Monday, September 16, 2013

Why there are no Computer Scientists in Star Trek (Seriously)

If you've watched any Star Trek you've heard all sorts of people use phrases like:

"I wrote a program to...."
"I wrote an algorithm to...."

"We designed a computer program to...."

And usually the results of their work do magical things.

What's interesting is that EVERYONE seems to know how to write programs and make computers do anything they want. Doctors, Captains, Engineers, and even Guinan have the ability to look at source code, understand it, and modify it.

How long have computers been around? A decade tops. They've been common in industry for far less than that. And already if you walked into a job and said, "What's a computer?" You'd never get hired.

This is only going to get more so as time goes on. Computer skills are going to be more and more necessary for various jobs. President Obama recognized this and commented that high schoolers should be learning how to program.

My theory: By the time we're travelling in space, we will all be programmers. Hence no need for people who specialize in programming. Instead of going into Computer Science as a specific field, people will learn how to program for their specific field.

Or Gene Roddenberry wasn't as perfect as we all think. But I like my first idea better.