Living in Star Trek

Note 1: Star Wars junkies, I’m sorry. But the technology of lightsabers and death stars is still pretty far off. Holograms, less so (Tupac, anyone?). I’m not trying to be mean and pretend we’re not also advancing toward a Star Wars style universe, but let’s face it… Star Wars wasn’t based around the evolution of Earth and the human race; it was about other planets, imaginary and removed from our own track of evolution and growth.

Note 2: I’m only a mild Trekkie. I don’t like the classic series, I own almost no collectibles (one tin doesn’t count), and I can’t quote anything. For a fair measure of my Trekkie-ness, I can use either hand to do a Vulcan salute, I can describe almost any episode I’ve watched with a decent amount of detail (I’m a natural storyteller), and I’d totally buy a “Learn Klingon” language CD set if I saw one, just for kicks.

I found myself completely thrilled earlier this week, though, while watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Captain Picard was looking over a report, and then LaForge showed him something in Engineering… and I had a geek epiphany.

We have tablets just like Star Trek. We have wireless data transfer. We have the ability to synchronize two or more devices to each other. We have touch screens and machines that can process data faster than we can enter it. We have memory storage capacities that rival the human brain on a good day. We HAVE Star Trek.

Think about it. I have my Kindle Fire tablet, which I use for most of my online activities. I can access my bank (another computer system), I can make purchases (a merchant system), I can find friends and dates (a social system), I can find data on almost anything (with critical thinking, an information system)… I can then send that information and interactivity to my smart phone, or a desktop computer. I can get on my XBox 360 and do the same. I can also find an app for almost anything, like one that tells me if any of the stores near me sell sunglasses. I never have to disconnect from information about the world around me, things I couldn’t know just by looking at a person, place, or thing.

Some people don’t like that. But stick with me, it gets better.

Then add our growing ability as a species to adapt and multitask. Another moment earlier this week had me suddenly aware of my normal activities for about ten minutes at work. I was doing data entry on college applications (my job), clicking on news articles between portions (to keep myself informed), drinking my water, checking my work email when something popped up, tapping my Kindle on the desk to awaken it and change the song playing in my headphones, and answering my phone. No task caused me to lose focus on the others; it is my process, steamlined to synchronize the steps with my natural rhythm. Everything gets done, nothing gets overlooked.

We’ve evolved to this point.

I’m very happy with it. While I agree that the affect electronics and the like are having is intimidating, I believe too many people fear dramatic change. And changing to be almost Borg, integrating technology so inclusively into our lives, is a dramatic decision.

(Another note: the Borg weren’t always scary, crazy assimilators. They started off wanting to provide the perfect integration of individual skills into a group use… it just got WAY out of hand.)

How do YOU feel about living in Star Trek?

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