Arthur C. Clarke was known worldwide as a prolific author, futurist and the man most often credited with the concept of the geostationary communications satellite. While the idea was posited by others before Clarke, he was probably most instrumental in giving the idea widespread popularity, and in that vein he brought them to life. Because of that our everyday lives have changed forever and for the better.
While best known for his amazing writing career, like all creators of speculative fiction he enjoyed positing his ideas about what our real future would bring. If you’ve seen past predictions by people in the fields of science and speculative fiction you already know most predictions for a future even 20-30 years out are way off.
Prepare to be amazed by this video. In a clip from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation you will hear and see Arthur C. Clarke nail the future 20 years from the time he spoke these words. Honestly, I think he’s taken a ride with a madman in a blue box before the interview, otherwise how could he have gotten this so spot on? (I don’t remember a bespectacled writer as a companion, but maybe that’s in future episodes. It’s all so timey-wimey anyway.)
You’ve got to admit that was scary good. Not only does he predict the internet and PCs, but the concept of “telecommuting” whereby one can work from home and be just as productive.
I think every science fiction fan is aware of Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, but less familiar (or at least less mentioned) are Arthur C. Clarke’s Three Laws of Prediction. I’d like to leave you with those as they can be applied to our daily lives and they’re not only true, but awesome.
- When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Of these three, the third and final one is by far the most well known and repeated. It only takes a minute to sit back and think of the technology we have in our everyday lives right now that would seem almost magical to someone living just 100 years ago.
The future is changing fast and Arthur C. Clarke had a better view of it than most. He was a most impressive man indeed.