Selected quotes on technology

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Technology is a word that describes something that doesn’t work yet.
— Douglas Adams

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.
– Thomas Edison

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

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

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

First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure.
— Douglas Adams

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

All this modern technology just makes people try to do everything at once.
— Bill Watterson

When man wanted to make a machine that would walk he created the wheel, which does not resemble a leg.
— Guillaume Apollinaire

[What art] seeks to disturb is monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.
— Oscar Wilde

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.
— Douglas Adams

When machines fail, when technology fails, when the conventional religion fails, people have got to have something. Even a zombin lurching through the night can seem pretty cheerful compared to the existential comedy/horror of the ozone layer dissolving under the combined assult of a million flurocarbon spray cans of deodorant.
— Stephen King

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

It’s supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to push this button.
— John Brunner

Books may look like nothing more than words on a page, but they are actually an infinitely complex imaginotransference technology that translates odd, inky squiggles into pictures inside your head.
— Jasper Fforde

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

I think that novels that leave out technology misrepresent life as badly as Victorians misrepresented life by leaving out sex.
— Kurt Vonnegut

Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.
— Arthur C. Clarke

The human spirit must prevail over technology.
— Albert Einstein

In the old days, writers used to sit in front of a typewriter and stare out of the window. Nowadays, because of the marvels of convergent technology, the thing you type on and the window you stare out of are now the same thing.
— Douglas Adams

Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.
— Max Frisch

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
— Pablo Picasso

We have designed our civilization based on science and technology and at the same time arranged things so that almost no one understands anything at all about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster.
— Carl Sagan

Technology frightens me to death. It’s designed by engineers to impress other engineers. And they always come with instruction booklets that are written by engineers for other engineers — which is why almost no technology ever works.
— John Cleese

Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.
— Albert Einstein

The great myth of our times is that technology is communication.
— Libby Larsen

Human beings were invented by water as a device for transporting itself from one place to another.
— Tom Robbins

Our technology forces us to live mythically.
— Marshall McLuhan

Technology made large populations possible; large populations now make technology indispensable.
— Joseph Wood Krutch

People are more difficult to work with than machines. And when you break a person, he can’t be fixed.
— Rick Riordan

Human beings are tool-making animals. Since the prehistoric era, we have created and used a wide variety of objects. But now a significant change is about to occur. In the near future, we will simply become another object that can be monitored, tracked and controlled within a vast machine.
— John Twelve Hawks

TV and the Internet are good because they keep stupid people from spending too much time out in public.
— Douglas Coupland

Spelling is a way to make words safe, at least for now, until another technology appears to soften attacks launched from the mouth.
— Ben Marcus

When I grow up I want to be an inventor. First I will invent a time machine. Then I’ll come back to yesterday and take myself to tomorrow and skip this dumb assignment.
— Bill Watterson

With the arrival of electric technology, man has extended, or set outside himself, a live model of the central nervous system itself. To the degree that this is so, it is a development that suggests a desperate suicidal autoamputation, as if the central nervous system could no longer depend on the physical organs to be protective buffers against the slings and arrows of outrageous mechanism.
— Marshall McLuhan

This is the whole point of technology. It creates an appetite for immortality on the one hand. It threatens universal extinction on the other. Technology is lust removed from nature.
— Don DeLillo

Progress is unstoppable. It is a drumbeat to which we must all march. Technology helps and good ideas spread – these are two lows of nature. If you don’t let technology help you, if you resist good ideas, you condemn yourself to dinosaurhood! I am utterly convinced of this.
— Yann Martel

The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction.
— Eckhart Tolle

Perhaps we humans are still in command, and perhaps there really will be a conventional robot war in the not-so-distant future. If so, let’s roll.
— Chuck Klosterman

Technology to wipe out truth is now available. Not everybody can afford it but it’s available. When the cost comes down, look out!
— Bob Dylan

Even a manically depressed robot is better to talk to then nobody.
— Douglas Adams

Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.
— Clay Shirky

Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.
— Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Technology does not run an enterprise, relationships do.
— Patricia Fripp

Ethics change with technology.
— Larry Niven

By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.
— Donna J. Haraway

If you own a machine, you are in turn owned by it, and spend your time serving it…
— Marion Zimmer Bradley

As each wave of technology is released. It must be accompanied by a demand for new skills, new language. Consumers must constantly update their ways of thinking, always questioning their understanding of the world. Going back to old ways, old technology is forbidden. There in no past, no present, only an endless future of inadequacy.
— Richard Kadrey

I am not some kind of computer. Only machines have glib answers for everything.
— Madeleine L’Engle

So much technology, so little talent.
— Vernor Vinge

Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.
— Harold Abelson

Technology – with all its promise and potential – has gotten so far beyond human control that its threatening the future of humankind.
— Kim J. Vicente

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

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand.
— Archibald Putt

As a technology, the book is like a hammer. That is to say, it is perfect: a tool ideally suited to its task. Hammers can be tweaked and varied but will never go obsolete. Even when builders pound nails by the thousand with pneumatic nail guns, every household needs a hammer.
— James Gleick

