I am a Star Trek guy. Beyond that I am a Next Generation Star Trek guy. I enjoy STNG because all in all Star Trek has a progressive outlook of the future. Humans Can travel great times in space and they live peacefully with many alien species. The set treaties with the barbarous Klingon, and they even make one of these giant monkey people head of security on their Flagship. The goal of the Enterprise was to “seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” They were on a mission, across the galaxy to simply to explore. They have no economy, machines simply provide every necessity, their only politics is among their “federation of planets”, a broad based electorate.
I think that’s neat futurism. And the last episode of Star Trek the Next was in 1994.
Since then we have been inundated with a multitude of different, less optimistic science fiction themes. In The Matrix we deal with a post-apocalyptic world where self aware machines have waged a century of war on humanity. How about “Battlestar Galatica” cable’s most popular Sci-Fi were humanity is faced with a constant barrage of man made machines that have evolved the ability to hate humans. Terminator; The Sarah Conner Chronicles, network televisions state of the art Sci-Fi series, features the struggle of a young man and his mother to prevent an apocalyptic future where machines wage an endless war against humanity.
Maybe a trend?
Because “Star Trek” shaped so much of my “future view” I have a hard time thinking that technology will have any larger impact on our lives than making synthetic brownies fro thin air and teleporting us back and forth to our spaceships. My thoughts are that technology is there to make our lives easier so that we may have more scholarly fulfilling pursuits. For every job on an assembly line lost, there is a an opening in some conservation department . . . ideally.
Ideally machines would eliminate meaningless jobs, instead they eliminate mundane jobs that mean a hell of a lot to those who procure them. People need jobs, and the elimination of a cash economy probably should have predated robots who can do human tasks. In our society technology is too often pitted against the rest of humanity, we should have figured out the whole food air thing a long time ago.
And that is probably the reason so much science fiction is so bleak. It always has used current social norms on a long timeline. The “Forever War”, a story about a war between too civilizations from different parts of the galaxy, was written by a Vietnam Veteran. The original “Star Trek”, a show about tolerance and equality, premiered in 1966 during the height of the sexual revolution. The “Next Generation” of Star Trek, a show about exploration and piece, came out during the end of the cold war, a period of hope and prosperity.
Maybe all the people sitting next to a computer screen looking for jobs that haven’t been replaced by robots and wondering “what did career builder do with my resume?” are just assuming that one day that computer will kill them.