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Is Data Human?

Richard Hanley

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
Is Data Human? by Richard Hanley
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 5 January 2012

This book, subtitle The Metaphysics of Star Trek will undoubtedly appeal only to Trekkies (or Trekkers) and only the most cerebral ones at that. The subject are heavy, the words big, the matter (and anti-matter) complex. Throw in Star Trek characters and references and we are looking at quite a niche in terms of target audience.

All that being said, I'm really happy Richard Hanley bothered writing this book; a counter point to the popular The Physics of Star Trek this book asks and to a degree answers the questions which physics, at least for now, can't. As the title suggests, one of the questions is whether Data (an android) is or can become as human as human is? Not limited to Data though, Hanley questions whether it is possible to be “beamed up” or more to the point, whether it is you who comes out the other side of the transporter?

I'd recommend this book to any one who is interested in philosophy and metaphysics (after physics) but would like a pop culture icon as a reference point to help them along; Of course a decent understanding and knowledge of Star Trek is a pre-requisite. All in all, if like me, you are someone who would even think about reading a book like this, you will probably enjoy it. It is what it is and does exactly what it says it will but if the cover puts you off, you will be forgiven for judging it.