Life Will Not Be Like Star Trek
By: Scott Adams

Written by Scott Adams, published in "The Dilbert Future" by
HarperBusiness. Copyright United Media, 1997. Please keep
this notice with the text if you forward it by e-mail.

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

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.


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.


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

          May I touch that?
          That is not an erogenous zone. It is a separate
          corporeal being that has been attached to my body
          for six hundred years.
          It's cute. I wonder if it would let me have sex
          with it.
          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.


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.

          Yes, officer, I did steal that vehicle, and I did
          kill the occupants, but I was possessed by an evil
          alien entity.
          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

And if that doesn't work, a photon torpedo is clearly


Given the choice, I would rather be a cyborg instead of 100
percent human. I like the thought of technology becoming
part of my body. As a human, I am constantly running to the
toolbox in my garage to get a tool to deal with some new
household malfunction. If I were a cyborg, I might have an
electric drill on my arm, plus a metric socket set. That
would save a lot of trips. From what I've seen, the cyborg
concept is a modular design, so you can add whatever tools
you think you'd use most.

I'd love to see crosshairs appear in my viewfinder every
time I looked at someone. It would make me feel menacing,
and I'd like that. I'd program myself so that anytime I saw
a car salesman, a little message would appear in my
viewfinder that said 'Target Locked On.'

It would also be great to have my computer built into my
skull. That way I could surf the Net during useless periods
of life, such as when people talk to me. All I'd have to do
is initiate a head-nodding subroutine during boring
conversations and I could amuse myself in my head all day

I think that if anyone could become a cyborg, there would be
a huge rush of people getting in line for the conversion.
Kids would like it for the look. Adults would like it for
its utility. Cyborg technology has something for everyone.
So, unlike Star Trek, I can imagine everyone wanting to be a

The only downside I can see is that when the human part dies
and you're at the funeral, the cyborg part will try to claw
its way out of the casket and slay all the mourners. But
that risk can be minimized by saying you have an important
business meeting, so you can't make it to the service.


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

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

          Ring this up for me, you unpleasant cretin.
          I oughta slug you!
          Try it. My shields are up.
          There's nothing you can do to harm me.
          I guess you're right. Would you like to open a
          charge account? Our interest rates are very
          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.

Vulcan Death Grip

Before all you Trekkies write to correct me, I know there is
no such thing as a Vulcan Death Grip even in Star Trek. But
I wish there were. That would have come in handy many times.
It would be easy to make the Vulcan Death Grip look like an

     'I was just straightening his collar and he collapsed.'

I think the only thing that keeps most people from randomly
killing other citizens is the bloody mess it makes and the
high likelihood of getting caught. With the Vulcan Death
Grip, it would be clean and virtually undetectable.
Everybody would be killing people left and right. You
wouldn't be able to have a decent conversation at the office
over the sound of dead co-workers hitting the carpet.

The most common sounds in corporate America would be -

     'I'm sorry I couldn't give you a bigger raise, but . .
     . erk!'

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