Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

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madd0ct0r
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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-07-29 02:52pm

Zixinus wrote:
2018-07-29 01:44pm
Lord Revan wrote:
2018-07-28 05:29pm
Jub wrote:
2018-07-28 02:57pm


The same way very unsocialized Vulcans deal with it. Using logic, Starfleet rules and regulations, and occasionally advice from others to achieve a very regular outcome when it comes to his duties. He'd be stiff as hell but his assigned tasks would get done and everything would be well documented which military brass tends to love.
Also Data is the Enterprice's Operations (and Science officer?), so he's in technical branch rather then the command branch, which would help futher as the mechanics of the ship don't care if you're a social person or you either use them correctly or not.
Except that for something as large as a starship, you won't be just dealing with the machines but other people dealing with machines, as no one person can know and do everything (not even Data). I don't think he'd be fully knowledgeable but under 15 years, he must have developed extensive social experience and protocols for at least working with everyone day-to-day.
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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Crazedwraith » 2018-07-29 03:04pm

Tangential but how big of a department is operations officer anyway. Data is 2nd officer by rank/seniority not because of the prestige of the ops officer position.

The only other show that has that position is Voyager and it's held down by Ensign Harry Kim for 7 years. When Data's thought dead though Worf going from tactical to ops is treated like a promotion.

Still the ops officer position doesn't seem to do more than sit on the bridge scanning things and sometimes hailing them when tactical doesn't want to bother.
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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-07-29 07:53pm

Crazedwraith wrote:
2018-07-29 03:04pm
Tangential but how big of a department is operations officer anyway. Data is 2nd officer by rank/seniority not because of the prestige of the ops officer position.

The only other show that has that position is Voyager and it's held down by Ensign Harry Kim for 7 years. When Data's thought dead though Worf going from tactical to ops is treated like a promotion.

Still the ops officer position doesn't seem to do more than sit on the bridge scanning things and sometimes hailing them when tactical doesn't want to bother.
the problem is that we don't really know what falls under the "operations department", it could be quite large or really small depending on what functions it handles.
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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Batman » 2018-07-29 08:27pm

Indeed. 'Command' is pretty well defined, as is 'science'. But 'operations' basically seems to be 'everything else' (not that that was any different during the TOS era, they just switched the colours)
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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Starglider » 2018-07-29 09:27pm

Essentially, the Trek writers couldn't make up their mind how Data's brain should work and ended up writing something inconsistent. The hardware is repeatedly and unambiguously described as a physically implemented neural net with a fair degree of human biomimicry. Clearly it is directly interfaced to Von Neumann type support processors capable of running conventional software, but those are secondary. There is no fundamental reason why creativity and emotions would be especially hard, compared to all of the mental and physical tasks Data does complete; a neural net design initialised from experience only should behave like a human(oid) with a good cybernetic interface, not an engineered software system. Yet sometimes they like to talk about 'subroutines' and focus on Data doing symbolic logic and maths more like a computer. Sci-fi writers like to focus on things that humans do and 20th century computer software didn't, rather than a progression of capabilities more like the evolutionary history of humans (and even simple vertebrates have emotions). In universe I guess you'd put it down to deliberate engineered blocks added for the second prototype (no mean trick in itself), as Lore didn't seem to have these limitations.

I'd note that it is possible to have a finely meshed hybrid of neural network and non-neuromorphic AI technologies (symbolic, statistical etc), and this is in fact the direction that cutting edge pratical applications are heading despite the wishes of the NN die hards, but the details of this are not something that 99% of sci-fi writers try to understand or model in their stories; rather they just mix some amount of human-like behaviour with their perception of 'machine-like' behaviour as dramatically and stylistically convenient.

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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-30 07:44pm

^That brings up a thought to me though, Lore.

He acted consistently more 'human' than Data in all his appearances, and even evoked some emotion without an emotion chip; certainly he seemed pretty happy to screw the Enterprise crew over whenever he ran into them.

