Future technology in the ‘Star Trek’ reboots. Part II: complex future(s)

2016-10-28T09:26:14Z (GMT) by Carl Wilson Garrath T. Wilson
As something for us to aim towards or as a lens to view how future technologies can be used within future worlds and contexts, something always needs fixing in Star Trek. With our first explorative adventure in Future Technology in the ‘Star Trek’ Reboots. Part I: Tethered and Performative, we examined how, through looking at future cultures and locations, brimming with advanced, shining examples of gadgetry that are tethered to our own contemporary reality, one might grasp that future technology across the Star Trek reboots – Star Trek ‘09 (Abrams, 2009a), Star Trek Into Darkness (Abrams, 2013), and Star Trek Beyond (Lin, 2016) - doesn’t necessarily reflect a better way of living, or a more sophisticated culture, but are one way in which, as “performative artifacts” within a fictional diegesis, they may reflect upon our own place within society and the governing ideological structure of society itself. As a part of this introspective endeavour, when focusing on the technology used within the Star Trek franchise, there is usually an attempt to lay out communicators, teleporters, phaser weapons, and hand-held tricorder devices as a prediction of future technology and as an attainable final goal. This is problematic because Science Fiction is not a terminus point; it does not act as the end point of a straight line according to how we perceive the world will be from today, but rather it can be used as a lens for us to probe, reflect and actively shape today into the future that we want it to become. Star Trek doesn’t foretell a type of future as a concrete inevitable outcome and final destination, it presents us with a fictional diegetic vision of how the world could be.