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Real Lawyer Reacts to Star Trek TNG Measure of a Man (Picard Defends Data’s Humanity) // LegalEagle

Real Lawyer Reacts to Star Trek TNG Measure of a Man (Picard Defends Data’s Humanity) // LegalEagle

– [James] Thanks to INDOCHINO for keeping Legal Eagle in the
air, and helping me look fly. – Rights, I’m sick to death
of hearing about rights! What about my right not
to have my life work subverted by blind ignorance? – That’s not an actual right. (upbeat music) Hey, Legal Eagles, it’s
time to think like a lawyer. Today, we are covering an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, it’s called Measure of A Man. It’s the episode where
Data gets put on trial to determine whether he
is a man or a machine, or both, I guess. It raises all kinds of great philosophical and legal questions: are you a person? Do you have rights under
the US Constitution? And it tells us that
even in the 24th century where you have warp drive and teleporters, you’re still gonna need lawyers. – Da da da da da da da. – As always, be sure to
hit that bell and comment in the form of an objection, which I’ll either sustain or overrule. And of course, stick around
until the end of the video where I give Star Trek:
The Next Generation Measure of A Man a
grade for legal realism. So, without further ado, let’s
dig in to Measure of A Man. – Explain this procedure. (clears throat) – Ever since I first saw Data at the entrance evaluation
at the Starfleet Academy, I wanted to understand it. I became a student of the works of Dr. Noonien Soong, Data’s creator, and I’ve tried to continue his work. I believe I am very close to
the breakthrough that will enable me to duplicate Dr. Soong’s work, and replicate this. But as a first step, I must
disassemble and study it. Data is going to be my guide. – So, the crux of this episode
is that Data is an android. He is an artificial form of life. A member of Starfleet Medical wants to conduct scientific experiments on Data in the hopes of being able
to replicate the intelligence that forms Data’s positronic brain. – You’ve constructed a positronic brain? – Yes. – Data doesn’t want to do that. He thinks that the Starfleet
officer doesn’t have the ability to conduct these
experiments safely, and Captain Picard isn’t willing to give up a member of his crew to be subjected to these experiments. So the question is, does
Data have the autonomy as a person or a thing that
is endowed with personhood to be able to reject this request? Or is he a thing that is subject to the whims of Starfleet, like some computer or some machine? I think this episode is
meant to harken back to some of the darker periods of US history because the US Military itself doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to subjecting
members of the Military and sometimes members of the public to illegal experimentation. You can look at the Tuskegee experiments in World War 2, you can look at the MKUltra
experiments in the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, some
people weren’t even asked to be subjected to these
medical experiments, so at least Data has the
opportunity to defend himself and the right to a trial. – Your response is
emotional and irrational. – Irrational? – You are endowing Data
with human characteristics because it looks human, but it is not. If it were a box on wheels, I would not be facing this opposition. – Overt sentimentality is not one of Captain Picard’s failings- – Boom.
– Trust me, I know. – Oh, snap! – I will tell you again, Data is a valued member of my crew, he is an outstanding bridge officer. – If I am permitted to
make this experiment, the horizons for human
achievements become boundless. – Frankly, I think that these questions probably would have been
solved the moment that Data entered into Starfleet. You wouldn’t let a box on wheels enter into Starfleet Academy and go through all of the
different academic training that is required into Starfleet. So realistically speaking, I
think some of these questions would’ve already been solved but it’s interesting to
tackle them now, at least. – Consider every ship in
Starfleet with a Data on board, utilizing its extraordinary capabilities, acting as our hands and eyes
in dangerous situations. – Look, you’re preaching
to the choir here, why don’t you get to the point? – It’s a classic ends justify
the means argument there. – Data must not be permitted to resign. – Data is a Starfleet officer,
he still has certain rights. – Rights, rights, I’m sick to
death of hearing about rights! What about my right not
to have my life work subverted by blind ignorance? – That’s, that’s not an actual right. – We have rule of law in this federation, you cannot simply seize people
and experiment with them to prove your pet theories. – Thank you. – [Maddox] Now you are doing it. – Yeah, generally speaking,
that would be right. – Data is an extraordinary
piece of engineering, but it is a machine! If you permit it to resign, it will destroy years of work in robotics. Starfleet does not have
to allow the resignation. – Commander, who do you
think you’re working for? Starfleet is not an
organization that ignores its own regulations when
they become inconvenient. Whether you like it or
not, Data does have rights. – That is sort of the
rule of law in a nutshell. The point is that the laws we have should be universal and
applied to everyone. They should not be changed on a whim and given ad hoc exemptions based on philosophical justifications like the ends justifying the means. A lot of people talk about
the first amendment right to freedom of speech but at the same time, they
