Commander Data was a terrific character and Star Trek: The Next Generation would not have been the same show without him. I know that. But, in-universe, wasn't Data's potential and overall capabilities somewhat wasted steering the ship? I realize he had room to grow - and I don't mean he had to "grow up" in order to be an effective member of the crew.
My question is, why was he made to serve with humans at all when he could have more effectively and productively worked and explored alone (even in a vacuum), or been left in charge of steering the entirety of the fleet (more like Ender in Ender's Game)? Wasn't Data sort of wasted feeding a cat and telling the crew the answer to simple calculations? He could have orchestrated all of Starfleet, it seems. No?