Can a Machine Become Self-Aware? (The Sciences of Computing and Cognition)

  • Barry B. Luokkala
Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)


One of the major characters in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation is the android Commander Data (played by Brent Spiner). Created by Dr. Noonien Soong (also played by Spiner), the twenty-fourth century’s foremost authority on cybernetics, Data are more than just an intelligent, humanoid robot. He is a sentient being. He is so sophisticated in design that he is aware of his own existence. He was introduced in the pilot episode, “Encounter at Farpoint”, at which time he was a Lieutenant Commander, and a member of the original crew of the newly designed galaxy-class starship Enterprise (NCC-1701D) [1]. An ongoing theme in the series is Data’s quest to become more like his human shipmates. In this chapter, we will consider what it might take to create something like Data. In order to do this, we will need to understand something about his technical specifications.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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