The motif of the artificial human being is hardly to be imagined without in science fiction and especially in Star Trek. Robotics and artificial intelligence form a concept that represents an elementary part of the thought behind post- and transhumanism. Humanly connoted characteristics are combined with mechanical ones, which enable new narratives – also in the media – that always reflect the zeitgeist of an epoch. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 1980s and early 1990s, various aspects of the possible handling of different forms of androids are presented that are worth a deeper look.
The lecture Androids in Star Trek by Dr. Rebecca Haar at FedCon 29 will mainly deal with the Soong androids, how they act and react, but also how humans and other creatures deal with them: Can an android have a will of its own, to what extent is this will pronounced and how is society itself reflected in artificial humans and their handling of them as a self-sufficient and thinking life form? The main focus is on observations of Data and Lore as an unequal pair of brothers, but also Data’s “daughter” Lal, who even develops feelings due to a malfunction, shall be examined more closely. With Juliana Tainer, another motif of artificial humanity is taken up recently, because as Soong’s former wife she is not aware of her mechanical existence and considers herself human.