Articles  |  ,   |  June 1, 2020

Star Trek, medicine, ethics, nanotechnology and nursing

Journal article by Victor Grech.
Published in Early Human Development.


The first collection of Star Trek (ST) papers in this journal concentrated on the various doctors that appeared in ST in chronological screening order. This second collection will demonstrate that depictions of certain characters in ST harkens back to the high-ranking Nazis Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele, cautionary tales, lest we allow history to repeat itself and such atrocities to be relived. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is also explored as well as issues pertaining to AI in the medical field and ST’s introduction of “ethical subroutines” that attempt to ensure that artificial beings (including doctors) are created with the machine analogues of a conscience. Nanotechnology in ST is also shown to be a potential field that can be applied not only for medical benefit but also with malevolent intentions. These narratives also serve as cautionary tales with regard to the potential unintended consequences of completely unfettered research. Finally, another paper will review the role of nurses in the Star Trek universe and will show that while nursing as a profession has striven for autonomy, in ST, the nurse continues to be overshadowed by the medical doctor. It is hoped that this collection of papers may help us to understand where it is that medicine may be heading and what are our best options are for averting problems, tragedy and outright disaster/s.