Austin Ewens

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Modern Day Wizard

Posted on 2018-10-07

Back in the medieval times, wizards were individuals who could wield power to perform acts that the hoi polloi could assume to be attributed to magic. However, we know that they were not really wielding magic, but rather were skilled in the art of deception. For this reason, the word "wizard" does not only refer to people with magical powers, but can also refer to a skillful person.

That being said, in the modern era people have taken a liking to seeing those who are technologically adept as something akin to wizards. This is probably due to the third law of Clarke's three laws which states "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Additionally, from Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs there's a splendid description of how programming factors into the analogy of magic to technology:

In effect, we conjure the spirits of the computer with our spells.

A computational process is indeed much like a sorcerer's idea of a spirit.

It cannot be seen or touched.

It is not composed of matter at all.

However, it is very real.

It can perform intellectual work.

It can answer questions.

It can affect the world by disbursing money at a bank or by controlling a robot arm in a factory.

The programs we use to conjure processes are like a sorcerer's spells.

With this in mind, simply addressing one's self as a wizard without any other context tends to lean towards the medieval type of wizard rather than the kind that is well versed in technology. So, to better distinguish between the two I went with the title "Modern Day Wizard".