Is it really any wonder Soong may have thought that an excess of emotion was perhaps a major flaw? That perhaps it was better for Data to develop a slower, gradual understanding of human society in order to fit in more seamlessly, rather than exuberantly wallowing in whatever mood struck him?

To a certain extent, it seems to me that Lore was in many ways rather child-like in his petty vindictiveness. Certainly he was highly intelligent and articulate, but his maturity level wasn't that high. So Soong, I think, could well have wanted Data to become 'mature' and understand his own emotions and those of the people around him before actually being able to express them.

That doesn't have a whole lot to say about 'creativity' but it's more speculation about Data himself, I guess...
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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Jub » 2018-07-30 07:58pm

Zixinus wrote:
2018-07-29 01:44pm
Except that for something as large as a starship, you won't be just dealing with the machines but other people dealing with machines, as no one person can know and do everything (not even Data). I don't think he'd be fully knowledgeable but under 15 years, he must have developed extensive social experience and protocols for at least working with everyone day-to-day.
It's possible Data relied heavily on his second-in-command for the social side of his duties while taking on a level paperwork and organization that most other officers couldn't. Star Fleet seems like the kind of organization that would accommodate those sorts of needs. Hell, think about the level of care that it would have taken to assemble the first mixed-species crew and the level of ongoing protocol and support they need to maintain that level of integration. Data is unusual, but as a single officer, he's nothing compared to that.

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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-31 12:43pm

Jub wrote:
2018-07-30 07:58pm
Zixinus wrote:
2018-07-29 01:44pm
Except that for something as large as a starship, you won't be just dealing with the machines but other people dealing with machines, as no one person can know and do everything (not even Data). I don't think he'd be fully knowledgeable but under 15 years, he must have developed extensive social experience and protocols for at least working with everyone day-to-day.
It's possible Data relied heavily on his second-in-command for the social side of his duties while taking on a level paperwork and organization that most other officers couldn't. Star Fleet seems like the kind of organization that would accommodate those sorts of needs. Hell, think about the level of care that it would have taken to assemble the first mixed-species crew and the level of ongoing protocol and support they need to maintain that level of integration. Data is unusual, but as a single officer, he's nothing compared to that.
Makes sense.

Hell, IMO it's quite plausible that Starfleet has some sort of "Intro to Human Behavior 101-404" course that's mandatory for nonhuman officers at the Academy. It's no great stretch to assume that they could've decided Data needed to take such a class. Particularly given a large percentage of Starfleet personnel are human for whatever reason.

In light of that though it's still baffling why he doesn't understand people better after 15+ years of relating to them and collecting, er, data. He literally doesn't forget anything. Why then does he keep acting like humans are a complete mystery, at least during the first few seasons of Trek (he seems to improve somewhat after)?

Bad writing, pretty much, I suppose...
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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Crazedwraith » 2018-07-31 12:49pm

Not forgetting the fact is one thing, learning the correct lessons from the remembered facts and interpolating from them to get the correct behaviour next time is different.

Not bad writing I'd say, just one that prioritised lessons of the week through Data over long term character development.
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Re: Creative Sterility/Uninventiveness

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-31 01:04pm

Yeah, that's true-- TNG wasn't long-form television. There were some vague character arcs, like Worf developing from a green security officer to (more or less) Klingon nobility who's sticking with Starfleet because he believes in the ideals of the Federation. But in the short term, episode to episode, they definitely were big believers in the status quo, which was why episodes where the Enterprise got blown up or characters vanished until the 'To Be Continued' resumed were always a bit of a shake-up.

This is why Trek probably isn't the best universe to explore alien psychology and whatnot-- an individual character may come to a special understanding of a species within an episode, but it's never really continued past that point. After Darmok, did Picard ever make contact with the Tamarians to explore further their unique take on communication? Not as far as I know within the series (may have been explored in novels?).

Something longer-form like nBSG might have worked better, but usually exploring alien psychology and mentality isn't really a priority in television, mostly because basic drama is what pulls the viewers. Cerebral television doesn't always work out.
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