‘Star Trek,’ Which Debuted 50 Years Ago, Foreshadowed Smart Phones, Other Innovations

(CBS) – The series that took us where no man has gone before is marking a milestone.

“Star Trek,” the sci-fi phenomenon, debuted 50 years ago. It promised a world full of hope and technological advances.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole beams back in time for a look at the future.

Capt. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise began their mission 50 years ago today.

A lot of the tools creators imagined are now part of our world. Take Kirk’s hand-held communicator.

Sounds an awful lot like a cell phone, doesn’t it? And Mr. Spock’s science “tricorder” conducted research on the go; that’s kind of how we use iPads and tablets.

That thing in Uhura’s ear opened “hailing frequencies.” A wireless bluetooth headset kind of does the same thing

The ship’s talking computer sounds familiar in 2016. It’s like the Siri installation on iPhones.

“Everybody has become a Trekkie, everyone has a communicator in their pocket. Technology has changed our lives,” sociology professor John Tenuto says.

Tenuto, who teaches at the College of Lake County, uses Star Trek in the classroom to help students better understand each other.

“It has optimistic messages — it says things are going to get better,” he says.

The concept of races working together was shown first on “Star Trek” more than anywhere else, with blacks and whites all part of the same team.

Doug Murry has hosted tens of thousands of fans at Star Trek conventions for decades. He says the series has survived in spin offs and motion pictures because of what it promises for all of us.

“The Star Trek view is such a hopeful view of the future,” he says.

CBS is debuting a new “Star Trek” series early next year on stations, including CBS 2. The show will be available on its All Access platform.

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