Alexa, Amazon’s digital voice assistant that responds to your commands on their Echo speaker, has a brand-new feature: instead of having to tap it awake, or call it by its name, you can pull a Scotty from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and just say, “Computer.”
This is all because of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who happens to be a huge Star Trek fan. He watched the show as a kid, and role-played the characters with his friends. The Echo, it turns out, was inspired by the show, and part of Bezos’ lifelong dream to integrate voice commands into technology, mirroring the pre-Siri computer voice on the U.S.S. Enterprise. Mission accomplished!
Bezos, as most fans know, also had cameo in Star Trek Beyond. He was in just one scene, and showed up with an entourage so intense that it made a big impression.
“I was there for the bit with his, like, nine bodyguards and three limos. It was really intense,” Chris Pine told The Hollywood Reporter . “I had no idea who he was. Not a clue. But he was obviously very important.”
“For years, I have been begging Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, to let me be in a ‘Star Trek’ movie. I was very persistent, and you can imagine the poor director who got the call, you know, ‘You have to let Bezos be in your “Star Trek” movie,’” Bezos told the audience at a Pathfinder Awards Banquet last October. “I said, ‘Look, I’ll put any amount of makeup on. I’ll be invisible, nobody will know it’s me. But I want a speaking part, and I want it to be in a scene that is central to the story line so that I cannot end up on the cutting-room floor,’” Bezos recalled. “Those were my requirements, and they honored those requirements.”
Of course Amazon isn’t the only company inspired by the Enterprise’s computer voice. Google Now was originally code-named “Majel” in its early stages. But Amazon took its founder’s fandom to the next level, so if you’ve got the Echo, make like Scotty and greet it properly.