The futuristic writer Arthur C Clarke died early this morning, at the age of 90, at Colombo in Sri Lanka, where he had been living for over half a century. In 1968, he and Stanley Kubrick created the screenplay 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the outcome was one of the most poetically breathtaking science-fiction movies of all time, which stunned me completely when I first saw it in Paris. The film's opening integrates splendidly the music of Strauss. Above all, the convincing presence of the anthropomorphic robot HAL (whose behavior was conceived apparently with wise advice from Marvin Minsky) helped to make this extraordinary work of art a cult movie.
My favorite quote from Arthur C Clarke is often applied to high-tech domains from space research and computing through to nuclear energy and genetic engineering: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.