Sunday, August 11, 2013

Arthur C. Clarke's Interesting Predictions on Computers

Arthur C. Clarke is well known for the predictions he has made on space travel and astronomy. But he has also made a lot of predictions about computer science, some directly - as the HAL computer of 2001- but mostly in passing reference when his main topic is something else. I want to discuss the latter category in more detail. (Not sure why I want to write my first blog post on this rather mundance topic). His predictions range from hilariously inaccurate to surprisingly close to how things turned out.

I would first like to write about a hilarously inaccurate prediction. In his novel, Rendevous with Rama Clarke speaks about an astronomer from the 23rd century or something who is checking the images he has received from a telescope (which eventually help him discover the mammoth spaceship coming towards the Earth). It all looks fine until he talks about how the astronomer had to wait for 3 days until the computer processed the images.... I couldn't help myslef from bursting into a laughter and couldn't take the book seriously anymore. Apparently, in a world where technology has advanced so far the computers were still stuck in Clarke's own time. I'm sure that Clarke himself would have laughed at how stupid it looks.

I hope I can finish this post soon by writing about some better predictions and what they tell about Clarke, predicting about future technology and the route technology has taken.