complain when they hear people use speech in ways
that they don’t like, but the point is that
it’s a universal right and that maybe there would
be more beneficial outcomes. But the point is that individual
rights cannot be subverted based on whim or based on circumstance, they’re supposed to be universal. – Let me put it another way. Would you permit the
computer of the enterprise to refuse a refit? – That’s an interesting point but the enterprise computer is property. Is Data? – Of course. – (sighs) There may be a law
to support this position. – Then find it. A ruling with such broad
ranging implications must be supported. – Yeah, so that would
be generally correct. A computer is moveable property, in other words, it’s what we call chattel. In fact, in my analysis of the Sokovia Accords in
the Marvel Universe, I had an offhand joked is
Vision is really just a computer and therefore Vision was
chattel to Tony Stark. – Data is a toaster. – I don’t think it’s that simple. – But the same arguments could apply here and the odds are there’s not going to be specific legislation out there that says a computer of specific intelligence is considered a person with respect to all of the constitutional rights that are endowed to actual human people. But that is sort of the point
of some of this case law is that when there is a
new example out there, you have to actually go through a trial to determine what the rights are. – I have completed my research. Based on the Acts of Cumberland passed in the early 21st century, Data is the property of Starfleet. He cannot resign and he cannot refuse to
cooperate with Commander Maddox. – I would very much like to
see the language that is used in the Acts of Cumberland
that she’s referring to. I guess maybe I have to stand corrected on my prior statement about
there being legislation that deals with whether a
computer is sufficiently human to constitute a person
under the Constitution. But that being said, this
is actually reminiscent of the Dred Scott v.
Sandford decision in 1857. That was the landmark
Supreme Court decision that held that the Constitution
did not include citizenship for black Americans, regardless of whether they
were enslaved or free, and therefore the rights and privileges that citizenship confers
on American citizens would never apply to black Americans. The plaintiff in that case
was a man named Dred Scott, who was a slave at the time and whose owners took him from Missouri, which was a slave state, into the Missouri Territory, most of which had been designated as free by the Missouri Compromise in 1820. When Scott’s owners took
him back to Missouri, he sued in court, claiming that because he had been taken
into a free US territory, he had automatically been freed, been conferred with the
rights of an American citizen and was no longer a slave. In a decision that remained a blight on the record of the US
Supreme Court for years, they ruled that the Constitution simply did not apply to African Americans. So in essence, Data is going to go through a similar trial here. – What if I challenge this ruling? – Then I shall be required
to hold a hearing. – Then I so challenge,
convene your hearing. – Convene your hearing! – Captain, that would be
exceedingly difficult. This is a new base, I have no staff. – But surely, Captain,
you have regulations to take care of such an eventuality. – Or just make new law. – I can use serving
officers as legal counsel. You, as the senior officer, would defend. – Very good. – And the unenviable task
of prosecuting this case would fall on you, Commander, as the next most senior officer
of the defendant’s ship. – I can’t, I won’t. Data’s my comrade, we
have served together. I not only respect him,
I consider him my friend. – When people of good conscience
have an honest dispute, we must still sometimes resort to this kind of adversarial system. – You just want me to prove
that Data is a mere machine. I can’t do that because
I don’t believe it. I happen to know better, so I’m neither qualified nor willing. You’re going to have to find someone else. – Then I will rule summarily
based on my findings. – Yeah, so that doesn’t work
for a couple of reasons. Number one, a lawyer has
to be a zealous advocate for his or her client. So if you strongly believe that you cannot put forth a good defense or a good prosecution, ethically, I think you are
unable to fulfill the task and I think you need to step aside. Additionally, it would
be completely improper for the judge to rule on an ad hoc basis that just because a lawyer
refuses to prosecute the case to then rule against the defense, that would be a huge violation of the rights of the defendant which, I think you have to assume that Data gets the benefit of the doubt at least in the first instance that he is a person, a member of Starfleet and entitled to certain rights. – [Machine] Verified,
Lieutenant Commander Data. – So I should point out
that as a defendant, you always wanna put
your best foot forward and wearing a yellow one
piece bodysuit to court is not the best way to dress for court. (whispers) INDOCHINO. – Who built you, Commander? – Dr. Noonien Soong. – [Riker] And he was? – The foremost authority on cybernetics. – More basic than that, what was he? – Human? – Thank you. Commander, what is the
capacity of your memory and how fast can you access information? – I have an ultimate storage capacity of 800 quadrillion bits, my total linear computational speed has been rated at 60 trillion
operations per second. – Your Honor, I offer in
evidence prosecution’s exhibit A, a rod of par-steel, tensile
strength, 40 kilobars. – All right, that’s a
