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Definition: Clarke's laws


British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) coined three laws dealing with prediction: two from his 1962 essay "Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination" and a third from his 1973 essay "Profiles of the Future." The third law is perhaps the most widely quoted. See Clarke belt and laws.

First Law
"When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong."

Second Law
"The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

Third Law
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."