NPR

Star 'Treknology': Imagining The Future Into Being

From its first appearance, Star Trek has always been hopeful about the relationship between society and technology. Ethan Siegel doesn't lose sight of this in his book, Treknology, says Adam Frank.

We live in a unique moment of human history where the tools our parents used are not the ones we take in hand.

The pace of technological (and hence societal) change is so fast now, compared with a few centuries ago, that we've developed an entire branch of storytelling dedicated to imagining where those changes are headed. It's called science fiction and — whether you like its forms or not — it has already changed your life.

If you. From "communicators" to "warp drives" to "transporters", laid out a future that continues to inspire scientists and engineers. But given just a 30-year distance between Captain Kirk and his "communicator" and you and your flip-phone, how realistic is the rest of Star Trek's vision of future technology?

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