pretty reasonable way to add something into evidence. I think he probably should
have laid some more foundation since he’s not an expert in types of steel or the tensile strength of steel, but at least he entered it into evidence before having the witness talk about it, which is actually something that a lot of legal dramas
actually forget to do. So that part was reasonably accurate. Of course, the judge forgot to rule on the motion to add that
piece of steel into evidence. In court, you actually have to say the thing that you’re doing, you can’t just nod
because the stenographer can’t actually take down nods so, the judge sort of said, yes, motion to enter the bar of
steel into evidence is granted, so that it is actually
reflected in the record. – Commander, would you bend that? – Objection! There are many life forms
possessed with mega strength. These issues are not
relevant to this hearing. – I’m afraid I can’t agree, Captain. Proceed with your
demonstration, Commander. – Yeah, that’s not a great objection and it was a good ruling
by the judge here. Essentially what Captain Picard was doing is saying that it’s not going
to prove the ultimate issue, but his objection is going to the weight of the particular evidence not the admissibility. You can enter things into evidence even if they have only
a tenuous relation to the ultimate issue, in this case, whether
Data is human or not. It helps prove or disprove the idea that he is human or property. So Captain Picard was wrong to object just because it’s not as
persuasive as Riker thinks it is, so that it should not be
entered into evidence. That is a question for the
trier of fact to decide and that’s why the judge
overruled his objection, because he goes to the
weight not the admissibility of that particular piece of evidence. – Drawing on the log of the construction of the prototype android, Lore, also constructed by Noonien Soong, I request to be allowed to
remove the Commander’s hand for your inspection. – Objection. – You should probably state your grounds. – Doesn’t matter. Objection withdrawn. – Okay, not sure what the
objection would’ve been. – Proceed, Commander. I’m sorry. (dark music) The Commander is a physical
representation of a dream, an idea conceived of by the mind of a man. – Here, Riker is just
lapsing into argument which you’re not allowed to do while you’re in the middle
of examining a witness. There are examples where you can conduct a physical examination of a witness, which is effectively what Riker has done. You might recall that
in the OJ Simpson trial, there was a big deal made
about OJ Simpson’s ability or inability to wear
a glove that was found at the scene of the crime. – If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit. – And effectively, Riker has
done something similar here in terms of removing Data’s hand. You generally don’t wanna do that because you don’t know
exactly how it’s going to go but here, it’s fairly safe
because Riker knew that he could remove Data’s
hand without much fuss and that’s exactly what he did. The problem is that he is
lapsing straight into argument, effectively his closing argument, while in the middle of
asking Data questions and doing a physical examination. That you are not allowed to do and Picard should be objecting here. – Its purpose, to serve to
human needs and interests. – Arguments. – A collection of neural nets- – Ask a question! – Heuristic algorithms. Its responses dictated
by an elaborate software written by a man, its
hardware built by a man, and now, and now a man will shut it off. – So, the point is well taken that shutting off Data means
he’s not actual human life. Although you could argue that
Riker just committed murder because he turned Data off. The bigger problem from a trial
lawyer perspective is that he is engaging in argument while he should be questioning Data. – Pinocchio is broken. – You’re broken. – Its strings have been cut. – More argument. – Commander Riker has
dramatically demonstrated to this court that Lieutenant
Commander Data is a machine. Do we deny that? No, because it is not relevant. We too are machines, just
machines of a different type. Commander Riker has also reminded us that Lieutenant Commander Data
was created by human, do we deny that? No. Again, it is not relevant. – So this is good, despite the fact that this is total argument that you would normally save
for a closing argument or a motion before the court, I like what Captain Picard is doing here which is that he is
admitting to the things that are sort of optically bad for his case, that Data is a machine, that Data was created by another person. One of the things that you wanna do, whether it is a bench
trial or a jury trial, is limit the number of issues
you actually have to dispute. So that is a great
tactic by Captain Picard, and actually one of the
rhetorical devices that I use in my motions on occasion is I will state what the
opposing side has argued and I will say, that is as
true as it is irrelevant. – I call to the stand
Commander Bruce Maddox as a hostile witness. – So, you don’t actually get to call certain witnesses to the
stand as hostile witnesses. A hostile witness is a real thing, that is not just something you see on TV. What that means is that
you have called that person as a witness to the stand. So essentially, you are asking them to be subject to a direct examination, and as you may have heard in TV, you’re not allowed to
ask leading questions of a witness that you
have called to the stand. Leading questions are totally
okay for cross examination, but they’re not okay
for direct examination. So you are asking the
