by Francis Harrison
There are few people alive who can claim to have contributed more to the world of science than Sir Arthur C Clarke. He has just celebrated his 85th birthday. In a rare interview with the BBC, he shared his vision of a future when everyone would be hooked up to the internet.
Human society and civilisation is essentially based on technology. Without it we would be back in the jungle.
Technology began with fire, with tools, and has gone all the way to now.
Without it, we would be nothing and of course there are good aspects and bad aspects. Everyone knows what they are.
The various forms of entertainment that have come in over the last century have made life richer and on the whole more enjoyable.
The other thing that has revolutionised my life and the life of many others, except perhaps a few yak herders in Outer Mongolia, is e-mail.
I cannot imagine life before e-mail. Our ancestors lived in a tiny, limited world, knowing nothing about what was going on beyond the horizon.
We do live in an infinitely richer world and are definitely better for it.
But it is true that we are getting two different worlds now: some people have access to information and I am sure a few yak herders in Mongolia do have access to e-mail. But the bulk of the world does not.
This is something that will be slowly rectified, just as after all there was a time when there were hardly any newspapers.
When printing was invented, somebody said this is very interesting but what good is it when nobody can read?
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