Star Trek: The Next Generation Predicted The Internet

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Some may wonder if there was an “internet” on board the Enterprise in Star Trek the Next Generation considering that the show was shot in 1987, at a time before the World Wide Web existed. The internet during 1987 was primitive by today’s standards and was primary used by a small circle of groups for mainly academic and government purposes. It was a mere shadow of what it is today. But did it exist in the Enterprise. And did the Enterprise predict that the internet would evolve to what it is today and perhaps more?

Yes it did.

Picard in his quarters – “Computer” (computers makes a sound indicating recognition) Picard continues : “ Give me the history of trade relations on planet Vega 3 within the past 6 years” Computer: Processing. The most recent history , etc, etc, etc.

Riker: “Computer, find Jazz music. 20th century. Moderate tempo. Play.”

What do you think that is, if not google search and an online music library database?

Also , there was an episode with Picard reading a book where he swore that he already read it. He was reading it on a tablet. This was in the late 80’s and he was reading a the equivalent of a Nook/Kindle/Ipad ebook.

They did predict the internet. But it is silly to assume that the interface will be the same in the 24th century as it is today. Look at our past. The internet has technically been around since the 1960’s. Commercially, we had it since the late 80’s but it looked VERY different than today. How did it look in the mid 90’s? Did we have broadband? How did computers change? Did we always have mice? Graphic interface? Remember DOS, command line? How will computers look in 300 years if we are still around? How will the internet change? We will still have communication and a world wide connection. But why would I be typing this on a keyboard over a screen with a mouse?

The internet has gotten wider but its function has ingrained itself into our daily lives so much that it has gotten less and less noticeable. We used to have to log-in to dial up. We would turn on our computer, start it up, and get on the internet. It was a big process at the time. Today, my PC is on 24/7. My broadband connection is constantly on. I don’t even notice it. My phone always has internet access.  I’m always connected in various places. Even with my phone.  I don’t follow the internet. The internet follows me.

So in Star Trek, they predicted (rightfully so), that eventually, the internet (or whatever it will be called at that time) will become such an ingrained part of our life that it will be virtually invisible. We won’t be logging in, turning our computers on or typing away at a keyboard and looking things up on google. It will just passively be there. Patterns have shown that this is already happening.

So if I need to look something up, no matter where I happen to be,  “Computer, where is the nearest coffee shop?” Computer: “3 miles away.  Starbucks. (In the future, all coffee will be Starbucks) “Would you like me to send directions to your cell communicator and dictate?” Me: “Thanks. Appreciate it. Oh and send message to my wife. Let her know I’ll be late today picking up groceries.” Computer: “Sure thing. Have a nice day.” Me:  ” Also, I’m in the mood for music. Play some moderate rock uh… 10 minutes. Thanks.”

That is the future of internet. Star Trek predicted it well.


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