"Distinguishable from Magic?"

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- A.C.Clarke's Third Law

I think a lot about technology.

I am interested (on the one layer) in how it works, which is why some of my posts are about writing specific pieces of code. I grok machines and the materials they are made from, and computers just make sense to me. When I went to the Kennedy Space Center and saw the Saturn V rocket launch simulation, it made me cry.

However, more important than technology is how we think about it, and how it shapes our thinking.

I distinguish between science and technology, but also consider a number of things as technologies that are generally not considered to be so. Because even more than magic, it is my contention that any sufficiently advanced technology blends into the background so thoroughly that it becomes indistinguishable from reality. This makes it very hard to talk about, since we cannot even see it. It is like the water the fish swims in.

Broadly Writ

What I want to point out, and call your attention to, is technology as a set of tools and techniques by which local order is developed and maintained. It's not just physical objects, and it's certainly not just computers. It is the suite of activities and artifacts that we use to shape the world to our own ends.

And what I want to do with this work is make it distinguishable. Perceptible. The technologies that constrain our lives are not magic, and they're certainly not reality, not in the same way that gravity and climate are. As long as we are absorbed in their consensus, though, we can't choose whether or not to use them or be used by them.

Let us explore.