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Olaf Stapledon's science fiction


Arthur C Clarke was given his own satellite
Marvin Minsky Scientist
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Arthur Clarke had his own satellite for a period, was... was that happening when?

[Q] I don’t remember.

There were some Indian… there was some synchronous satellite over India which had ran out of fuel so that in order to keep a satellite at exactly the right place it needs to emit a little bit of gas every now and then and correct its orbit and eventually they run out in several years because they can’t carry an unlimited amount. So there was some Indian satellite had drifted so that now it was over Sri Lanka and nobody was using it; except the company that owned it... gave Arthur Clarke a communicator so that he could use it make telephone calls and things like that all over the world... free, but eventually it drifted further; it was going... gradually going east, got out of range. But I think for two or three years he might have been the only person on earth who had his own satellite, which is poetic justice since he was the first person to explain how useful they could be in the... must have been the early 1940s.

Marvin Minsky (1927-2016) was one of the pioneers of the field of Artificial Intelligence, founding the MIT AI lab in 1970. He also made many contributions to the fields of mathematics, cognitive psychology, robotics, optics and computational linguistics. Since the 1950s, he had been attempting to define and explain human cognition, the ideas of which can be found in his two books, The Emotion Machine and The Society of Mind. His many inventions include the first confocal scanning microscope, the first neural network simulator (SNARC) and the first LOGO 'turtle'.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Sri Lanka, India, 1940s, Arthur C Clarke

Duration: 1 minute, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: 29-31 Jan 2011

Date story went live: 09 May 2011