When “Star Trek: The Next Generation” first aired in the 1980s, it envisioned a number of technological advances for humankind's future. Set in the 24th century, the show featured 3-D printers, visors that could provide artificial sight and a virtual reality simulator called the holodeck. But perhaps its most prescient creation was the supercomputer onboard the ship. The software — usually referred to only as “Computer” — could locate people, open doors and retrieve answers to complicated questions. Crew members spoke their requests, and an always-present helper responded within seconds.