Regarding the Third Law

I often find myself intoning Clarke’s Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, or anyway half of it, since everyone’s heard it already and interrupts. Actually the technology doesn’t have to be very advanced. I drive a car and grasp the basics of internal combustion engines but I still treat mine as halfway between pet and malevolent deity, muttering reassurances, curses and spells. Maybe a chip designer gets computers well enough that they are purely technology, but he can’t know that much about meteorology or gene-splicing or, well, poems. What differentiates technology from magic is not our knowledge but our faith: that someone else understands.

— James Richardson