Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality,
Big Data, Alternate and Augmented Reality
For those who once watched “Star Trek” or read/saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” or read ANYTHING by Isaac Asimov, we were all amazed back then that these ideas would be remotely possible in just 50 years. At least, “Star Trek” put it several hundred years into the future, in the 23rd century.
But since “Star Trek” and “2001” first made their debuts, these terms are now commonplace and much of that equipment which was shown back then, are either far along in development or, in many cases, now being used.
Who knew? Were Arthur C. Clarke, Gene Roddenberry and Isaac Asimov such futurists?
Or, did they merely spark imagination to bring fantasy into a reality, from which there is now no going back? Perhaps, it was the NASA space program, which sparked new ideas in these very gifted people, who saw that the improbable was really possible. After all, the computers back in the 1960s were huge clunkers that took up gymnasiums. Now, they fit into the palm of your hand.
Look at some of the more routine items we use today: MRIs, cell phones, CT and PT Scans, Cyber-Knife procedures, flat screen TVs, the internet, video phones, debit cards, the space station, Bluetooth, voice-recognition equipment, transponders, like LoJack and GPS. These all made their appearances in the 1960s in science fiction. Even NASA’s space shuttle, which flew from 1981 to 2011, took Heywood Floyd to the moon in Kubrick’s imagination back in 1962; artistically to the music of Johann Strauss’s “Blue Danube” no less.
It’s only a matter of time until Captain Kirk’s “Beam me up, Scotty” will ultimately become less an imaginary art and more of a real utility, right? Care to guess what year it will be possible?
Think about this. “HAL” was the first time many of us met an Artificial Intelligence-enhanced creature, with voice recognition. Now, we have SIRI, EVA, Alexa, Cortana and Google Home, literally at our beck and call.
Machine Learning? There was HAL again in 1962, as he realized that Dave Bowman was going to destroy him. And yes, I said “HE”, because HAL had, what we call today, male “personality insights”; just like “Star Trek, The Next Generation’s” character, “Data” who had personality insights, too.
Today we also have IBM’s Watson with those same personality insights.
Virtual and Augmented Reality? Captain Kirk was tortured with AR in 1968 and Captain Picard loved to go to the VR holodeck to find some good, old-fashioned, (in the 24th Century) R&R in 1987.
As you look around and hear terms like AI, VR and Big Data, in business, we first heard them in a movie theater, or at home watching TV, not in your “office” whatever your individual model looks like.
They may have not been as we know them as today, but they’ve been around for over a half century. And they are being improved upon all the time. Captain Kirk knew that when he told Scotty, “Young minds, fresh ideas.”
So, the next time you sit down to watch “Star Trek”, or the movie “I-Robot” or so many others that today fill the choices we have almost everywhere, remember the pioneers who thought of these concepts in the 1960s, way back when it was good old “Sci-Fi.” Today, these ideas are our “Science Reality.”
And who among us will be the next Roddenberry, Clarke and Asimov’s who will “write” something – maybe in computer code this time – which some might think is improbable, but someday, will be absolutely possible!