Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C Clarke’s third law of prediction came to mind while walking through wetlands near my home on the way to my local beach.
I had woken very early and packed my camera kit for some photography thinking I’d set up well before the dawn. I started along the trail, tripod rattling, when I was forced to stop. It was just pitch black.
I know this path incredibly well and often have walked it at night returning late from the train station but this morning it was just too dark. I didn’t really want to return home for a torch and kept inching forward. It was no good, this would take too long and I’d be better off striding home.
I took my new iPhone 6 from my pocket to see how much light it gave off. Not much. Certainly not enough. Then I remembered my old iPhone used to have a torch app. I quickly searched the app store and within thirty seconds had a very powerful torch lighting the path through the darkness.
A simple anecdote, so ordinary nowadays that it is barely worth mentioning but yet, sometimes the absolutely awesome power individuals have to solve problems, create, share and learn needs some simple light shone upon it. Throughout history, the darkness of night and the need for light would have caused countless individuals very practical challenges, perhaps even led to their demise. The idea that one could type a few letters into a search engine to solve the problem is still amazing and certainly would have delighted our ancestors.
Later that morning I took some photos with my phone and camera. They were edited and online shortly after returning home. Once again, throughout our human journey this kind of power, to recreate what we see and share it widely, would have been a magic beyond belief.
Sometimes it is good to take a moment to step back, to reflect and be awed by the tools at our fingertips.
Do you feel like this too?
Featured image: creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by In Focuz: http://flickr.com/photos/tarang9211/5907614984