Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Indistinguishable from Magic

I Just heard that Arthur C. Clarke, the famous sci-fi author, passed away today, at the age of 90.

To me, and many others, he was a true visionary. The technology in his books always seemed tangible. Most of what he predicted came to be (most noticeably, the satellite and advances in computer science and A.I.). But most of all, his books dealt with humans: how small, yet wonderful they are and how do they cope with experiences far bigger than themselves.

I will never forget the book and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. The first time a computer (HAL) developed a personality. Also recommended is Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood's End.
Along the way he inspired other artists (Kubrik on film, Mike Oldfield, who wrote a full album - The Songs of Distant Earth - inspired by a novel of the same name).

Yes, the last part of his life was surrounded with controversy, but on the whole, the world was a much better place with Clarke in it. I shall miss him. Here's a link to the NY Times obituary.

The title of this post comes from Clarke's famous quote "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." (or: try explaining a light bulb to a caveman).

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