Posts Tagged ‘Data’


Consider that in the history of many worlds, there have always been disposable creatures. They do the dirty work. They do the work that no one else wants to do because it’s too difficult or too hazardous. And an army of Datas, all disposable… You don’t have to think about their welfare, you don’t think about how they feel. Whole generations of disposable people.

-Guinan (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 2, Ep. 9 “Measure of a Man“).

1989 Star Trek once again explored a topic as old as time itself, and as recent as ones own Twitter feed today. What makes a person? That is how does one know they are equal with others whom they exist with. Now one will say the Charter of Rights and Freedoms dictates we are all equal. Yet is that the praxis within Canada?

Just as in this episode where an overzealous researcher tries to claim Lt. Commander Data as nothing more than property that can be experimented on. It leads to a trial that pits Picard and Riker against one another in the debate of whether or not Data is sentient.

Now one will argue, we already know all humans are sentient. That may be a fact, but is it a practice?

I look to Toronto, Ontario’s St. Michael’s College sexual assault this past week. Parents responses to the media were not gratitude in discovering a barbaric and horrific practice (sodomizing a student with a broom handle that went viral on social media); but attacked the media for besmirching their student and school’s reputation by breaking a story the school itself had not reported to police. Let that sink in, a child raped, and a school covers up. Parental response is not anger at the institution, but at the media who advocated for the victim.

Is the victim sentient? Seen as having the same rights as the alleged rapists? What does parental and school response tell us?

Same as official opposition leader in Alberta, Jason Kenney (leader of the United Conservative Party) stating he would “keep an open mind” in regards to a ban on conversion therapy if it is brought forward in the sitting of the Alberta Legislature.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)What is conversion therapy? A process to remove same-sex attraction by any means. In essence it is convincing the individual to deny who they are. And yes it is barbaric.

But one party won’t stand with equality, and sentience of all. Rather they are willing to “keep an open mind”. That in itself speaks volumes.

We pretend we are enlightened. We pretend we are better than others by throwing labels around.

But as a society have we moved much beyond the overzealous researched who sees Data as less than, and as such not as equal as others?

Does the quote of Guinan when applied to our world make sense to you?

We still have a false hierarchy of disposability. May not be along the lines of slavery as overtly presented by Guinan, but it still is there.

It is not about challenging another’s beliefs. It is about moving into the understanding of shared equality, and that no one is less than or disposable. No one is property as the episode put it.

As one contemplates stories they hear in the media, and are ready to respond in haste or anger or defense…just once…take time and consider the humanity involved.

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