We are the wizards

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clarke

For the vast majority of humanity, we have achieved Clarke’s vision: our technology is now indistinguishable from magic.

Do you understand what happens when you turn the key to start your car?  Do you know why flipping a switch fills your room with light?  Do you know how that little box that you are staring at brings you these words?

You may at that.  There may be no mysteries for you in these technologies.  But if that’s the case, you are one of the wizards.

We engineers are the wizards of the modern world.  Because if our world operates on magic, and it does, then it needs wizards to keep that magic working, wizards who understand the arcane forces, wizards who extend the power of our magic in new ways.

That is our job.

We are not the kings.  We do not generally run the great corporations or governments, we serve them.  We are the Merlins to the Arthurs, to the presidents, senators, and CEO’s.  (Though there is the occasional Wizard-King – Bill Gates springs to mind.  And while some view him as a wizard-king in the mode of Sauron, I’ll admit to a secret joy in the fact that the richest man in the world is one of us.)  We do not command the world.  But we do in a very real sense run it.

It’s a wonderful thing to be a wizard.  It’s a wonderful thing to master these technologies.  We can do great things for the world, and have plenty of fun doing it.  And as people gaze on these wonders with amazement, we smile, knowing that these are our gifts to the world.

What a great time it is to be a geek!

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