9 Tech Trends in 2019 that Came from Star Trek

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Each year, technological advances boost our quality of improves business practices and enhances our quality of life. In industries like medicine, education, finance, and science, we’ve seen just how far technology has brought us.
As humans are allowed to explore their imaginations, we are able to continue to think beyond what we can do and explore the possibilities of what we may someday be able to do. To this end, humankind grows. Remember, Star Trek’s Uhuru had a Bluetooth headset in the 60s before Bluetooth was even a thing! Through the imaginations of Star Trek writers, we saw tablet computers, voice interface computers, portable memory, GPS, biometric data tracking, and much more decades before the technology was even invented.

Now, those things are everyday tools we use without thought. They are second nature. Here are 9 trends in 2019 that came from Star Trek.

Blockchain

Star Trek’s universe gave rise to many forms of tech that we use today. One of those forms of technology is the digital currency system of blockchain. In Star Trek, people used “Federation Credits” and “Ferengi Gold-pressed Latinum banking systems. Though the series never formally mentions “blockchain” their currency works very similarly to that of the cryptocurrency of our reality.

Voice Driven Interfaces or Voice Search

“Alexa, tell me the news” is a common command for Amazon’s Alexa app, which is a voice assistant native to Amazon’s Echo and Amazon Prime. Though its technology developed, perfected and constantly improved upon in recent years, Captain Kirk and Doctor Spock have been using natural language to make requests to the Enterprise computer to quickly perform tasks since 1966. Another commonality between Star Trek’s voice interface and our AI assistants is that both use female voices.

Artificial Intelligence

Star Trek used many forms of artificial intelligence throughout its long history. One of the most famous Artificial Intelligent beings in Star Trek is Data, a sentient android who learns or gains knowledge automatically from experience. Today, in addition to Artificial intelligence recognizing speech and text, translating different languages, there are now AI applications that allow deep learning or machine learning—that means machines will no longer need to be programmed for each function separately.

Biometric Security Measures

From voice ID to biometric, iris scanning, fingerprint and facial recognition, these security measures that we now regularly use to unlock our phones or access high security buildings were once pieces of science fiction technology from Star Trek.

Cloud Computing

The Starship Enterprise’s computers were able to gather all information from across the galaxy. That would be the equivalent of today’s cloud technology. Demand for cloud computing and storage increased in 2019 across multiple industries.

3D Printing

While 3D printing has been around for a few years. 3D printing has been picking up in use, but it hasn’t been as popular as many thought it would be because of a few issues. One of the issues being that it takes too long. But a team at UC Berkley developed a 3D printing technique like Star Trek’s Replicator, which it just happens to be named. It uses reverse computed tomography or CT scans. A CT scan captures 2D x-ray images and then reassembles those pieces into a 3D model. The replicator runs the CT scan process in reverse.

Adaptive Devices

From universal translators to GPS applications, adaptive technology came from the genius minds behind Star Trek. Now, adaptive devices include chat bots. Autonomous driving cars also premiered in Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan in 1982. Transportation companies are now testing the use of autonomous cars and trucks to cut down on personnel costs.

Automation

In Star Trek, the replicator can create anything on demand, from Captain Picard’s Earl Grey tea, to clothing, clothing. What works about the replicator in the world of Star Trek is that it doesn’t force competition or seek to take jobs from humanoids. It works in connectivity with humanoids. In our reality, automation devices like many home security systems allow for voice commands. You can turn the lights on and off when you walk into a room. Smart appliances like Samsung’s refrigerator allows you to google recipes, create shopping lists, and more right from your refrigerator’s panel.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

In 1974, the Holodeck first appeared in Star Trek on the episode called “The Practical Joker. It created a simulated, alternative version of reality. The holodeck allowed anyone who entered it to interact with props and characters based on the holodeck’s program. Essentially, it was a narrative-driven device, much like the virtual reality devices of today. Though virtual reality has been around for at least a decade, only recently did it begin to pick up momentum, as a method of gaming as well as used as a form of physical therapy.

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