Trekking Through Simulacra
(The Distant Future.)
While listening to an audio file provided by The "Real" World magazine in an article entitled "Flying Cars And Tricorders How Sci-Fi Invented The Present" I was instantly drawn in by the statement that "Last year's science fiction is just this year's news".
Anyone familiar with the Jean Baudrillard's "Simulacra and Simulation" can already see how this links into his theory. In Baudrillard's text he explains that to simulate is "to feign to have what one doesn't have" (3). If we consider simulation in the sense that Baudrillard does it always begins as "the reflection of a profound reality".
In the television program Star Trek its reflection of a profound reality can be seen in instances such as the creation of their communicators which are based largely on telephone technology but small and portable. The next step in simulation, which the article discusses at length, is when the simulation "masks and denatures a profound reality" (3) by exposing the original telephone technology upon which the simulation is based as being inferior to the simulation. This results in the movement of the simulated technology out of the simulation and into the real in the form of cellular phones.
In Baudrillard's third phase of image the simulation "masks the absence of a profound reality" (3). This is accomplished in the example of communicators becoming cellphones by the fading away of corded phones in favor of those based off of the simulation. In this phase the 'real' phone has become that which came from Star Trek and as is the case in present day the simulation begins to overtake that which was once real.
While the implications of this are numerous it should be mentioned that a large portion of the technology which we enjoy sprouted from simulations in similar manner where science fiction simulation slowly becomes reality. I couldn't be happier by the procession of simulacra in this instance. I can't wait until we start exploring planets, fighting aliens and getting beamed up by guys named Scottie.
(If I drink enough I too can teleport.)