Burn the witches

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.

This is a good point. Arthur C Clarke wrote: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Therefore those who create advanced technology are witches. And sometimes our society still feels the need to burn the witch.

The quote from ACK is of course that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. Back in the day magic was (to my uneducated understanding) largely chemistry, slight of hand and showmanship.

Magic led to both fear and respect. Witches and wizards feature frequently at the right hand of leaders but seldom seemed to make their deathbeds in a single piece.

As technologists, we wield our powers for the advancement of ourselves, our world, and just for fun. We can do pretty crazy things and create wealth and power out of seemingly nothing in a way that witches and warlocks of yore would have been awe of. We are perhaps too glib about the comprehension and understanding this takes from the rest of the world.

Take the legend of a chosen redhead. Even as a child he cast a spell so powerful it blanketed the entire world and gave him the power to hang the thoughts, fears and dreams of a billion people in front of him like the silvery strands of the pensieve. His magic was so strong that neither the young nor the old could resist. All were seduced. Finally, unsatisfied at merely holding the thoughts of the world in his hands, this talented magician went further and emptied the purses of the richest merchants in the land to the tune of the combined value of the greatest shipping and trading companies of his day.

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