With the latest Star Trek movie about to be released, it seems appropriate to talk about how art imitates life and life imitates art. If you are older than 30 your remember the original Star Trek series and the wicked cool technology it sported. Tractor beams, light speed engines, transporters and of course the communicator. Super cool Captain Kirk would flip open his little device and instant communication with Scotty. (No one dreamed then that people would like to type their communication just as much as verbalize it).
Fast forward to the late 80’s when the technology was first gaining a retail following. Huge battery/receiver bags were tethered to a corded phone but the sucker worked! Not well and not in very many areas but it worked. It was a status symbol and a costly one. And the ONLY thing it could do was verbal communication.
By the 90’s and the turn of the century, every business owner and every worker in the field had a Nextel it seemed. Chirps were heard in restaurants and libraries across the nation and the phones were still big enough that you could make quite a scene lifting up your shirt and unclipping the phone from its swivel holster. They were rare enough though that you wondered if people thought you were pretentious when you pulled it out just to check the time or if you missed a call.
And then smart phone’s hit with a vengeance. Small enough to fit in the pocket, functional enough to almost replace a computer, internet access, camera’s and the world stopping invention of APPs. A veritable SwissArmy knife of technology. Some were cheap and offered texting and children (I’ve known some as young as 5 to get them) were now proud owners of more technology than their parents ever saw in school when they were growing up. Others were expensive and huge (a Keebler Elf big screen TV) so you could do business, watch movies, play games and blog about global warming. Gene Rodenberry didn’t have a clue what he had on his hands back then.
Now countless people ignore each other at functions and events. They attend them, many just don’t participate. As a father of a 16 and 14 year old, I have so far resisting the begging for the communicator. But when that first solo drive comes up, guess who will have a cell phone on them?!?
All in all, I’d say Star Trek did pretty well for us.
Makes me wonder what will be the next wonder invention…