When Arthur C. Clarke went to the great geosynchronous orbit in the sky last year, he left behind a huge legacy, not least of which was a quote oft cited by Silicon Valley visionaries and wannabes. "Any sufficiently advanced technology," the sci-fi master wrote in 1962, "is indistinguishable from magic."
I thought of Clarke's observation recently while I was playing with a Flip MinoHD camcorder. It's a stripped-down device with a footprint smaller than an Altoids tin, yet it holds an hour of video (in high definition!) and even has 2X zoom.
After a few hours of playing around with the Flip MinoHD:
But what happens when magic is an everyday occurrence?...We all, I think, have become inured to Moore's law. The astonishing advances that once would have brought us to our knees are now reduced to a thumbs-up on Gizmodo. They're removed from the realm of magic—they're just cool gear.
But hey, we still shell out big bucks for cool.
In any case, what potential technology is left out there that would fit Clarke's criterion of magical? Small gadgets that can take pictures, surf the web, or play music are never going to be magic again, no matter how small Apple makes the next iPod shufle.
There is no computer technology that could possibly seem magical anymore (unless it's a quantum computer).