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Amazon CEO inspired by Star Trek

During a recent interview Jeff Bezos confessed to Star Trek being his inspiration when he was a child.

By Christopher Halsey Fri 20 May, 2016 6:57 PM - Last Updated: Fri 20 May, 2016 7:28 PM
Jeffrey Preston "Jeff" Bezos is a name you may well be familiar with, he's the founder, chairman and CEO of e-commerce giant, if that wasn't impressive enough he is also founder of Blue Origin, a privately-funded aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company, oh and he also owns the The Washington Post after personally purchasing it in cash back in 2013 for a reported $250 million, small change to Bezos though who was recently estimated to have a net worth of $59.8 billion.

echoAmazon Echo, Bezos' first attempt at a Star Trek computer.One thing you might not know about him is that he is also a huge Star Trek fan, something he spoke about at the May 18th Transformers event which is a live event held by The Washington Post about pushing the boundaries of knowledge which sadly has nothing to do with giant alien robots, maybe next year?

During the event Bezos was being interviewed by The Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron, early on Baron asked Bezos to explain why Amazon decided to develop Alexa and Echo and where the idea originated from. For those that are unfamiliar with Alexa and Echo, Echo is the name of Amazon's hands-free speaker which uses both near and far field voice control to allow the user to control the device with their voice. Echo makes use of Alexa, Amazon's voice service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more, the product received generally positive reviews both from critics and consumers and was described by CNET as "the closest thing we'll have to a Star Trek computer at home".

After explaining some basics about the product and it's underlying technology Bezos admitted that when designing the product around four years ago, Amazon's long term vision was to create "the Star Trek computer, you could ask it anything and ask it to do things for you or to find things for you and it would be easy to converse with in a very natural way". Bezos went on to state that as impressive as the technology was and as exciting as Amazon's roadmap for the technology was humanity still had some way to go before it had the technology to "be as magical and as amazing as the Star Trek computer" but he felt confident that given that we still have a few years to go until Star Trek should be reality it shouldn't take humanity that long to develop the technology to make the Star Trek computer a reality.

When asked by Brown if Star Trek had been much of an inspiration to Bezos he was quick to confirm that it had been, "For sure!" he said before going on to confess to being something of a Star Trek roleplayer as a child "You know, when I was in fourth grade, me and my friends Dean and Kyle, who lived next door a couple of houses down, in Houston, Texas, would play 'Star Trek' almost every day. We'd fight over who'd get to be Captain Kirk, or Spock, and somebody used to play the computer, too. And it was actually very fun — we'd have little cardboard phasers and cardboard tricorders, you know. Good days."

New%20ShepA test landing of New Shepard.In 1982 a then 18 year old Bezos was interviewed by the Miami Herald following being named valedictorian of his high school class. During the interview he expressed a desire in spaceflight going so far as to say that he wanted " build space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million or 3 million people who would be in orbit. The whole idea is to preserve the earth." and that "The goal was to be able to evacuate humans. The planet would become a park."

Unfortunately whilst his Amazon company may be making strides towards creating a genuine Star Trek computer, Blue Origin, his aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company, has some catching up to do before making Star Trek a reality, with it's re-usable suborbital spaceflight system dubbed New Shepard, still in testing with it's first orbital launch vehicle scheduled for a test launch in 2020.

Personally I think it is quite nice to see people with some real influence inspired by Star Trek but with money still being such a driving force on humanity you do have to wonder if that influence is driving people towards Star Trek's ideals or just showing great money making opportunities, speaking of which has anyone patented a warp drive yet?

Would the world be a better place if more people were inspired by Star Trek? Should the rich and powerful be doing more to advance humanity or is our current way the way civilisation has to be? Has Star Trek ever inspired you to do something? Tell us what you think!
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