In the Future, Life Will Not Be Like Star Trek



from The Dilbert Future : Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century
by Scott Adams



	There are so many Star Trek(tm) spin-offs that it is easy to fool yourself
	into thinking that the Star Trek vision is an accurate vision of the future.
	Sadly, Star Trek does not take into account the stupidity, selfishness, and
	horniness of the average human being. Allow me to describe some of the more
	obvious errors in the Star Trek vision. 


	Medical Technology 

	On Star Trek, the doctors have handheld devices that instantly close any
	openings in the skin. Imagine that sort of device in the hands of your
	unscrupulous friends. They would sneak up behind you and seal your ass shut
	as a practical joke. The devices would be sold in novelty stores instead of
	medical outlets. All things considered, I'm happy that it's not easy to close
	other people's orifices. 


	Transporter 
	
	It would be great to be able to beam your molecules across space and then
	reassemble them. The only problem is that you have to trust your co-worker to
	operate the transporter. These are the same people who won't add paper to the
	photocopier or make a new pot of coffee after taking the last drop. I don't
	think they'll be double-checking the transporter coordinates. They'll be
	accidentally beaming people into walls, pets, and furniture. People will
	spend all their time apologizing for having inanimate objects protruding from
	parts of their bodies. 
	
	'Pay no attention to the knickknacks; I got beamed into a hutch yesterday.' 

	If I could beam things from one place to another, I'd never leave the house.
	I'd sit in a big comfy chair and just start beaming groceries, stereo
	equipment, cheerleaders, and anything else I wanted right into my house. I'm
	fairly certain I would abuse this power. If anybody came to arrest me, I'd
	beam them into space. If I wanted some paintings for my walls, I'd beam the
	contents of the Louvre over to my place, pick out the good stuff, and beam
	the rest into my neighbor's garage. 
	
	If I were watching the news on television and didn't like what I heard, I
	would beam the anchorman into my living room during the commercial break,
	give him a vicious wedgie, and beam him back before anybody noticed. I'd
	never worry about 'keeping up with the Joneses,' because as soon as they got
	something nice, it would disappear right out of their hands. My neighbors
	would have to use milk crates for furniture. And that's only after I had all
	the milk crates I would ever need for the rest of my life. There's only one
	thing that could keep me from spending all my time wreaking havoc with the
	transporter: the holodeck. 


	Holodeck 

	For those of you who only watched the 'old' Star Trek, the holodeck can
	create simulated worlds that look and feel just like the real thing. The
	characters on Star Trek use the holodeck for recreation during breaks from
	work. This is somewhat unrealistic. If I had a holodeck, I'd close the door
	and never come out until I died of exhaustion. It would be hard to convince
	me I should be anywhere but in the holodeck, getting my oil massage from
	Cindy Crawford and her simulated twin sister. Holodecks would be very
	addicting. If there weren't enough holodecks to go around, I'd get the names
	of all the people who had reservations ahead of me and beam them into
	concrete walls. I'd feel tense about it, but that's exactly why I'd need a
	massage. I'm afraid the holodeck will be society's last invention. 


	Sex with Aliens 

	According to Star Trek, there are many alien races populated with creatures
	who would like to have sex with humans. This would open up a lot of
	anatomical possibilities, but imagine the confusion. It's hard enough to have
	sex with human beings, much less humanoids. One wrong move and you're
	suddenly transported naked to the Gamma Quadrant to stand trial for
	who-knows-what. This could only add to performance anxiety. You would never
	be quite sure what moves would be sensual and what moves would be a
	galactic-sized mistake. 

	Me Trying to Have Sex with an Alien: 

	Me: May I touch that? 

	Alien: That is not an erogenous zone. It is a separate corporeal being that
	has been attached to my body for six hundred years. 
	
	Me: It's cute. I wonder if it would let me have sex with it. 
	
	Alien: That's exactly what I said six hundred years ago. 
	
	The best part about having sex with aliens, according to the Star Trek model,
	is that the alien always dies a tragic death soon afterward. I don't have to
	tell you how many problems that would solve. Realistically, the future won't
	be that convenient. 
	

	Phasers 

	I would love to have a device that would stun people into unconsciousness
	without killing them. I would use it ten times a day. If I got bad service at
	the convenience store, I'd zap the clerk. If somebody with big hair sat in
	front of me at the theater, zap! 
	
	On Star Trek, there are no penalties for stunning people with phasers. It
	happens all the time. All you have to do is claim you were possessed by an
	alien entity. Apparently, that is viewed as a credible defense in the Star
	Trek future. Imagine real criminals in a world where the 'alien possession'
	defense is credible. 

	Criminal: Yes, officer, I did steal that vehicle, and I did kill the
	occupants, but I was possessed by an evil alien entity. 
	
	Officer: Well, okay. Move along. 
	
	I wish I had a phaser right now. My neighbor's dog likes to stand under my
	bedroom window on the other side of the fence and bark for hours at a time.
	My neighbor has employed the bold defense that he believes it might be
	another neighbor's dog, despite the fact that I am standing there looking at
	him barking only twenty feet away. In a situation like this, a phaser is
	really the best approach. I could squeeze off a clean shot through the willow
	tree. A phaser doesn't make much noise, so it wouldn't disturb anyone. Then
	the unhappy little dog and I could both get some sleep. If the neighbor
	complains, I'll explain that the phaser was fired by the other neighbor's
	dog, a known troublemaker who is said to be invisible. And if that doesn't
	work, a photon torpedo is clearly indicated. 


	Shields 

	I wish I had an invisible force field. I'd use it all the time, especially
	around people who spit when they talk or get too close to my personal space.
	In fact, I'd probably need a shield quite a bit if I also had a phaser to
	play with. 
	
	I wouldn't need a big shield system like the one they use to protect the
	Enterprise, maybe just a belt-clip device for personal use. I could insult
	dangerous people without fear of retribution. Whatever crumbs of personality
	I now have would be completely unnecessary in the future. On the plus side,
	it would make shopping much more fun. 
	
	Shopping with Shields Up: 

	Me: Ring this up for me, you unpleasant cretin. 
	
	Saleswoman: I oughta slug you! 
	
	Me: Try it. My shields are up. 
	
	Saleswoman: Damn! 
		
	Me: There's nothing you can do to harm me. 

	Saleswoman: I guess you're right. Would you like to open a charge account?
	Our interest rates are very reasonable. 
	
	Me: Nice try. 


	Long-Range Sensors 

	If people had long-range sensors, they would rarely use them to scan for new
	signs of life. I think they would use them to avoid work. You could run a
	continuous scan for your boss and then quickly transport yourself out of the
	area when he came near. If your manager died in his office, you would know
	minutes before the authorities discovered him, and that means extra break	
	time. 

	And that's why the future won't be like Star Trek. 
	


Written by Scott Adams, published in "The Dilbert Future" by HarperBusiness. Copyright United Media, 1997. Please keep this notice with the text.



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