The Quote Garden ™
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Quotations about Technology
NOTE: Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors. —ღ Terri, March 2021
One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. ~Elbert Hubbard, 1913
~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
I have watched in spirit, hundreds of years, the machines grow out of Man like nails, like vast antennæ — a kind of enormous, more unconscious sub-body.... Man, at the present moment, with all his new machines about him, is engaged in becoming as self-controlled, as self-expressive, with his new machines, with his wireless telegraph arms and his railway legs, as he is with his flesh and blood ones.... So I have seen the machines go swinging through the world. Like archangels, like demons, they mount up our desires on the mountains.... We dive down with our steel wheels and nose for knowledge — like a great Fish — along the bottom of the sea. We beat up our wills through the air. We fling up, with our religion, with our faith, our bodies on the clouds. We fly reverently and strangely, our hearts all still and happy, in the face of God! ~Gerald Stanley Lee, "Dead as a Door Nail!", Crowds: A Moving-Picture of Democracy, Book One: Crowds and Machines, 1912
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
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
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
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
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
That's jist the way the times will change.
The old folks long a-slumber;
While wonders wakened since they went
Puzzle my brain tu number.
There's telegraphs, an' telephones,
An' lightnin' train expresses,
Electric lights, an' phonographs,
An' things nobody guesses.
Discoveries is hatchin' fast,
And peckin' fur existence.
The hen of years has set her time
With patience an' persistence...
We're lucky if we git along,
Among these hatched inventions,
'Thout being lost or gobbled up
Tu feed their best intentions...
We'll du our duty, as I said,
Nor hug old-fashioned notions.
The world ain't goin' tu stop fur us
Its various locomotions.
We'll jog along as best we kin,
An' call the changes pleasant;
Because there ain't no age, ye see,
Like this 'ere blessed present...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "An Old Woman's Disposition of Her Grindstone," Souvenirs of Occasions, 1892
INVENTOR, n. A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
As far as I'm concerned, progress peaked with frozen pizza. ~Die Hard 2, 1990, screenplay by Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson, based on the novel 58 Minutes by Walter Wager [spoken by John McClane]
Man has traveled far in his strange pilgrimage and solaced himself with many lean and brittle husks. It is curious to think how many of his ingenious inventions are merely makeshifts to render tolerable the hardships and limitations he has imposed upon himself in the name of "civilization." How often his greatest cunning is expended in devising some pathetic substitute for the joy that once was his by birthright! He shuts himself up in beetling gibraltars of concrete, and thinks with pride of the wires, fans, and pipes that bring him light, air, and warmth. And yet sunshine and sky and the glow of blazing firewood were once common to all!
He talks to his friends by telephone, telegraph, or machine-written letters instead of in the heart-easing face-to-face of more leisured times. He invents printing presses to do his thinking for him, reels of translucent celluloid to thrill him with vicarious romance. Not until the desire of killing other men came upon him did he perfect the loveliest of his toys — the airplane. How far, in his perverse flight from the natural sources of joy, has his love of trouble brought him! ~Christopher Morley (1890–1957), "A Slice of Sunlight," Travels in Philadelphia, 1920 [a little altered —tg]
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
Just done it again. I looked for the time at the top of a magazine page. ~Andy Lee, @andrewdotlee, tweet, 2012
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain. ~J.K. Rowling, "Dobby's Reward," Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1999 [Arthur Weasley —tg]
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
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
When your inner man complains and wants to put his trust in something, there is nothing quite as suitable as a gadget. The gadget will presumably work, while the same thing cannot always be said of one's intelligence or of one's own nerve. ~Wolfgang Langewiesche (1907–2002), "Knapsack of Salvation," I'll Take the High Road, 1939 [a little altered; in this case, the gadget is a parachute —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
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
The telegraph has conquered time. ~S.F.B. Morse
By means of the magnetic telegraph the people of our country are holding a continuous mass-meeting. ~Wendell Phillips
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 [quoteinvestigator.com]
The greatest task before civilisation at present is to make machines what they ought to be, the slaves, instead of the masters of men; and if civilisation fails at the task, then without doubt it and its makers will go down to a common destruction. ~Havelock Ellis, "The Individual and the Race"
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, "Routineer and Inventor," A Preface to Politics, 1913
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 (1880–1971), "The Old Time Backhouse" #outhouses #toilets
Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them. ~A. N. Whitehead, "The Symbolism of Mathematics," An Introduction to Mathematics, 1911
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
But 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
Last saved 2021 Jul 18 Sun 12:43 PDT