androids like this--though do we have evidence of that?  I know Khan level genetic engineering is illegal, but are intelligent androids?

As for intelligence, Kirk-era androids seemed to be very intelligent--and even have emotion, so that would make them on par or even more advanced than Data.

I know this was much later, but it sure seemed that Data downloaded himself into B-9 in Nemesis. 

So at least he was transferable.

Measure of a Man is a different animal.  I think the "is Data alive" debate is another topic entirely, so I'll try to avoid that despite it really being a good topic.  That's actually why the episode is one of TNG's better ones.  So I can understand that things were limited after that episode simply because by court of law, Data had the right to say no.  But BEFORE that episode, when Data was found, how could they NOT have studied him?  I can't imagine that they wouldn't have scanned every part of his body to get an idea of what they were doing.  Logically, they would have had to do so to let him in the academy.  If anything, it would be more important since they would have had experience with evil androids before.

 

That makes me wonder why Measure of a Man would have even been necessary because all the information on Data should already be available, and forcing Data to submit his brain to testing shouldn't have been needed. 

Logically speaking, they should also need to know everything about Data because as a Starfleet officer, they need to make sure he doesn't malfunction and need to make sure he can be repaired.  So they had to have some kind of massive amount of info as to how he worked.

There should be no reason that they can't duplicate Data exactly, right down to his experiences from the moment they scanned him.  Where he goes from there would be like a Tom/Will Riker thing. 

 

No matter what, we are talking a galaxy with a LOT of intelligent life.  I can't imagine Soong being the smartest of the bunch in this field.  I don't think there would be any job where even the best at it couldn't find a peer, and no scientific problem that only one person can solve--especially in this field. 

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