How to wake up Alexa by her Star Trek moniker, and a brief history of futurism in the series.
Here’s a quick Lifehacker guide about how to change Alexa’s name to “Computer.” Is it already possible to do something like this with Google Home or Nest or somesuch? I don’t know, but we’re pretty much there. We just need to subtract the little blue column of metal from the picture and that’s that.
Trek wasn’t so much the first in scifi to predict technologies like these (as the genre in book form had been making these predictions for almost a century before Trek debuted), but the series certainly launched these ideas into the pop mainstream. My favorite example would be automatic doors and Trek: the crew actually manually pulled the doors open for Kirk as a cost-saving measure! From Filmjunk.com:
The sliding doors on all the Star Trek series were operated manually off-screen through either a pulley-system or levers. This was probably a cost-saving measure, but it was also required because the AI controlling the doors seemed as though it could read people’s intentions. The Nitpicker Guides by Phil Farrand for various Star Trek series point out various inconsistencies in how the doors seemed to work between various episodes. These inconsistencies were due to the dramatic requirements of scenes. For example, if a character exited a door and turned around to say something, how close to the door would the character have to be in order to keep the door open? (As an interesting side note, video games have to deal with these sorts of problems when triggering level changes at doorways.)
If there’s one technology I’m really excited for, it would be the replicator. I guess we’ll have to settle for shitty 3D printers in the meantime.