arthur c. clarke

TODAY marks the 50th anniversary of “2001: A Space Odyssey” premiere. To celebrate, Cannes will premiere an “unrestored” 70mm print, followed by select North American screenings and a 4K Blu-ray releases later this year. ⬛️ “For the first time since the original film’s release, this 70mm print was struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative meaning it’s a true photochemical film recreation.” Stanley Kubrick would be proud.

The most poetic introduction to computer science I’ve seen

Computational processes are abstract beings that inhabit computers. As they evolve, processes manipulate other abstract things called data. The evolution of a process is directed by a pattern of rules called a program. People create programs to direct processes. In effect, we conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells. 

A computational process is indeed much like a sorcerer’s idea of a spirit. It cannot be seen or touched. It is not composed of matter at all. However, it is very real. It can perform intellectual work. It can answer questions. It can affect the world by disbursing money at a bank or by controlling a robot arm in a factory. The programs we use to conjure processes are like a sorcerer’s spells. They are carefully composed from symbolic expressions in arcane and esoteric programming languages that prescribe the tasks we want our processes to perform.

- From Chapter 1 of The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, by Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman with Julie Sussman (MIT Press 1996, 2nd edition).

[Refer to Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.]