The art (as opposed to the technology) of reading requires that you develop a beautiful tolerance for incomprehension. The greatest books are the books that you come to understand more deeply with time, with age and with rereading.
— Michael Silverblatt

Wisdom demands a new orientation of science and technology toward the organic, the gentle, the elegant and beautiful.
— E.F. Schumacher

The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it’s right. If it disturbs you it’s wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.
— Robert M. Pirsig

Technology adds nothing to art. Two thousand years ago, I could tell you a story, and at any point during the story I could stop, and ask, Now do you want the hero to be kidnapped, or not? But that would, of course, have ruined the story. Part of the experience of being entertained is sitting back and plugging into someone else’s vision.
— Penn Jillette

When I feel the urge to get some fresh air, I connect to the internet.
— Harwinder Singh Bhatia

The ‘Net is a waste of time, and that’s exactly what’s right about it.”
— William Gibson

I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and types of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason, too.
— Brian Selznick

If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.
— Lyndon B. Johnson

Technology has allowed…our society to separate itself from the sights and the sounds of killing…. It must be easy to kill from a roomful of fluorescent lights and wash-and-wear shirts.
— Caryl Rivers

The advance of our technology is coincidental with the loss of our appetite for ethical questions that ought to attend the implications of these new powers. In the name of diversity, any idea is regarded as worthy as any other; any nonsense is entitled to a forum, a full hearing, and equal time.
— Thomas Lynch

Technology is destructive only in the hands of people who do not realize that they are one and the same process as the universe.
— Alan Wilson Watts

The ultimate promise of technology is to make us master of a world that we command by the push of a button.
— Volker Grassmuck

Science and technology are what we can do; morality is what we agree we should or should not do.
— Edward O. Wilson

A man with a machine and inadequate culture is a pestilence.
— Wendell Berry

Technology always has unforeseen consequences, and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who or what will win, and who or what will lose…
— Neil Postman

We are losing our common vocabulary, built over thousands of years to help and delight and instruct us, for the sake of what we take to be the new technology’s virtues.
— Alberto Manguel

As far as a “technology that could remove people from their clothes,” Billy Dee and I would recommend Colt 45 – works every time.
— Fred Clark

Our technology has marched ahead of our spiritual and social evolution, making us, frankly, a dangerous people.
— Steven M. Greer

We’re reaching the point where the Earth will have to end the burden we’ve placed on her, if we don’t lift the burden ourselves.
— Steven M. Greer

Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.
— Laurie Anderson

Your brain may give birth to any technology, but other brains will decide whether the technology thrives. The number of possible technologies is infinite, and only a few pass this test of affinity with human nature.
— Robert Wright

It bears emphasizing: our traditional ways of thinking have ignored – and virtually made invisible – the relationship between people and technology.
— Kim J. Vicente

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

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

The parts of humanity that use to be civil are dead and gone. The only thing left is a technological, emotionless, colorless, dead version of reality we live in every day.
— James Wheeler

Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

The future presented by the internet is the mass amateurization of publishing and a switch from ‘Why publish this?’ to ‘Why not?’
— Clay Shirky

First they use technology to poison the planet, then they develop it further to escape from the planet they have poisoned.
— Katherine Hayles

If you can’t understand the spec for a new technology, don’t worry: nobody else will understand it either, and the technology won’t be that important.
— Joel Spolsky

The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.
– B.F. Skinner

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
– Carl Sagan

Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.
– Stewart Brand

If there is technological advance without social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery, in impoverishment.
– Michael Harrington

A technician is a man who understands everything about his job except its ultimate purpose and its place in the order of the universe.
– Richard Livingstone

However far modern science and techniques have fallen short of their inherent possibilities, they have taught mankind at least one lesson: Nothing is impossible.
– Lewis Mumford

We must learn to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human race.
– John Naisbitt

Technology is very seductive, and it is certainly changing the way things are designed and made and taught. The problem is when technology has seduced you away from thinking about things as deeply as you should.
– Arthur Ganson

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

There are three roads to ruin; women, gambling and technicians. The most pleasant is with women, the quickest is with gambling, but the surest is with technicians.
– Georges Pompidou

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

Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.
– Albert Einstein

Hardware: the parts of a computer that can be kicked.
– Jeff Pesis

The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.
– Saint-Exupéry

Man is the lowest-cost, 150-pound, nonlinear, all-purpose computer system which can be mass-produced by unskilled labor.
– Anonymous

Computers are like bikinis. They save people a lot of guesswork.
– Sam Ewing

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

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

This is why I loved technology: if you used it right, it could give you power and privacy.
– Cory Doctorow

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

5 Replies to “Selected quotes on technology”

  1. there's not too many positive ones here are there? nonetheless its a good collection! I laughed when I read this one: “The ‘Net is a waste of time, and that’s exactly what’s right about it.”— William Gibsonwe talk a lot about how technology is shaping people and so on over at, you should drop by and share your thoughts!


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