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Monday
Jan012018

Technology and bangs and smoke magic - River of thoughts - Part 3

From Harry Potter by the highly acclaimed modern literary genius Joanne Kathleen Rowling:

He had never seen a wizard work like this, simply by looking and touching; but Harry had long since learned that bangs and smoke were more often the marks of ineptitude than expertise.

- Harry Potter contrasts Albus Dumbledore's magical actions in the Horcrux Cave to bangs-and-smells magic.

Often I feel a similar way about technology, as Arthur Charles Clarke's Third Law states:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

There's a feeling when one discovers something delightful for the first time, it's hard to pin down precisely why, perhaps it's something novel or even unique, perhaps it does something or expands the mind in a way that seemed impossible on the first inspection but inevitable upon careful examination.

It's also often different for every person, for me it has been things like reinventing the "Hello World" program as "Hi Earth", or double tapping a Nao's chest to stiffen it and watch it stand under its own power. Both represent the sum of an almost unquantifiable amount of human progress over the past millenia to acquire the appropriate raw materials, manufacture them including tricking them into thinking, and then the human effort to harness those appropriately to do something meaningful, at least for oneself.

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