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Quotations about Technology

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One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. ~Elbert Hubbard

Modern technology
Owes ecology
An apology.
~Alan M. Eddison

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~Arthur C. Clarke

If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation...tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation. ~Jean Arp

Technology: “the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it.” ~Max Frisch, c.1960s

Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight? ~Al Boliska

Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971

Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally, just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences. ~Lewis Mumford

It is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome. ~T.S. Eliot, about radio

All of the biggest technological inventions created by man - the airplane, the automobile, the computer - says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness. ~Mark Kennedy

The drive toward complex technical achievement offers a clue to why the U.S. is good at space gadgetry and bad at slum problems. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology. ~E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful, 1973

I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours. ~John F. Kennedy

Don't get smart alecksy
With the galaxy
Leave the atom alone.
~E.Y. Harburg, "Leave the Atom Alone," 1957

The most important and urgent problems of the technology of today are no longer the satisfactions of the primary needs or of archetypal wishes, but the reparation of the evils and damages by the technology of yesterday. ~Dennis Gabor, Innovations: Scientific, Technological and Social, 1970

Inventor: A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. ~Albert Einstein

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. ~Richard P. Feynman

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. ~Aldous Huxley

This is perhaps the most beautiful time in human history; it is really pregnant with all kinds of creative possibilities made possible by science and technology which now constitute the slave of man - if man is not enslaved by it. ~Jonas Salk

Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain. ~J.K. Rowling

As far as I'm concerned, progress peaked with frozen pizza. ~From the movie Die Hard 2, spoken by the character John McClane regarding technological advances, screenplay by Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson, based on the novel 58 Minutes by Walter Wager

I like my new telephone, my computer works just fine, my calculator is perfect, but Lord, I miss my mind! ~Author Unknown

The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people. ~Karl Marx

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. ~Isaac Asimov, Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations, 1988

When a machine begins to run without human aid, it is time to scrap it - whether it be a factory or a government. ~Alexander Chase, Perspectives, 1966

We are becoming the servants in thought, as in action, of the machine we have created to serve us. ~John Kenneth Galbraith

Man is a slow, sloppy and brilliant thinker; the machine is fast, accurate and stupid. ~William M. Kelly

I'm struck by the insidious, computer-driven tendency to take things out of the domain of muscular activity and put them into the domain of mental activity. The transfer is not paying off. Sure, muscles are unreliable, but they represent several million years of accumulated finesse. ~Brian Eno, Wired, January 1999

Use of advanced messaging technology does not imply an endorsement of western industrial civilization. ~Anonymous email sig line

Once upon a time we were just plain people. But that was before we began having relationships with mechanical systems. Get involved with a machine and sooner or later you are reduced to a factor. ~Ellen Goodman, "The Human Factor," The Washington Post, January 1987

I think I should not go far wrong if I asserted that the amount of genuine leisure available in a society is generally in inverse proportion to the amount of labor-saving machinery it employs. ~E.F. Schumacher

Technology presumes there's just one right way to do things and there never is. ~Robert M. Pirsig

It is difficult not to wonder whether that combination of elements which produces a machine for labor does not create also a soul of sorts, a dull resentful metallic will, which can rebel at times. ~Pearl S. Buck

#WhenIWasYourAge: We had to open all doors by ourselves. None of them knew we were coming. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014

The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do. ~B.F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement, 1969

The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them. ~Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939

What the country needs are a few labor-making inventions. ~Arnold Glasow

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons. ~R. Buckminster Fuller

Imagine that the telegraph is an immense long dog — so long that its head is at Vienna and its tail is at Paris. Well, tread on its tail, which is at Paris, and it will bark at Vienna. ~Author unknown, published in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 1866 August 28th (Thanks, Garson O'Toole of quoteinvestigator.com!)

The greatest task before civilization at present is to make machines what they ought to be, the slaves, instead of the masters of men. ~Havelock Ellis

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment. ~Warren G. Bennis

It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being. ~John Stuart Mill

You cannot endow even the best machine with initiative; the jolliest steam-roller will not plant flowers. ~Walter Lippmann

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains. ~Eric Hoffer

We've arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces. ~Carl Sagan

Especially, in the country
      Was the backhouse used by all;
      For they had no city plumbing
      In those days beyond recall...
When 'twas dark, we'd light the lantern,
      And go forth upon our quest
      For the book of Sears & Roebuck;
      And then sit, and groan and rest...
But this backhouse, dark and gloomy,
      With its seats so cold and damp,
      Was the bane of my existence
      When I'd visit dear old Gramp!...
Gone are all those days of privies
      And of each backhouse, so plain;
      Now, we pull the chain, and presto!
      All is sweet and clean, again.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham (b.1880), "The Old Time Backhouse"

Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them. ~Alfred North Whitehead

Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines. ~Erich Fromm

Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower. ~Alan C. Kay

Lo! Men have become the tools of their tools. ~Henry David Thoreau

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3. ~Alice Kahn

The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers. ~Sydney J. Harris

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Last modified 2015 Jan 01 Thu 14:19 PST

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