judge to recognize that although it’s direct examination, the witness is quote hostile and therefore, you should be able to ask leading questions on direct examination. But you don’t get to just
call them to the stand and say that they’re hostile. – Is your contention that
Lieutenant Commander Data is not a sentient being
and thereby not entitled to all the rights reserved
for all life forms within this federation? – Data is not sentient, no. Your Honor, would you enlighten us? What is required for sentience? – Intelligence,
self-awareness, consciousness. – Prove to the court that I am sentient. – This is absurd, we all
know you’re sentient. – So I am sentient, but
Commander Data is not? – [Maddox] That’s right. – Why? Why am I sentient? – Well, you are self-aware. – Ah, that’s the second of your criteria. Let’s deal with the first, intelligence. – So as a tangent here,
this is a huge question not only in the law, which doesn’t really answer the question, but in philosophy, in neurology. There are tons of different
definitions of sentience, of intelligence, of consciousness, of the theory of the mind, and there’s really no good way of being able to prove that someone or something is sentient. But with any definition that
you’re going to run across, you’re going to have problems
of over-inclusiveness and under-inclusiveness. So it’s hard not to
feel bad for Maddox here because it is one of the hardest questions in not only philosophy,
but neurology as well. – Is Commander Data intelligent? – Yes. It has the ability to learn and understand and to cope with new situations. – Like this hearing. – [Maddox] Yes. – What about self-awareness? What does that mean? Why am I self-aware? – Because you’re conscious of
your existence and actions. You are aware of yourself
and your own ego. – Commander Data, what are you doing now? – I’m taking part in a legal hearing to determine my rights and status. Am I a person or property? – And what’s at stake? – My right to choose. Perhaps my very life. – So, rhetorically it’s
great to turn to Data and ask him a question
that totally destroys the statement that the witness just made. But you are not allowed to ask
questions of another person while you’re in the middle
of a direct examination of another witness, it
doesn’t work that way, regardless of how dramatic it seems. It’s totally improper. Now sooner or later, this
man or others like him will succeed in
replicating Commander Data, for the decision you reach here today will determine how we will regard this creation of our genius. It will reveal the kind
of a people we are, what he is destined to be, it will reach far beyond this courtroom and this one android. – Generally, you’re not supposed to make these kind of arguments. This is sort of like Captain
Picard’s closing argument here. And you’re meant to adjudicate the facts of the case before you. And generally speaking,
the judge or the jury or the trier of fact is not meant to consider the far-reaching implications. You are simply supposed to
apply the facts to the law of the case at hand, and that’s sorta the doctrine
of judicial minimalism, that you don’t want people
making broad pronouncements, you want them to adjudicate just the smallest thing they possibly can based on the case that is before them. – It could significantly
redefine the boundaries of personal liberty and freedom. Expanding them for some, savagely curtailing them for others. Are you prepared to condemn him and all who come after him to servitude and slavery? Your Honor, Starfleet was founded to seek out new life. – And new civilizations! To boldly go where no
lawyer has gone before! – Well there it sits! Waiting. You wanted a chance to
make law, well here it is. Make it a good one. – All right, and Starfleet decides that Data is, in fact, a person
and has rights under whatever the equivalent of
the Starfleet Constitution is. – Does Data have a soul? I don’t know that he has. But I’ve got to give him the freedom to explore that question himself. (upbeat music) – But how realistic was it? Well, now it’s time to give
Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Measure of a Man episode
a grade for legal realism. (hammer drops) On the one hand, you have, obviously, a lot of dramatic license taken. They are trying to
decide these heady issues from a member of the
Judge Advocate General that’s trying to make new law in a way that sort of a kangaroo court condensed for 40 minutes on TV. On the other hand, you have
some reasonable things going on. You’ve got someone who is
treated as a hostile witness. You have reasonable arguments being made, a couple good objections and
some good rulings by the court. So I give this episode of
Star Trek: The Next Generation a C+. They boldly went where
they were supposed to go. – Good try, nine out of ten for effort. – Now, if Data was my client, the first thing that
I would have him do is get a proper suit to wear to court. Frankly, a yellow one piece bodysuit is not proper court attire. If you are looking for
proper court attire, I can’t recommend INDOCHINO highly enough. All of my suits are now
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suit is all about fit. I’m a reasonably athletic guy and I can never buy suits off the rack because they never fit right. – Is that vanity? – INDOCHINO will make
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promo code LegalEagle for the best custom suit of your life. – Sounds intriguing. – Do you agree with my grade? Do you think Data is
a person or a machine? Leave your objections in the comments and check out this playlist of all my other real
lawyer reactions over here, or I will see you in court.

