Offering a unique foil to the human experience and a challenge to notions of technological superiority, Data is one of the most fascinating characters in the Star Trek franchise. Originally intended to be a “Mr. Spock” figure in Star Trek: The Next Generation, he was often associated with logic and reason and a profound misunderstanding of human interaction. His quest to discover his own humanity quickly turned him into a beloved character with his own sense of purpose.
As a crew member aboard the Enterprise-D under Captain Picard, Data had many responsibilities augmented by his android super strength and computation abilities. While these were impressive, it was his pursuit of trying to comprehend things like humor, love, and the intricacy of human emotions that made his interactions so memorable. Below are 10 logic memes involving Data that are sure to overload your neural net.
10 RAGE QUIT
In one memorable episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data endeavored to understand humans propensity for and compulsion towards competition. Riker explained to him that “healthy competition” in the spirit of good sportsmanship helped humans improve themselves by challenging others.
The Enterprise hosts a renowned strategist aboard, and the crew is anxious to see if Data can beat him at the game he’s most known for. When Data loses to him, it’s because he tried to beat him. When he simply plays to stay in the game longer than his opponent, his opponent becomes too frustrated and ultimately rage quits the game. Data wins!
9 I’M STUCK, CAPTAIN
As an android, Data’s positronic neural network is capable of making hundreds of thousands of computations in a matter of seconds. Like a walking, talking computer, he can determine several different outcomes to events, as well as infer probabilities and strategies many times faster than his human crew counterparts, making him an invaluable asset.
8 INSTALL AN EMOTION CHIP THEY SAID
One of the major hallmarks of Data’s character is that he desperately wants to be more human. He was made to look like one, but lacks the necessary emotions to fully understand the human experience. Without sadness, anger, and joy, he cannot comprehend human motivations. It was thought he’d eventually have them once his emotion chip got installed.
Whenever he’s had access to an emotion chip, whether from his creator Doctor Soong, or his evil twin brother Lore, he’s always become a basket case. In one instance, his panic and terror caused his best friend Geordi to be kidnapped and him to be an emotional wreck unfit for duty.
7 SUPER COMPUTER
As an android, Data is one walking talking computer. At the time that TNG aired in 1987, Data was said to have been capable of performing 60 trillion operations per second. In comparison to the “super computers” of the late ’80s, he was 60,000 times faster than the fastest super computer in existence.
Nowadays, even though we’re several hundred years before Data would be constructed, the fastest super computer we have on Earth is 500 times faster than Data! When you account for that, isn’t it a little strange that in the 24th century Data still has to “type” anything at all into computers?
6 SIZE OF YOUR DATA
In one memorable TNG episode, the entire crew of the Enterprise get affected by an alien virus that makes them behave as though they’re intoxicated. They’re all unsteady on their feet, slurring their words, and behaving in ways that indicate they lack any inhibitions (including Captain Picard and Wesley Crusher!).
In one extreme case, Security Chief Tasha Yar decides she’s in the mood to be intimate, and she selects for her amorous partner Data. Now you’d think as an android he wouldn’t know the first thing about human relations, but as he so candidly informs her, he is “fully functional” where it counts.
5 THE GAME IS AFOOT
Data spent his entire time on the Enterprise-D endeavoring to study human behavior and replicate it, hoping that in the process he would become more human himself. As an android that looks human but has no emotions, he felt obligated to the task.
In his quest for more humanity, he was introduced to the collective works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes series about the World’s Greatest Consulting Detective. Data began to emulate the super sleuth, using his deductive reasoning to solve mysteries around the ship. What he failed to realize is that Holmes scorned emotions and favored logic, which made him a lot more like an android.
4 DATA CAN GET SICK?
In a few episodes beginning in Season 5, Data goes to sickbay when he’s feeling out of sorts. He can’t exactly get the same bacterial infections that a human could because he’s full of circuitry, not veins of blood, but he can get certain software viruses that cause him to malfunction.
You’d think that on these occasions he’d report to Geordi LaForge in engineering, who is more equipped to handle his dilemma than Dr. Crusher. When she was getting her medical degree, there were no androids in Starfleet, and next to Dr. Soong, Geordi is the expert on android repair from having to fix Data through basic electrical repairs.
3 OTHERWISE IT WOULD BE CREEPY
Dr. Soong fashioned Data after himself, for both posterity and as a means to make an android’s presence more amenable to Federation society. He gave Data all the aesthetic appeal of a human, including technically unnecessary things, like hair follicles, but there were still aspects of Data’s presentation that made some crew members of the Enterprise (notably Riker and Dr. Polaski) uneasy at first.
One would be the strange metallic pallor of Data’s skin, and the other his yellow eyes. Dr. Soong also didn’t necessarily have to make Data blink, but as Captain Picard can assert, being around an “unblinking” Data is enough to make anyone uncomfortable.
2 AND ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS
The relationship that existed between Data and Tasha Yar only lasted a single evening, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression on both of them. Data may have been an android, but he was “fully functional” in the form of an anatomically correct male, and Dr. Soong had even given him a pulse that could “race” when excited.
As for the aftermath of their liaison, Data and Tasha Yar never revisited their chemistry, mostly due to the fact that it was created under false pretenses by alien interference. However, after Tasha’s death not long afterwards, Data continued to remember her and their time together very fondly over the years.
1 TRY FALLING ASLEEP TO THAT
Everyone aboard the Federation’s flagship had to get used to having an android crew member, especially those in command that dealt with him frequently on the bridge. Commander Riker eventually warmed to him after a time, as did Captain Picard, who grew to value his unique insight and computation abilities.
In one notable instance, however, when Picard was endeavoring to sleep on a Klingon vessel after a long day dealing with Klingons, Romulans, and Starfleet, Data made him highly uncomfortable. His version of going to sleep (“powering down”) involved him standing upright, eyes open, and staring straight ahead.
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