Innovation

From sci-fi to real-life tech: How Star Trek influenced consumer tech

Listen to four Trekkies talk about how the technology in the iconic sci-fi franchise impacted the consumerization of tech.

Video: The influence of Star Trek on tech

Not only do TechRepublic readers have a love for Star Trek, but many of the writers do as well. On September 24, Star Trek returns with Star Trek: Discovery, featuring new characters and new missions. Trekkies can watch it live, or steam it on-demand with CBS All Access. For more specifics about plot, the cast, and how to watch the series, read our viewer's guide to Star Trek: Discovery.

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson spoke with CNET contributing editor Eric Mack, TechRepublic's Geekend founder Jay Garmon, and TechRepublic contributing writer Jason Snell--all Star Trek fanatics--to discuss how Star Trek influenced and predicted today's technology, what the series got wrong about tech, and how the show inspired current tech leaders.

It's hard to find people in the science and technology field who can't cite Star Trek as an inspiration, at least when they were a kid, Snell said.

Mack, Garmon, and Snell agreed that many of today's technologies are similar to ones seen in Star Trek such as the communicator and the holodeck. "When we look toward the future and where consumer technology is right now, if you want to look at a sci-fi franchise for inspiration, Star Trek has been one of the best," Mack said.

Star Trek's tech predictions can be categorized two ways: They're either wildly inaccurate, or spot-on. One important thing that Star Trek gave viewers was the notion of technology that understands us, Garmon said. "Star Trek made that obvious how that would work," he added.

How has Star Trek influenced or inspired your career choice? How do you think the series has impacted the tech we have today? Share your thoughts in the article comments.

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Disclaimer: Both Star Trek: Discovery and TechRepublic are properties of CBS.

Image: Paramount Pictures


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