Penn & Teller explain the magical power of an iPhone

Penn and Teller are no strangers to technology, but it hasn't impacted the core of their act. In a recent interview with USA Today, Penn Jillete (Teller isn't really the loquacious type) explains that, while all has evolved around it, magic has remained relatively unchanged. It's difficult to make magic work on TV and in online video, he laments. The mind will quickly shed doubt on what it's seeing, and in an age of Hollywood effects, it's tough to impress. "If you like the special effects of Guardians of the Galaxy, how are you going to be impressed with a card trick?" See that trick in person, however, and he says it's "untarnished."

Can technology improve magic? Well, he believes it does help people learn their trade, as anyone can go to YouTube and learn some slight of hand, leading to a high level of skill among new magicians. More interestingly, it can also help strengthen the power of an illusion. To demonstrate, Jillete pulls out his iPhone and explains that it makes a far superior prop. In times gone by, a magician might make a watch disappear and reappear, but there was always question as to whether it was the same watch. By swapping the watch out for an audience member's phone, it becomes a better trick, "because there's no way you can clone a phone that quickly." Apple has always said the iPhone was magical, but as for cloning, well it didn't take that long.