Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Best of Star Trek TNG---The Measure of A Man
One of the best of the series is an episode of the second season called “The Measure of a Man” written by Melinda Snodgrass.
A cyberneticist wants to dismantle Commander Data to see how he was constructed. Data refuses to be part of this experiment because there is no guarantee that he will be reconstructed the same or what effect it will have on him. He chooses to resign from Starfleet instead.
A JAG officer decides Data can’t resign and a trial determining Data’s sentientence ensues with Captain Picard acting in Data’s defence. Commander Riker is forced to act for the cyberneticist in accordance to the law.
What it comes down to is who and what determines what life is. Data meets at least two of the requirements for sentientence and Picard asks the court if what they intend for Data is to be used as a new breed of workforce catering to those deemed superior, much like the slave labor used on Earth.
The JAG officer, acting as judge, decides that Data is more than a mere machine and has rights. Data is reinstated with full rank and tells Dr. Maddox that he refuses to undergo the experiment.