Computer science for wizards

This tumblr post makes an interesting point about wizard elitism and the over-reliance on magic in the Harry Potter world, and what I wonder is why none of the Muggleborn students have done anything about it. Many wizards, like Harry and Hermione, spend their childhood years as Muggles, but as adults they all assimilate into wizarding society and abandon Muggle innovations. Sure, magic interferes with electronics, which eliminates a lot of Muggle technology. But wizards are so isolated from the modern world that they still use quills. Seriously, why hasn’t some Muggleborn kid brought a pack of ballpoint pens to school?

And, honestly, I think there must be a way around the problem with electronics. I remember reading Rick Cook’s Wizard’s Bane, in which a computer programmer is transported into a magical world and revolutionizes magic by inventing a compiler for spells. If wizards in the Potterverse made the effort (and knew how computers worked, which I grant you they mostly don’t), they could do something similar. Once they had invented a way of building logic gates using magic instead of transistors, they could pretty much construct a computer from the bits up.

I wonder if Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality will ever get around to that.

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1 Comment

Filed under Books

One response to “Computer science for wizards

  1. Mary

    I strongly suspect that they may have discovered a way to make quills work better than they ever did mundanely. After all, you could improve things a lot of different ways.

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