Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Goodbye, Arthur.

It is a sad day for all Sci-Fi fans. Arthur C. Clarke, the man who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey and invented communcations satellites, has died. I remember reading 2001 in Russian when I was a kid and thinking how magical and yet realistic he made the whole experience sound. HAL 9000, the artificial inteligence commputer, was a fantasticly flawed character whose actions resulted in people's deaths because of the commands given to HAL by the people back on Earth. HAL was the first of his kind and paved the way for William Gibson's A.I. Wintermute.

If you think about it, a lesson about responsible use of computers at a time when computers were the size of apartments and had the computing power of a modern calculator was a brilliant move on Clarke's part. Even though 2001 came and went without a manned mission to Jupiter or an artificial inteligence of any kind, Clarke's contribution to science fiction and the world in general still remains valuable. And at the end of one's life that is all anybody can hope for.