…a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper.”
Star Trek, the television show that made Nimoy a star, premiered on NBC in September, 1966. In the words of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the series, Spock was “the conscience of Star Trek.” The time setting of the show was the distant future. As “The Captain’s Oath” proclaimed at the start of each episode, the mission of the starship Enterprise was
To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
As the captain and crew journeyed into the future, they addressed social problems from the current era, a time of dissension and unrest in our nation. Many of Mr. Spock’s lessons on life can be found online.
Star Trek lasted as an original television series for only three years. Later, it was picked up in syndication and as spin-offs were aired and movies were made, Trekkies joined forces and turned the Starship Enterprise and its crew into a popular franchise with books, conventions, philosophies, and millions of followers.
One of my most memorable Star Trek experiences came not from the show itself but from a documentary which was produced and aired in 1995. The film examined the scientific principles in Star Trek and compared them to current science. Concepts explored included:
- Faster-than-light travel
- Time travel
- Anti-particle physics
- Medical imaging
- Extra-solar planets
- Exterrestrial life and intelligence
- Artificial intelligence
- Matter transmission
It was amusing then to look back at the computers used in the show — representing technology of the distant future — and to realize that by 1995, thirty years from the show’s beginnings — we had already surpassed what Captain Kirk and his crew were using.
Yet in many other areas, the science of Star Trek indeed foretold things to come. We are discovering planets beyond our own solar system, robotics and medical imagining have become parts of our daily lives, and we’re all acquainted with AI — artificial intelligence — in games and online sites.
While contemplating Spock, Star Trek, and science, I wondered what the future might hold. I browsed around a bit to learn what today’s thinkers see as they gaze into their figurative crystal balls to view the world that awaits future generations.
Here are a few of the many predictions I found.
- Most visits to the doctor will be replaced by automated medical exams
- Special highways will be constructed for use by driverless vehicles
- Cities will harvest water from the atmosphere
- Cross-species communication systems will be developed, enabling humans to talk to animals
- Mankind will have the ability to stop hurricanes and other natural disasters
- Infrared drone monitoring systems will enable us to reduce forest fires
- Pharmaceutical products will be highly-individualized and produced “on demand” as needed
- Extinct species will be brought back to life through technology
Far-fetched? Wishful thinking? Maybe. Or maybe these are glimpses at what our future will be.
Thank you for visiting my official author blog and website today. Thank you, too, for allowing me to share a few thoughts with you. I’d love to hear your personal Star Trek memories, your predictions for the future, and your tributes to Leonard Nimoy. May his memory live long in our hearts and may his wisdom long prosper in our world — and other worlds yet to be discovered.