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3 Examples of Technology as Magic

 , updated on July 16, 2023
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
~ Arthur C. Clarke
Magic technology is the idea that science and technology have become a modern substitute for the magical, mystical and spiritual. This is associated with belief that a technology or science will solve problems and have benefits without being able to explain how. Magic technology is further associated with the belief that science and technology have answered all questions such that they provide absolute certainty.

Examples

A company CEO states that adoption of AI will boost productivity without being able to explain how beyond a few glittering generalities.
The belief that science provides a single and uncontested answer to every question without any grey areas, unknowns, conflicting data or difference of opinion between authoritative scientists.
Overstating the capabilities of technologies and sciences and understating their risks. For example, the argument that societies should be automatically government by algorithms and AI with the statement that this would make society "logical." This may understand the complexities involved such as machine biases and overstate the ability of technology to do all things in some rational way that aligns to the human sense of justice, culture and the value of the human experience.
Overview: Magic Technology
Type
Definition
Technology that is viewed as magic whereby an organization understands what it does but not how it works.
Value
Viewing technology as a black box can be a useful abstraction that hides unneeded details behind a simple interface. If you rent a car you may not care much about the engine, just that the car gets you where you need to go.
Risks
Basing decisions on superficial information such as sales pitches tends to lead to failed technology projects.
Lack of due diligence and control.
Non-compliance to regulations.
Black box technology implementations that work well under normal market conditions but have erratic or extreme responses to exceptional conditions.
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