Notes on: Arthur Clarke

The first of January 2014 Marc Andreessen sent 3 tweets mentioning the Clarke’s laws. This event triggered my curiosity in learning more about him.

If you like technology and if you have the opportunity to work in the telecommunications sector there are high chances that you will know about Arthur Clarke because of his contribution to the idea of global communications using satellites in a geostationary orbit. In fact Clarke in 1945 wrote a paper where he describes the possibility to transmit radio signal from satellites. The title of the paper was: Extra-Terrestrial Relays – Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?

Reading the Wikipedia webpage you can find many interesting facts about the life of Arthur Clarke. One of the traits that got my attention about his life is related to his capacity to be a creative and a rational person, with interest in science fiction writing, travel explorations, science and technology. He was the author of the Odyssey 2001 and with Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, was one of the “Big Three” of science fiction writers. During his life Clarke published a number of non-fiction books covering concept like space travel, communications, and the future of technology. In the book Profiles of the Future, published in 1962,  Clarke describes a timetable of inventions and ideas up to the year 2100. The same work also contained “Clarke’s First Law” and text that became Clarke’s three laws in later editions. Another book that got my attention is, Voices from the Sky.  First published in 1965, the book is divided into three sections: space travel, communications satellites, and a section ranges widely over the side implications of the space age.

Being a prolific writer and public speaker Arthur Clarke is also famous for many inspiring quotes. Following you can find a selection that got my attention:

  • How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when it is clearly Ocean
  • Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all
  • In my life I have found two things of priceless worth – learning and loving. Nothing else – not fame, not power, not achievement for its own sake – can possible have the same lasting value. For when your life is over, if you can say ‘I have learned’ and ‘I have loved,’ you will also be able to say ‘I have been happy

Learning about Clarke, is learning that the first step toward innovation is imagination.  If you had to imagine a timetable of future technologies from now to 2100, how would you imagine it, how you would draw the profile of the future?

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