For better or for worse, humanity has entered the Age of Automation. Computers and machines, once visible only in imaginations and in television studios (as props) now form a nigh inescapable bond around us. Devices that are orders of magnitude more powerful than the Apollo spacecrafts, the pinnacle of technology a mere fifty years ago, now fit comfortably in our hands. In some ways, these enormous advances have benefitted us greatly. In other ways, most of us would agree that there have been drawbacks. Face-to-face conversation is now at a premium.
Star Trek showed us a world filled with incredible technologies, too numerous to account for entirely. We all know of the warp drive, and the transporter, and on the whole, these things brought great hope and prosperity to the Federation. But there were little joys that seemed to be lost as the years past. Cooking is a rarity in the Federation- replicator units have removed the need for it. Keiko O’Brien’s reaction to Miles’ statement that his mother cooked with live animals proves this. The use of pen and paper seems to have been lost as well. Save for a few select instances, everything from scientific reports to fictional stories have been transcribed upon PADDs, the mechanical devices so commonly seen in a character’s hand. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I take pride and joy in cleaning the house. That seems to be absent in the world of Star Trek, at least onboard ships.
Certainly these things are often seen as hassles. Who wants to cook after ten hours at work? Who would pine for additional paperwork? And cleaning the house? Forget it! But I feel that if we lost these things to automation, we might begin to feel their absense keenly.