Reader Comments

  1. Wow, it seems US lawyers don't have more important stuff to do than this. The USA must be the safest country in the world. Thx YT autoplay…

  2. Objection….data wearing anything else other than anyone else in the court would create something like unconscious bias, perhaps the dress uniform used for formal occasions may be appropriate, reminds me of line ups wear everyone wears a black T-shirt except the suspect who is made to wear a white T-shirt…..

  3. Can you do a reaction video to the trail of Sunry on the planet Manaan in the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic?

  4. When Riker removed data's hand, he should have come up with a catchy rhyme like Johnny Cochrane did, for example, "If Data has no hand, then he is NOT a man!"

  5. Sadly, I must object- Picard claims that Starfleet does not reject their own regulations for matters of convenience. Much like the case of Häagen-Dazs vs Frusen Glädjé, Picard bears unclean hands, as he himself regularly violates Starfleet protocol for matters of practical or ethical convenience.

  6. Insightful video.
    Speaking of A.I. on trial in Star Trek, how about the trial of the Voyagers EMH? Wasn't Datas trial to set some kind of ruling for A.I. or was it limited to androids only?

  7. Any plans to do other Star Trek episodes and movies? TNG’s “Drumhead?” Voyager’s “Ex Post Facto?” DS9’s “Duet?” Star Trek 6’s trial of Kirk on Kronos?

  8. I don't think Picard is looking to define sentience in this scene, he invited Maddox to give his own definition of sentience, then shows why Data meets it.

  9. Objection: Deactivating Data is assault, not murder. Data's off switch is designed to render him temporarily unconscious, and even has a timepiece to log how long he was under or reactivate him at a specific point. A prolonged period is more like a coma than actual death. If Riker had harmed Data in such a way that he *could not be reactivated*, that would be murder. Riker clearly did not, as Data is awake and fully functional for the rest of the episode.
    On a side note, would Lore's capability of emotion and complex behaviors involving them be relevant?

  10. Objection! Starfleet law has had 400 years to evolve and includes the basic laws of hundreds of other Federation aligned worlds to become what it is now (then?).
    It is no doubt very different from Earth law from 400 years ago. Argumenting (sp?) on protocol in this would be like using law from the 17th century in a modern Earth court IE not applicable.

  11. This question should be who created data noonien soong and if you'd worked for starfleet and if their orders him to create an android for service in starfleet then he would belong to them if not I guess he would have been an Android free to apply to starfleet and resign if he wanted to

  12. Objection! In the Star Trek universe, video and holodeck recordings are made of all trials so the judge nodding to say yes to the admission of the steel is permissible. 🙂 Anywhere else in the normal universe, Sustained!

  13. OBJECTION! A box on wheels with equivalent computing capacity to Lt. Commander Data IS a person, and deserves the same rights as a humanoid android.

  14. Objection! How have I not discovered your channel sooner?

    I Love the analysis & the production value. Any thoughts on the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Author, Author" season 7 episode 19? It tackles similiar issues in a similiar matter.

  15. Objection. Picard's objection to bending the bar because other life forms, accepted as "human" could also bend it shows that it is totally irrelevant. Physical strength or weakness was not accepted in even the slightest way as a determining factor in assessing the eligibility of a sentient being to individual rights. If he were asked to give the ninth root of 387,420,489 and answered quickly, that would not prove he was a machine either, (rare) human beings can do this now. For the test to be admissible, it must demonstrate something that no being with rights can do. Such a test would still not be definitive of course since no doubt many races had been admitted and granted rights that could do what no prior "human" could do (we don't have to determine if each Olympic record breaker is human, but we do check to make sure they didn't cheat), but at least it would have SOME possibility of relevance.

  16. Objection. With regard to removal of the hand, again we have seen species in Star Trek that can change their body shape and indeed separate and recombine that are accepted as "human". The ability to change physical form without harm is not a relevant factor in determining "humanity" and the rights attached.

  17. Objection. The biggest of all is that we know that sometime in Earth's past, prior to Starfleet, all lawyers were killed, presumably in response to disillusionment with the legal process. Your analysis however assumes that there were no changes as a result of that fact. The US system of adversarial legal trial is not universal even today. In many courts, the judge takes an active role and will even question witnesses and evidence. It does not seem to me to be beyond possibility that in the reforms to court procedure that would have followed killing all the lawyers, and then the grudging acceptance that they served a need after all and were reintroduced, certain changes that allowed for a more balanced and timely procedure were introduced. Certainly to me at least, it makes more sense to counter a point made by a witness/evidence at the time it is raised rather than allowing it to continue and color (we are all of us human) future submissions until the summing up.

  18. Objection! If the case is about if data is a person or not wont rules of law breake wile in the trile?
    Basicly while in the trile wont talking to data be the same as using a phone while in trile. Im not sure what the laws are on using tec wile for instance cross examining. If data talks is it like a phone going off?

  19. In constitutional democracies there are typically 3 levels of law. The top layer being the constitution. It is usually very general, setting out functioning and limits to the next level down, statutory law, laws made by the government. It takes precedence over the next level down, common law but is limited by constitutional law. The third level, common law applies where ever the higher levels don't, or are not clear. Courts make common law.
    The thing to be remembered about courts is that their preferred outcome is to do nothing. If there was previously a ruling on a very similar situation, the court will be strongly swayed by that precedent. No two cases are exactly the same, but you would need to mount a good case to convince a court why a precedent should not apply in a later case. When their is no constitutional, statutory or precedent then a court must make a ruling. Again, in keeping with the court's preferred outcome of doing nothing, the court will take into account precedent, but from outside the court since none inside the court applies.
    In Data's case, since he has been treated as "human" with rights, that would be the default position and the court would need to be persuaded why it should rule that situation should be changed.
    In the Star Trek universe it seems there is (sensibly) no definition either constitutionally or statutory so it falls to common law. Riker enters precedent establishing ownership of machines, but Picard demonstrates the non-applicability of those precedents to a conscious machine.

  20. self aware, coincoiusness and sentience all justify each other
    thats kind of invalid if there is no proper difference, or does have someonece real definitions for sentience ?

