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The Magic of Technology

Arthur C. Clarke was once quoted as saying, ôAny sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.ö As a science fiction writer, ClarkeÆs insight about advanced technology was highly perceptive. As a matter of fact, when technology is truly advanced, it does appear to be magic. ôCertain scientific advances are beginning to simulate phenomena that would previously have been consigned to the realm of the paranormalö (Kane 24).

Technology is rooted in the real world. It provides electronic solutions to human problems using the circuits and microcomputer chips that simulate human action. Where technology appears to make the leap to magic is where the underlying scientific basis that it operates on is no longer visible to the human eye. This is the distinction between magic and technology; technology has known and usually visible scientific underpinnings, while magicÆs underpinnings are a mystery. Magic appears to occur without any known cause and to transcend what is realistically possible. Real magic is supernatural; it is the doing of things that are impossible to do. Magicians appear to be doing real magic, but they are merely fooling the eye. Everything magicians do is actually possible, and in most cases relatively simple and mundane. It is the concealing of the underlying mystery of how the magic trick is done that makes it appear to be supernatural.

In this sense, advanced technology can easily and logically be compared to a magic trick. Although the viewer may not be able to see what goes on behind the scenes to make a technological marvel occur, the marvel is really just a natural physical phenomenon that follows ordinary scientific rules and merely conceals how it accomplishes its feat. An example of technology that poses as magic is home automation, or the ôSmart Home.ö In a smart home, electronic sensors and microchips change the color of a room to a cooler one in t


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The Magic of Technology. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:20, April 19, 2019, from