- 25 Sep 09, 08:41 GMT
While Captain Kirk and the members of the Starship Enterprise were tasked with boldly going where no-one has ever gone before, those attending Intel's developer forum (IDF) were given an equally weighty mission.
"You developers are the dreamers in our culture. I encourage you not to be afraid to dream that big dream. What if? What if? What if?"
These were the words of LeVar Burton who played Geordie la Forge on the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
As the chief engineer constantly seen fixing machines or discovering new scientific phenomena, perhaps it was fitting that the actor came to IDF to inspire. And even more fitting that he made his comments during the company's big play for the future of television.
Mr Burton told the audience that he firmly believed early episodes of the programme helped encourage young viewers to take up science and to go out and invent and come up with new ideas.
He said that he was a geek thanks to literature and that, in his mother's house, "you read a book or got hit in the head."
As a youngster, Mr Burton told the audience that he was drawn to science fiction writing but that "it was rare for me to see heroes in the pages of those novels that looked like me, a person of colour". Gene Rodenberry, the creator of Star Trek, changed all that for him.
"When the future comes, there will be a place for you."
Mr Burton said that for him the two most influential and powerful words in the English language are "what if" and he encouraged the developers at IDF to go out and make the "link between what we imagine and what we manifest".
And he noted that "human beings manifest machines. It is what we are hard-wired to do."
Mr Burton wound up by posing the question:
"What are the contributions you are going to make in our present that will lead us to our future?"
He ended using the words of his friend and fellow actor Patrick Stewart in the role of Jean-Luc Picard: "make it so."
Update 1134: Apologies to all enraged Trekkers and appalled Trekkies. After carefully avoiding either of those divisive terms throughout this post, the last line contained a clanger, conflating Captains Picard and Clark. This has now been rectified.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites