Those of you who watch “Star Trek: The Next Generation” are undoubtedly familiar with the ship’s science officer, Lt. Commander Data, who happens to be an android—that is, a robot designed to look and act like a human being.

Over the course of the show, which ran several years and is still widely broadcast in reruns, Mr. Data’s fondest wish is to become more “human,” to the point where he can actually feel human emotions and can appreciate abstract concepts like humor. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the show’s very creative writers, Mr. Data (as he is known) never quite achieves that state of nirvana.

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