A Star Trek lecture by Prof. Hiroto Chiba, who became a visiting professor at The Kyoto College of Graduate Studies for Informatics (KCGI) this spring, was held on August 1 at Kyoto Computer Gakuin (KCG) in front of Kyoto Station.Star Trek is a television science fiction series that began broadcasting in the United States in 1966, and was aired in Japan under the title "Uchu Daisakusen" at the time.Five TV series and twelve movies have been produced so far, and it is one of the most popular science fiction works in the world.Chiba-sensei is one of the leading experts on Star Trek in Japan, and also manages the official Japanese website (STARTREK.ne.jp).He is also the Deputy Director of the KCG Computer Museum because of his deep knowledge of the history of computers.
This lecture, titled "Future Technology as Seen in the Science Fiction Star Trek," was held as one of the events of KCG Summer Festa.According to Professor Chiba, the characteristic of Star Trek as a work of science fiction is that it avoids unscientific ideas and depicts technologies and events that are as logically consistent as possible.The spaceships and various machines that appear in the film were conceived based on the level of science and technology at the time, and whether or not they would be feasible in the future in the 2260s, when the film is set.At this event, Dr. Chiba gave a lecture on how far the science and technology imagined in the science fiction world of that time has been realized today, 50 years later.A variety of future technologies and devices are discussed, including spacecraft, transporter devices, communication devices, and recording media.Here are three of them.
Comparison #1: How far has the spacecraft been realized?
One of the most famous artifacts created by the best of science and technology in Star Trek is the starship USS Enterprise.This giant ship is 289 meters long and 132 meters wide, and uses warp navigation to travel through space faster than light.Has a comparable spacecraft ever been realized?The largest spacecraft of our time is the International Space Station, which unfortunately is inferior to the Enterprise in many ways.It is only 108.5 meters long and cannot move freely in space.Most importantly, it has the biggest drawback of not being able to fly faster than light.
Comparison #2: Has the data terminal been realized?
In Star Trek, the crew held a data terminal about the size of a thick laptop in one hand, and used a pen to write and display data.Has this type of data terminal been realized?Compare it to the modern iPad.The iPad is smaller and lighter than a data terminal, yet it is more versatile, not only in terms of data input and display, but also in terms of GPS functionality and the ability to record audio, photos and video.Modern technology has already surpassed the imagination of science fiction in this type of device.
Comparison #3: Has the transfer device been realized?
Considered by some to be Star Trek's greatest idea, the transporter is a device that allows living beings and objects to be transported instantaneously.The principle is to decompose an object into quanta, transfer them, and reconstruct them at the destination.Has this transporter been realized?Unfortunately, even a comparable device has not been developed.The transporter is the most difficult of Star Trek's future technologies to achieve.Full-scale research in the future is awaited.
Star Trek Japanese Official Website
Summer Festa 2015