Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 6, Episode 9

The Quality of Life (14 Nov. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 619 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

When Geordi is assigned to survey a new mining development with Dr. Farallon, who invented an experimental mining technology, she uses a new sophisticated robot called an Exocomp to repair a power grid.



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Episode cast overview:
Dr. Farallon
Chief Kelso


The Enterprise orbits Tyras 71 to assist the experimental mining project Tyrant Partical Fountain, which Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge must evaluate for Starfleet. Dr. Farallon demonstrates the Exocomp, a revolutionary power grid repair device needed to keep the fountain operational, which creates its own tools and learns from its obstacle experience. Picard allows 48 hours more for Data to help Farallon. After performing efficiently, it suddenly burns out, later self-repairs. Data realizes this only makes sense as a self-preservation move, and therefore hopes it's now a living machine, like himself; the theory is tested... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

14 November 1992 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some SF purists thought the story would have been better if the Exocomps had stayed as boxes with no discernible affectations as originally planned. But what made the episode so popular was the way they emerged in the final result. It allowed an audience to identify with them more fully. L.J. Scott's initial script also drew parallels to similar situations in Earth's history (the episode does remind somewhat of Short Circuit (1986), the story of a robot that develops life of its own). The original ending would have been to come up with a method to know if the Enterprise computer could become self-aware. See more »


When Data meets Geordi and Dr. Farallon in the transporter room in the first scene after the opening credits, he clearly smiles as he welcomes Dr. Farallon aboard. Data doesn't experience emotions, but has been practicing on the human act of smiling on several other occasions and it is safe to presume he has learned to use it correctly in situations like these by now. See more »


Lt. Commander Data: I am curious as to what transpired between the moment when I was nothing more than an assemblage of parts in Dr. Soong's laboratory, and the next moment, when I became alive. What is it that endowed me with life?
Doctor Beverly Crusher: I remember Wesley asking me a similar question when he was little, and I tried desperately to give him an answer. But everything I said sounded inadequate. Then I realized that scientists and philosophers have been grappling with that question for centuries without coming to any ...
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Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Living Machines/Data's Dilemma
25 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When Geordi arrives on a mining planet, he meets a female engineer who has develop a marvelous machine, the Exocomp, that can repair and change things so humans don't have to risk their lives. The laboratory is saved because on of these things was able to adapt properly and make repairs. The issue is that these machines are beginning to think and adapt on their own. Data, who should know, begins to think of these things as sentient creatures, capable of thought and action, including self-preservation. Even though the Enterprise is in grave danger, he refuses to allow them to work. Once again, the definition of what life is comes into play. Remember a previous episode where a court found Data to be a sentient creature, a life form. The issues are unique and handled very well here. The episode is cleverly written and well presented.

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