celebrating 17 years online 1998-2015
Quotations about Technology
One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. ~Elbert Hubbard
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