Suggested reading: What the journey from Star Trek to Siri says about our culture

by Liz W Faber

In the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) – the one with the whales – the crew of the USS Enterprise travels back in time and, of course, hilarity ensues as the familiar faces from the future try to blend in with the San Francisco of the 1980s. At one point, Scotty sits down to a (then state-of-the-art) Macintosh computer and tries to figure out how to get it to work. Frustrated, he picks up the mouse and holds it to his mouth like a communicator device, sassily asking: ‘Hello, computer?’ This is one of the funniest moments of the movie, solely because we the viewers know that the future world of Star Trek holds such fabulous technology as talking computers, while the 1980s of the film’s production held boxy, expensive machines that could barely run a word processor, let alone a whole spaceship.

Now, almost 40 years later, as I sit here writing this article, I have just asked my own version of the Enterprise computer to play that movie for me. Thank you, Siri. … (continue at Psyche)

Published by Massimo

Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

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