Posts Tagged ‘Clarke’


Are there more seeming opposites than technology and magic?  Technology works objectively, whereas magic, based on superstition, seems to be ineffective.  The former is perceived to be rational and is associated with a scientific outlook; the latter is seen to be irrational illogical. But our expectations for technology have become magical and our use of it is increasingly irrational.  Magic in turn has acquired a rational façade even it is called sometimes the “science” of illusion.  In short, technology and magic, while separate and distinct categories in some abstract sense, are more and more related to each other. Sir Arthur Charles Clarke has even postulated a law: “Have you noticed how any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic?” [1]

This is how:

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Amara’s law — We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
Bradford’s law — a pattern described by Samuel C. Bradford in 1934 that estimates the exponentially diminishing returns of extending a library search.
Brooks’ law — Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Clarke’s three laws — Formulated by Arthur C. Clarke. Several corollaries to these laws have also been proposed.
First law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Second law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (I loved this one and it’s true) (more…)