Everyone knows a Fremen baby must get his crying done at birth, if he’s in sietch because he can never cry again lest he betray us on hajr.
“Why do you cry , Gloria? Robbie was only a machine, just a nasty old machine. He wasn’t alive at all.” “He was not no machine!” screamed Gloria, fiercely and ungrammatically.
By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter - one book. This was the Book of the Machine. In it were instructions against every possible contingency. If she was hot or cold or dyspeptic or at a loss for a word, she went to the book, and it told her which button to press.
“You talk as if a god had made the Machine," cried the other. "I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but not everything.”
Is Data a machine? Yes. Is he the property of Starfleet? No. We have all been dancing around the basic issue. Does Data have a soul? I don’t know that he has. I don’t know that I have! But I have got to give him the freedom to explore that question himself. It is the ruling of this court that Lieutenant Commander Data has the freedom to choose.