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Star Trek & the Future

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QUESTION: Marty; Will you watch the 55th anniversary of the original series premiere Star Trek show tonight?


apollo-11-landing on moon-1969ANSWER: Yes. I am not one of those people to go to their conventions nor do I dress up. Sorry to disappoint you. I think a lot of people do not appreciate how much primarily Star Trek contributed to society. Star Trek first aired on TV in 1968. The Apollo 11 landing on the moon was July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong made “one giant leap for mankind.” You can even use cyclical waves of sound to levitate things.

NASA’s funding increased because of Star Trek. This is why they named the first Space Shuttle the Enterprise in honor of Star Trek. NASA even invited William Shatner to walk into the lunar module before it took off. Shatner publicly stated that he was surprised by the number of engineers who came up to him and thanked him because Star Trek had inspired them as children to go into the field.

Star Trek was on the air when I began engineering school. Back then, you had to know a computer from the ground up. To graduate, you needed BOTH hardware (electrical engineering) and software (programming), which are two entirely separate fields today. That meant I had to go into engineering and learn everything from physics all the way to how to design a computer from scratch.

Tractor Beam

Star Trek filled the minds of everyone back then for it opened our eyes to the possibilities one might accomplish with computers, right down to talking with them. Star Trek was always based upon science whereas Star War was just entertainment based upon the conflict between the Roman Republic and the Imperial Empire. Everything you see in star Trek right down to tractor beams has been under development. Even how the Enterprise carried hand-held “phaser” weapons that could vaporize or stun an opponent, the military has been developing that as well.


Flip-Phone 1989

Star Trek-inspired so many people, including myself when I was young. It showed me what was possible. Even the first cell phone was of the familiar design of a flip phone used on Star Trek. This was the Motorola MicroTAC 9800X issued in 1989.

So many things that appeared in Star Trek have made it to reality. When you go to a doctor, they use hand-held devices to take your temperature without sticking anything in your mouth. Star Trek’s medical assessments through a handheld device called a tricorder were also adopted, as were 3D printers that create objects, synthesizers of food, and lasers that are used as weapons. The Star Trek phaser is already here — creating one that can be set to “stun” or “destroy” is not quite there yet. They can even restore some of your sights with laser surgery.

Warp speed is another story. Einstein established that nothing in our universe could move faster than the speed of light, as long as it stays in the dimensions that we’re aware of in our reality. Warp speed, however, is something that you would use, let’s say, to surround a bubble around a spacecraft to keep it in the sub-warp space that we know as our reality. You move this bubble through space-time by warping space-time and thereby allowing yourself to move faster than the speed of light.

According to Einstein’s general relativity, gravity manifests as a curvature of space-time. However, according to Einstein’s special relativity and his famous equation E=mc ², energy and mass are equivalent. Consequently, any type of energy contributes to gravity or the curvature of space-time. Minkowski’s space-time is the space-time of special relativity that has no curvature (i.e. no gravity). This is the shape of space-time when you are in an inertial, non-accelerating, reference state. If you then accelerate within Minkowski space; you no longer see space-time as flat to accelerated observers. Consequently, we cannot tell if we are in a gravitational field or accelerating locally. Yet, when we are in fact accelerating in a flat space-time, everything appears as though we are in a space-time that is curved due to gravity.


Stark Trek inspired the idea of being able to talk to your computer. I began writing programs with the same idea behind Star Trek that the future could be created. Dragon Systems, which is well known now, was just starting out back in the day. It was hardware back then and not software as it is today. I worked with Dragon Systems in the early eighties to give a voice to Socrates, which was hardware – not software-based.


What Star Trek did was it inspired so many people in many different fields. It showed so many a future could become dynamic. So here we are, 55 years later, and those who think Star Trek was just a show like Star Wars, missed so much for it took the potential technology and illustrated what the future might be. And yes, they too eliminate all physical money. Welcome to the world of digital credits. What was absent was the dark sinister side that is now emerging where they want to control what we are allowed to buy and sell.

Personally, I am waiting for Scotty to beam me up. I hate the direction these people are taking society.