  21. I under stand that one piece Yellow is not good to wear. But if you look to see that everyone in that room was wearing a one piece. The Color happen to be close to the rack that they are part of. So if you remove him from that yellow. What would you put him in? think of the room first. Who wearing what?

  22. The best star trek episodes aren't about lazer gun battles, they're character pieces that work fine even if you're just listening to them. My favourite Is Deathwish from s2 of Voyager.

  23. Interestingly, Mass Effect also does a good job having you try to come to your own conclusion. It gives you both sides of the argument without steering you into any specific direction. This culminates in one of the most heart breaking decisions in the franchise.

  24. I am watching "Suits" on Netflix, then find your videos about it and start looking at more of your videos. This one makes me wondering. As an attorney, how come you have time to watch Tv shows? Arn't you working like hell 12-16 hours a day?

  25. Objection! 5:25 – Rights and the rule of law frequently come into conflict with one another and the job of the court is to balance those rights against eachother and against the rule of law. While the United States tends to take a more absolute interpretation of the rights enshrined in the bill of rights, especially with regards to freedom of expression, even US courts have upheld limitations on rights. Libel and slander, as well as hate speech, and obscenity stand as constitutionally accepted exceptions to freedom of expression as an absolute right and they are based not only in the content of the expression, but also in the context in which ideas are expressed.

  26. The good:

    You mention that this episode raises not only legal questions but also philosophical questions. I think this was the motivation behind this episode, namely the question of what it takes to be a person, rather than the social issues you point to—though I may be wrong on that.

    You are right that data would not have been allowed to become an officer if he were not a person.

    You are right that this episode raises questions that philosophers and neurologists struggle to answer.

    The bad:

    You might have mentioned that one philosophical question at issue here is “the problem of other minds,” and that Picard motions toward this problem when he asks the scientist if he knows that Picard is sentient/self-aware.

    You alternate between talking about whether Data is a human and he is a person. These are very different things. If the debate is about Data being human, a simple DNA test would settle this (since he has no DNA). Moreover, if being a person and being a human are the same thing, not only would this rule out Data as being a person, but also Whorf, Diana, and all the other aliens encountered on the show. I suspect this was just a bit of sloppiness on your part, but as a lawyer I am sure you know words matter. A lot.

    One thing you mention is that the term “sentient” is used in various ways, but it seems to me that in this context it is used fairly consistently. Animal rights proponents tend to argue not that all animals are conscious, but that they are sentient, meaning that they feel—pain, pleasure, and also perhaps have emotions. Plants, in contrast, lack a CNS and so are not sentient. The reason this is important is that Data is conscious and self-aware, but he is not sentient. If this is a necessary condition for being a person, Data would have ended up being an experimental specimen. The episode conflates these terms. You might have gone into this.

  27. Wouldn’t removing Data’s hand assume the issue upon which the trial is supposed to decide? They could never remove my body parts in a courtroom. If I wore a prosthetic, could I be compelled to remove it in order to create a spectacle during trial? (It was for the spectacle of removing it that River did it in trial, they could have provided schematics if it was to gather information about the hand).

  28. Objection: Regarding the ~5:30 comment on free speech – the first amendment right. My (very basic) understanding of US law is that the government can't curtail free speech, but that private individuals can ( and in my opinion probably should) tailor the speech permitted according to their (non-government regulated) venue. So we do get to un-hypocritically argue both about a) the importance of free speech and get angry when the government shuts down people engaging in speech (I write this thinking about speech critical of government or business, but will allow it's also true for racist speech) and b) the ability to personally boot the racist asshole out of my dinner party, off my debate stage, and argue for the limiting of the content of speech by private organizations.

    Of course the problem with the US is that they've let private businesses take over things that should be administered in the public sphere so those two things get conflated again and again and again – but hey that's a different discussion.

  29. 1. You can't argue what is it is not proper examination procedures for this court based on American standards. They're not in America.
    2. Data is serving on a ship and wearing the appropriate uniform as issued to him as a member of the crew. Plus I cannot seriously take courtroom fashion advice from you while you wear that ugly tie.

  30. The channel owner is only seen on the internet so I declare it is not a real person and we may dismantle it to make more lawyers (GOD HELP US).

  31. Objection, Federation law is and has been historically formed by the whole of the civilizations in its union, therefore human history and earth law, while it may have sway, will not be particularly relevant to his proceedings go. Also, the judge, defense, and prosecution know each other, and this trial was done on very basic grounds where neither defense nor prosecution were trained in legal practice and legal proceedings. So long as it is on a basis of equivalent skill, allowances and permissions, it can be said that the proceedings in this trial are all fair despite how things are not following the structure of a proper trial.

  32. I think Data is a person AND a machine. The two are not in my view mutually exclusive. As was argued in the episode we human beings can also be considered as a kind of biological machine.

