Hello, Computer! Amazon Echo Now Takes A Cue From “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”

Amazon Echo with Scotty from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

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.”

Jeff Bezos in Star Trek Beyond

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.

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I’ve always wished that they could have gotten Majel Barret’s voice for one of these talking computers. I guess its too late now, but that would be amazing.

It isn’t too late. She made a voice database for future use before her death.

Even if she didn’t make a database, that new ‘Photoshop for voice’ app that Adobe is working on could probably build one from all the episodes recorded over the years.

There are apparently rumors Discovery will use her voice as the computer but yeah grain of salt and all of that.

Majel Barrett was a legend as the voice of the computer. But she was part of that era and her voicing the computer in Star Trek 2009 was fitting I think as her final contribution.

I think Discovery should be about the future and a new actor should voice the computer. Thats what Majel Barrett I believe would want. A new generation of Star Trek.

That would be fine but Discovery is set pre-TOS not the future so you’d think the voice would be hers. However, from their point of view, the Majel voice could be future tech and not done yet so it could work just fine though. Was her voice ever used as the computer in Enterprise? I can’t remember.

Making the voice in Discovery more fluid and realistic, rather then the “robot” voice in TOS is one of those areas where I wouldnt be too upset if they retconned.

Also for all those whiners complaining that the Trek IV scene was insulting to Scotty – well the guy went back in time 200 years to a vague “late 20th century” period and only missed this invention by a couple of decades. I think we can cut him some slack now.

Enterprise didn’t have a talking computer. It could barely take simple commands like “pause” and “play”.

can’t, it’s a prequel, which of course is not what most people were hoping for.
This kind of stuff is just going to get worse as the reality of the stupid decision plays out.

What were most people hoping for and did you poll every Trek fan to come up with that? Because I dont recall you calling me…

On similar lines, I always wondered why no Bluetooth earpiece maker ever wrangled Nichelle Nichols into doing an endorsement.

I’ve been saying this since Google Now came out. We need to be able to rename these assistants to “computer” and they should also have a Majel Barret voice profile. No matter what platform you choose (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft), you should be able to switch it over to Star Trek mode.

My husband gave me an Amazon Echo for Christmas. If you ask Alexa to set phasers to stun, she tells you that capability belongs to a future model. :-)

Try Tea, earl grey, hot. and beam me up scotty

Please see my reply to Kayla, Carboy.

Please try “Tea. Early Grey. Hot.” and report back. For science!

“Tea, Earl Grey, Hot” produces “I’m not a replicator.”

A PLAIN “Beam me up” produces “Transporter is engaged; welcome aboard.”

BUT “Beam me up, SCOTTY” produces “At warp speed, Captain, the engines will never take it.”

If you say this to Cortana she says “There appear to be intelligent life-forms on this planet. We should attempt contact.”

I still say “Hello computer” to my computer. It still doesn’t respond.

Oh, and the fact that Scotty whips out that formula that fast the way he was typing tells you that QWERTY survives into the 23rd Century and beyond. Suck it Dvorak!

This is outstanding. Kind of makes me want one, although I really don’t need one.

I thought I didn’t need one until someone got it for me as a gift. It’s the greatest thing ever. Give it a try :)

Great… Let’s mirror one of the most embarrassing moments in Trek movie history….

What at first seems awesome soon turns to annoyance, as she pipes up if you’re watching Trek and someone says “computer”.

Same as with the Echo commercials on TV. I see my Echo scan the room when it hears “Alexa” on the TV commercial, but she goes back to sleep instead of asking “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that” which I get if I say “Alexa” and then don’t ask it to do anything.

I’ll stick to ‘Hey Siri’ for all my stuff, given my career makes me Apple based! ;)

Actually, what I think of most often when having to address these modern devices is ‘Box,’ a pocket-sized AI arrived around by David Calder’s character in the 1980s TV show Star Cops.


Re: Box

I think Jack Kirby beat that by decades when he coined “Mother Box” for his DC NEW GODS comic book characters.

I want Barbara Babcock to voice mine so my Alexa sounds like the Beta 5 computer. She’s still with us.

Unfortunately it only works with any degree of accuracy if you fake an American accent, like a dickhead.

This is awesome!!! I hope that the Google version of AI follows suit, w/ a Trek-like wake word.