Star Trek’s Data is actually Pinocchio
Being a hardcore Star Trek fan, I always loved how Data, an android who desperately (although desperately is a strong word for an emotionless robot) struggles to become more human in every episode. His attempts usually fail due to his miscomprehension of the human behavior and cognitive array which he deems rather simple in comparison to him, yet illogical. Therefore, the struggle he has is in comprehending the way humans operate especially in terms of their complex emotional pattern, which is often unpredictable.
Basically, just as Pinocchio tries to become human and overcome his wooden structure, so does Data try to become human on a more “psychological” level, thus, exploring human consciousness mainly through art.
One of the things that I absolutely adore about Data is his “sad clown interface” which is often visible to the viewers and other characters, but not him. In other words, his futile attempts to do something humane is interpreted in terms of a sad clown’s makeup which portrays his inner state of sadness although he is laughing. Therefore, Data will always remain an android no matter how hard he tries to become human.
Yet another attribute that describes his behavior is “Chaplinesque”. Remember Chaplin’s characters who are mostly homeless drunks that made you laugh for a while, although you know it deep inside that he is still miserable and suffers — well, the same emotional response is present in Data’s “wrongdoings”
Finally, I want to present you one Data’s poem that he wrote to his cat named Spot. The poem is called “Ode to Spot” and you can see his robotic approach to writing an ode which is completely formal and in rhythm, just like the rules say.
Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature.
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature.
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skill and natural defences.
I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations.
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection,
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents.
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilised to aid in locomotion
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotions.
Oh, Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
Connote a fairly well developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.