  33. I can’t help questioning the entire premise of it being necessary to disassemble data to duplicate it (as Maddox would say.) If the end goal was to “have a data on every star ship” surely the replicators could be used to replicate “it” without ever having to disassemble “it.” Of course this would still raise legal/ethical issues if data is a person rather than an “it.”

  34. What he completely over looked was Roe vs. Wade. It and the dread Scott case are the same principle. The sepreme court in its God like knowledge declared both humans to not be humans. Both to protect the convenience of someone else. Now data of course is not human. So based on our legal track record his intrinsic inadvisable value in comparison to the convenience would have no weight. At least if we recognize the track record of our justice system. With this in mind I believe data would actually lose this case.

  35. Point of order: The hearing was to determine whether or not Data was Sentient…thus an actual Life Form instead of just a machine.

  36. Objection! – We don't know the rights assured by the Federation Charter except for the 7th guarantee (ST TNG, The Drum-head) which is the equivalent of our 5th amendment rights, and the definition of artist in the 12th guarantee later defined in Voyager (Author Author). All other rights are subject to interpretation as they were never defined on screen or in canon sources.

  37. The Constitution lists our rights among as many as the stars. It does not grant them. Didn't Riker take physics in Starfleet? I'm sure material engineering would be taught to most.

  38. 13:49 I think that's kind of the point, I don't think Picard even knew what the objection would have been, he was essentially objecting emotionally not rationally.

  39. I think the only one who is qualified to be a Lawyer in this scenario/Episode would be Data. The reason why is that He's capable of processing every Law book and Court Decisions throughout History. Besides they aren't proper Lawyers or Judges so as far as I'm concerned this whole senario is considered a Kangaroo Court.

  40. Granted this is a TV show taking place the 24th century and we have no idea what court precedent have is that in the meantime. Being retired military I have some comments. First military courts only concern them self with criminal justice cases.Picard"s first action would be to go up the chain of command and then refer the matter to the Inspector General. Seeing that data was a commission, has been decorated and if the Federation still using money would be drawing a paycheck ts is unlikely somebody in the command structure would classify him as a piece of equipment. More likely scenario since there is no time pressure involved you can sue in civil court over the matter with real lawyers and a civilian jury. He would probably prevail in court and if not you file for appeal of higher courts. But that would make a very dull television episode so it is what it is

  41. Now if only these "real lawyers" could find real replicators and make themselves some real penises instead of hoping for "admiration" from blogs.

  42. The stupidest thing about this is they argue that Data is a machine and therefore not a person. Well, what is a machine? A collection of non-living parts which preform a task based on their configuration and the laws of physics. Okay. What does non-living mean? It means not alive. Well what is life? Believe it or not there is NO scientific definishin of life. None. At all. What's more, when you keep going down and down and down to see what life is, life is literally just compilations of trillion of little non-living machines interacting as the simple laws of chemistry permit them too, and a snowball effect of those interactions interacting with the interactions of the trillions of non-living parts around them until you get a cell, which we DO classify as life, even though its just a bunch of non-living things operating collectively as chemistry dictates.

    Life is not a real thing. There is only matter and laws of physics. No life, no death, only motion as directed by physical laws.

    This means that aside from having a superior chassis, Data is literally no different from any human with a mental disorder that prevents them from feeling emotions who happens to be very intelligent. If you rule him not a person, you must also rule every autistic person not a person, because we are not capable of the full range of normal human behaviors, and happen to also be collections of non-living parts operating under strict rules. The argument that robots are not people is literally the same as the argument that the mentally different are not people.

  43. It's a bit disappointing that even such a progressive and science based show still takes the notion of a "soul" as a given. She could have at least said "Does he have a soul? Do we have one? Is there even such a thing."
    But hey, can't do that on mainstream tv, certainly not 30 years ago.

  44. objection, this is a very entertaining episode. but the the whole argument is silly. The argument and logic that was stated earlier in the episode where a "starfleet"computer could not refuse a retrofit because it is starfleet property….therefore Data cannot refuse a retrofit is not correct. Data was constructed by engineer Dr Soong. who was not part of star fleet. He was a private citizen with no affiliation with starfleet. So he was not assembled by star fleet. Second, Data applied to star fleet like everyone else and was subject to the same examinations and training like everyone else. He earned his rank as Lieutenant Commander which means he went through a process of application. Meaning he was a private citizen who applied to join an organization and worked his way up earning rank. If he was property, why would he have rank, he is second officer of the ship. The on board computer does not have rank. Therefore, he represents the organization of starfleet but is not property, he was not constructed from them and he holds rank. He has gone through the process like all others therefore the grounds of declaring him property is false.

  45. Objection! The Dredd Scott decision was not a "blight" on the Supreme Court's record! At that time, the law of Dredd Scott's home state did not grant citizenship to blacks and therefore he and his people did not have the right to sue. As you so often point out on your channel, it's not the job of a judge to rule by personal or societal ethicals, but rather to make decisions dictated by legal precedent. They made the only right choice from a legal perspective!

