Tag Archive for Wisdom

Grammar…Why Did it Have to be Grammar — The Truth of Sentience vs Sapience

Thanks to a good majority of Science Fiction, the term Sentience has been grossly misused. Many people apply the term to mean anything that is intelligent on a human level. Even Star Trek has done this, which I’ve always wondered if they were aware they were using the word incorrectly. Below is an example

Capt. Picard: Now, tell me, Commander, what is Data?

Commander Bruce Maddox: I don’t understand.

Capt. Picard: What is he?

Commander Bruce Maddox: A machine!

Capt. Picard: Is he? Are you sure?

Commander Bruce Maddox: Yes!

Capt. Picard: You see, he’s met two of your three criteria for sentience, so what if he meets the third, consciousness, in even the smallest degree? What is he then? I don’t know. Do you?

–Star Trek: Next Generation (Measure of a Man)

Now I will tell you right now, that the term of sentience is misused here. The word Picard is looking for is Sapience. Now a good question to ask here is, if most people think the correct word is Sentience, why should I change it? Why not use the word people expect versus using the correct word?

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