The idea that Star Trek has changed the world might sound as farfetched as some of the USS Enterprise’s spacefaring missions, but the truth is that the science fiction series has directly or indirectly impacted both our present and future. It seems like an absurd statement — when creator Gene Roddenberry was first kicking around the idea in 1964, he probably never imagined that Star Trek would still be around in 2017 with reboots in the pipeline. But it’s influence in the realm of science, technology, and social progress is something that certainly supports the claim of how important entertainment can be. Here are seven ways that Star Trek changed the world.
1. Increased interest in science
One of the most important ways Star Trek has left an indelible footprint is the way in which it has inspired a generation of scientists and inventors — many of whom have fundamentally changed the way we live. In a Discovery piece from scientist and writer Ian O’Neill, he explains, “The spirit of discovery and adventure inspired me to learn about what makes our Universe tick.” And the sentiment is widespread according to O’Neill. “On a daily basis I come across scientists who claim the same thing: Star Trek, through its various incarnations, inspired them,” he adds. While it would be presumptive to say that Star Trek is directly responsible for an entire generation of scientific progress, the rest of this list might make you wonder.