The Star Trek saga is loved by fans from all over the world, and it continues in 2020 thanks to Star Trek: Picard. The fan-favorite series that used to be a hugely successful TV show in the 1960s was called Star Trek. Featuring space travel, fantastic technology, alien races, and political intrigue, the show was a massive hit during its run from 1966 to 1969. You have to understand that this was a time before Google & Spectrum internet package. And what people were seeing was a technological marvel of the time. Star Trek captivated imaginations and led to one of the earliest breeds of TV sci-fi enthusiasts.
The show followed the adventures of the starship Enterprise, captained by Captain James T. Kirk and his crew. Many iterations of the show returned including
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- 2020 Star Trek: Picard
While by no means is Star Trek technology like traveling faster than light or teleporting people to planets from a ship in the realm of real science, there are still valuable lessons to be learned from the show.
Technology is Only as Good As The Person Using It
Movies like Terminator offered what has become part of many people’s worldviews of technology – that ultimately it will grow too powerful for us to control. Many of the world’s biggest technological advancements have been made against a backdrop of violence, from the early biplanes of World War 1 to the atomic bomb in World War 2 to the spy tech during Cold War to unmanned drones in the War on Terror. Of course, that’s not to mention all the development that’s gone into weapons and armaments. To an alien observer race, we must look like a bunch of rabid animals running around with sticks of dynamite in our hands.
To them, most of our technological advancements must seem for profit, or for gaining superiority, much like the Borg in Star Trek. The Borg are a technologically advanced race that has an imperialist agenda. Using their technological superiority, they assimilate and consume weaker planets for their own gain. However, in an episode of Star Trek, Captain Kirk uses tech he learned from being previously assimilated to defeat the Borg. The same tech, but used by a different person for a different purpose. What this tells us is that technology isn’t inherently good or bad. The outcome of its use depends on who is using it.
Older Technology May Still Be Useful
As a species, we tend to treat our technology as disposable. For example, we get a new smartphone every year, even if the old one is still working. We get a new car as soon as our lease is up because we want the new tech that comes with the latest model. We want faster computers, newer routers, smarter cars, and more. But does that really mean that technology is obsolete? Consider the Doomsday Machine from one of the original show’s episodes.
The machine is a massive construct that destroys entire planets at a time, an awesome and terrifying show of force. The galaxy is in terror of this machine, where their best and most advanced tech seems useless against it. But then the Enterprise’s Scotty manages to repurpose an old, defunct ship and uses it to destroy the Doomsday Machine. Just because we feel newer is better doesn’t mean older technology has no purpose. Using technology holistically can offer old-fashioned solutions to brand-new problems.
Technology Can’t Do Everything For You
These days, we are used to technology making our lives easier. You don’t have to go out shopping, even for essentials like groceries or food. All you have to do is order what you need online and get it delivered to your doorstep. If you want to talk to a friend, you don’t have to go to them. You can simply FaceTime and get connected right away. Technology allows businesses to operate more efficiently and leaders to govern more effectively. But at the end of the day, technology is still a tool, and can’t do everything for you.
There is one episode in the original Star Trek series that encapsulates this idea exactly. Orders from above replace almost everyone on the Enterprise with computers. The idea is that with a computerized fleet, the Federation would be stronger and able to protect its planets better. However, the idea goes awry, and 100% automated Enterprise almost ends up destroying the rest of the Federation fleet. What the bigwigs in the Federation forgot, and what Scotty tried to remind them of, was that the human (or alien) element is still needed to use technology. Being a tool, it has no moral sense of its own, and will only do as programmed. To make sure technology works correctly, you will always need people to do some of the tasks.
Final Words on Technology Lessons
If you’re a sci-fi fan, you might want to check out the various TV shows the Star Trek universe has inspired. However, if TV shows aren’t your thing right now, you can always add the Star Trek films to your pandemic movies watchlist using the Spectrum TV package. While you’ll still be stuck at home, your spirit will be aboard a starship traveling faster than light to solve a political dilemma of some sort or another. You won’t regret becoming a Trekkie.