The Next Generation essay
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The Starship Enterprise commander Picard exhibits a number of mind/body problems in his view of Data. Firstly, he lacks a sense of moral dualism necessary for the determination of wrong and right in his use of android Data since the latter is just a mere machine without an inherent ability to distinguish the wrong from right that is simply a fundamental nature of human beings. Secondly, Picard fails to recognize the aspect of epistemological idealism which states that reality is strictly an immaterial construct of mind that exists only in the independent-minded beings as explained by Hasker.
Although Maddox identifies consciousness as a positive feature, self-awareness and intelligence as the only three criteria of meeting sentience by a human being, morality remains a fundamental characteristic that one requires in order to be recognized as a “person”. One must distinguish accurately between what is right and wrong beforehand using a clear judgment. Ethics and mannerism are also considered.
I am strongly convinced that artificial intelligence will not get to the level presented in the story in the future because androids cannot attain the desired human qualities such as consciousness, self-awareness, morals and coordinated mental constructs. I also believe that Maddox is right when stating that Picard is irrational and emotional in his view of Data. He supports his opinion by saying that machines fall short of meeting the requirements of sentience set by a human being.
I do not agree with the JAG officers’ final ruling because androids cannot attain similar status and mental abilities that human beings have. If Artificial Intelligence does become possible, then we will not be under any obligation to treat machines ethically because machines, such as androids, are humans’ constructs meant to fulfill their interests and curiosity thus could not attain status similar to the one people possess in the universe.