Thursday, April 20, 2006

Magical thinking

Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke once famously remarked that "Any sufficiently advanced technology will seem indistinguishable from magic."

Technology has already advanced to the point where most of its opperations are a mystery to us. A hundred or so years ago it was faily obvious to grasp how a plough, a pump, a windmill or even a gun worked, but how many of us today REALLY understand how a computer, cellphone, or modern car works? Some people understand the jist of it. Most don't understand the details and the principles behind them.

In the near future technology will be advancing at a quicker and quicker pace. The technology will become more pervasive yet more invisible. For example: websites can already tell what country you are from, and sometimes what your name is. In the near future its probable that when one is walking around, various signs and displays will greet us by name, and show us things that it - through its algorithms - thinks we might be interested in.

Future generations of children will grow up in a world that seems alive, objects that know who they are, and almost unimaginably powerful computing woven into every area of life.

What sort of ideas will such future generations have about the world? Will they subscribe to 'magical thinking' or perhaps they will end up understanding it all better than we do?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"In the near future technology will be advancing at a quicker and quicker pace".

This assumes you have a smart enough population to invent these new things. The rich and the liberals have quite a different idea about this. Their idea is to fill up the whole of the Western world with a servant caste imported from the Third world -- essentially recreating the master-slave relationships of ancient Rome. The tech future that you envision is not what they envision, and they have the power to implement their vision. They have been doing it all my life.