  46. Objection! One ad before the video, four ad breaks in the middle, as well as an ad sponsor presented multiple times in the video itself. Make real content instead of just ad-selling clickbait!

  47. Objection (not to you, the science fiction universe, please at least comment): Data is a sentient construct, in this episode determined to be a person. This episode should not have been an episode as transhumanism would have already been an issue for centuries and thus resolved. Both humans and AI intelligence would have crossed from their origin to the other side more than a minority of times by the Data situation, and Data's acceptance into Starfleet would be proof of the issue already being resolved by such a cultural shift before that.

  48. Nobody needs a lawyer if they learn how to act. Is your lawyer shift dishonest All the way is what is Creative art that destroy this Earth and people on it

  49. Data chose to join Starfleet whereas the ships computer was designed by Starfleet so the computer would be considered property and Data is not Starfleet property!

  50. Just stumbled across this as a recommended video and it was great. I'd like to see you also do Star Trek Voyager's Author, Author. It's basically a copy of this episode, except dealing with the Emergency Medical Hologram after a holonovel he created is distributed without his permission and the publisher asserts that since the Doctor is not a person, he does not have the right to control his works.

  51. Actually raising the point of why weren’t these questions raised when data entered the academy, well i believe it is a critique on any form of organization or government, how they wish to keep up public appearances if it is just a simple pure unique form of life that can’t be duplicated, but when the oppurtunity arrises to replicate something that has proven invaluable to starfleet they do a 180 and realize he is just a machine technically speaking and rejects the morallity of it in favor of results

  52. Können Sie empfehlen Medikamente für Furz und Durchfall? Ich Furz wie eine große Trompete. Vollen Klang, wie ein Kaiser Furz. Mein Durchfall fließt wie ein Fluss.

  53. Does that CGI visor on your dog at 22' help him see better overall or just help him see CGI images on computer screens better?

  54. 1. Data is not in this episode and never was property of Star Fleet, he was property of Dr Soong but on his death he became either unowned or property of the government of the planet he was created on. However as the Federation and Star Fleet are both (supposedly) extremely opposed to slavery in any form for Data to be property would possibly be unlawful. Implying Data is Property is by that Implication making him a slave.
    2. By accepting Data into Star Fleet Academy and commissioning him both of which he would have had to be sworn in and state he was doing / accepting of his own free will. I believe his sentience would have been established by precedence.
    3. Also whether Data has a soul or not is irrelevant, religion tells us we have souls but there is no scientific proof of the existence of souls.
    4. The person trying the case was an Admiral in charge of a space station and not a Jag Officer, under the current Military Code of conduct of many nations including (I Believe) the US and as shown in Multiple Star Trek episodes including ST TNG a trial or case of this sort (or a courts martial) requires a panel of senior officers and not just one! I can't see military law having changed that much to allow 1 person alone to make such a momentous decision. All Star Trek episodes I can recall where officers have been tried or where there have been inquiries into accidents etc. Have all had panels of officers and not one officer.

  55. I'm a trekie, but I give it a C minus. There's so much disorder in that court, the Judge should be held in contempt for not doing her job.

  56. Data's courtroom clothing should not be in question. in some ways, this hearing is more like a military hearning and not a public trial. Officers in the military routinely wear uniforms to hearings.

  57. So if data was property he would be part of his creators estate and belong to the heirs not to starfleet. And as a machine he could not have enlisted or took an oath .

  58. Wondered why he was bothered by the suit as its a uniform … Of course all becomes clear at the end .. Sets up the advertising for INDOCHINNO .. Hope you don't do that type of thing in real court cases. " Your Honour I object to his glasses … He should have gone to SpecSavers who i am happy to say sponsor my channel and sell high quality glasses that I actually  I buy myself so I can personally recommend them " ..

  59. I realise your looking for a segue into your sponsor, BUT, Data was wearing is military uniform. Now looking into it,, in a civilian court a soldiers not supposed to wear his uniform (Apparently it discredits the uniform, something I kinda feel assumes guilt before its allocated) but in a military tribunal everyones in military kit, even apparently the judge. I'm not sure Data is incorrectly uniformed at all. Although putting him in a regular human suit might well have aided his case by making him look more human. With all that said, perhaps what they SHOULD have been wearing is the Star fleet Dress uniform (the one they wear when theres ambasadors visiting etc)

  60. data is a machine how ever a very advanced tool would be wanted protected by human interest in more ways than a simple chatbot. the value of a advanced recording device capable of determine probability of 90 percent certainty better than a human, would be so valuabe, he would be wanted a member of some human right. what ever he is a machine or not is irrelevant.

  61. You mock him wearing a yellow suit to court… but that is a uniform… you wouldn't mock a Marine in his pearly whites.

  62. The moment that Star fleet accepted Data as a recruit,let him graduate as an officer,promoted him, gave him commendations,they were in fact accepting data has an officer with all the rights and privileges that his position entitled him.This whole situation came about when they suddenly realized that this was not convenient to Star fleet anymore.

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