Sufficiently Advanced Magic

Sufficiently Advanced Magic
Seth Raphael, MIT Media Lab

The difference between magic and science? Science is about giving away the secrets to so we can improve it. A long time ago Magic was Technology and now recently its been magic vs technology. Denouncing the value of magic is worrying. The point of this conference is that our technology is like magic now.

The history of magic

Religon, science and magic were combined and demostrated by sharmans. Scientific projects became magic tricks like in the prestage. Then Religon split from the magic in the bible. Then split between magic and science with alcalaum. Science branches off into Chemistry. Was Robert-Houdin a hacker? He was a clock maker and built the orange tree trick which is seen in the illustionist. He also built Automatas

Chess and the Turk. The Turk could play real chess and beat people. Whats the difference between that and Deepblue which beat Garry Kasparov? The Turk was a real person not a machine. Elektro was built by the westinghouse company as a robot of the future but was a remote controlled robot not real. Mr Electricty was very alien to people at the time but now we tamed electricty. Magic invited Cinema because they were trying to do ghost like effects.

Current day magic. Punchcard tricks. Marco Tempest is doing video online on You tube. Magications being using RFIDs for ages. Decks of card, tables, the whole lot.

And now some technology tricks

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The Core of Fun with Raph Koster

The Core of Fun
Raph Koster, President, Areae, Inc.

Things which work have a underling structure. Structure is deep but fractal, it breaks down into many levels. Raph uses jazz and blues music to demonstrate deep structure. Songs are made up of songs, games are made up of games.

Fun is a chemical response, we are all drug pushers.

4 Types of fun

  • hard – Solving hard puzzles and challenges
  • easy –
  • visceral – Roller coaster type fun
  • social –  Gloating

Magic Ingredients

  • Where?
  • When?
  • How?
  • What?
  • With?
  • For?
  • Few?
  • Phooey – Failure (fun comes from learning)

Much more at

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The Coming Age of Magic by Mike Kuniavsky

The Coming Age of Magic Mike Kuniavsky, Co-founder and Principal, ThingM

So generally a good talk but the best ubiquitous computing/ambient intellengance objects are magic like devices. Magic as a metaphor for ubiquitiy.

  • Nabaztag as a enchanted rabbit
  • Ambient devices globe as a crystal ball
  • Wonds already exist – Nintendo Wii anyone. Sony has a patent on a wond type of device for gaming.

Good magic should not cripple or hide its power. It should be open and adaptable.

Someone made the point that magic is rare and you had a hierarchy of wizards. Mike makes the point that magic wasn't democratised and this is the time for that to happen.

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