I am probably one of the biggest Trekkies in the world. I am a purist Trekkie, the one that was awed by Capt. Christopher Pike and his side-kick Spock. Capt. James T. Kirk continued the charge in my imagination into a future where computers were indispensable to living life. This was way before the thought that you could hold a computer in your hand was even part of my imagination. In many ways, Star Trek molded me into embracing technology as a way to make a living.
It wasn’t long before I accepted the indisputable fact that I will never get to see faster-than-light travel and much less visit other planets. As sobering as that unpleasant fact is, there are things that the Trek universe introduced us to that are common place today.
Sure, we don’t have alien races living among us, or Klingons creating havoc in the universe but we have smartphones that have revolutionized the way we process data. As cool as the Tricorders were on Star Trek, today’s smartphone outpaces them in many ways. Not only in the capabilities but in the aesthetics of the devices.
As fantastical as the replicators are and the phasers stunning or killing adversaries as the needs dictated, it wasn’t until recently that I realized that aesthetically, Star Trek missed the boat.
I have been binge watching Star Trek Voyager on Netflix the last few days. As I have been enjoying the episodes I began to realize that as cool as the gadgets were, they still seem highly dated today.
Consider that in the Star Trek universe you have the capability to convert matter into almost anything. In that universe you have the ability to dematerialize and rematerialize somewhere else in seconds. You could ask the computer to explain anything to you simply by asking it. With all of that technology and all of that coolness, it struck me odd that everything was still very bulky. As much as the Star Trek universe had advanced somehow they skipped the flat screen technology and kept desktop computers on their desks.
Not just desktops but laptop-like computers that seem compact but somehow don’t seem luggable at all. It’s almost as if the Compaq’s of the 80’s took over the world and stagnated computer aesthetics development forever.
I guess with age things change. As much as a Trekkie as I am, I never had the opportunity to enjoy the Start Trek Voyager series as it was not available where I was living at the time it was on the air. Netflix gave me the opportunity to catch up with it, but with age a new twist has been added to my experience – critical thinking.
As much as I love to get lost in a universe where the Earth ego-centrically rules the universe, the Klingons play the old-Soviets of the Cold War and the Romulans, like their Chinese-inspired brethren, are always lurking in the shadows antagonizing others into being surrogates for their political agenda, the bulky computers sitting on desks on the Voyager is just too much of a distraction for me to allow me get lost in a fantastical future that lets me dream about what could be.
Thanks, Netflix, for ruining a future I used to get lost in, you ruined it like nothing else. Or, is it possible that it was always ruined but my maturity level hadn’t realized it yet?