We all have guilty pleasures, mine just happens to be something from the nineties. Star Trek the Next Generation has captured my imagination and love ever since first sight, and since then I’ve purchased every episode, all the movies, and several posters. However, this blog isn’t made for me to blog about how awesome Star Trek is… except it kind of is. In the book “Hollywood Science, Movies, Science, & the End of the World,” Sidney Perkowitz talks about how science in movies has affected scientists, philosophers, and kids. Some of the best ideas and breakthroughs in sciences have come from people that have been inspired by science fiction or technology portrayed in movies. One of the more unique forms of this, is the developments of the Holodecks seen aboard the Icarus II and the Star Ship Enterprise. While the one on the Icarus II is used more for psychological purposes of the crew keeping in touch with Earth, the Holodeck on the Enterprise is used for a wider variety of purposes. Different episodes have shown people training their fighting skills, mental capabilities, and even exercising. At other times crew members used it to play along with a story such as Sherlock Holmes solving a mystery.
While there is still a mystery with how the technology on the ships work, there have been breakthroughs and steps to achieving these goals. Recently The Charlotte Observer wrote an article in the Science and Technology section (which our class was also featured in), that described how these Holodecks are actually coming to life. At Duke University they have created a similarly functioning Holodeck. The room has six sides and uses a series of projectors and special glasses to form an image in the middle of the room. The room has been used for city planning and helping medical students study body systems and organs such as the brain and the heart. It also allows for a controlled environment which is essential for certain forms of research. Though the technology is currently recent, unrefined, and expensive it still sheds light for the future which I look forward to greatly.
In the past twenty years the amount of technology we have has vastly improved, and ignoring the whole, machines-are-gonna-take-over-the-world-mentality, imagine all the possibilities that we have in the future with this new improved technology. We currently have almost instant access to any piece of knowledge right at our fingertips. We’ve begun to map out our genes which will allow us to eradicate diseases before they even strike, we’ve created ways to speak face to face even though we’re thousands of miles apart, and the only thing that will be able to stop us in the future is ourselves. Though in a hundred years we probably won’t have flying cars, floating houses, or even people living permanently on the moon, hopefully the earth will be a better place. Hopefully by then they will have figured out how to solve poverty, hunger, and every other social problems we have. At least we can dream, I’ve always heard to shoot for the moon, but even if we miss, we’ll end up among the stars.