Quotes about Technology, Computers, AI, Robots and humans

Some quotes lifted from my forthcoming book Digital Vs. Human, including a great quote that didn’t quite make it.

Opening quotes

‘The real problem of humanity is the following: we have palaeolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall’ – Edward O. Wilson

‘Anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.’ – Douglas Adams

Chapter heading quotes
‘Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face’ – Mike Tyson

‘Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done’ – Andy Rooney

‘One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on’ – Alain de Botton

‘If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place’ – Eric Schmidt

‘The idea of the future being different from the present is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and behaviour that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting on it in practice’ – John Maynard Keynes

‘What if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t?’ – George Dyson

‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere’ – Attributed to Albert Einstein

‘What’s wrong with education cannot be fixed with Technology’ – Steve Jobs

‘The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine’ – Isaac Asimov

‘Technology is everything that doesn’t work yet’ – W. Daniel Hillis

‘Heralds don’t sing about men who lived in orthodoxy or played it safe, they sing about men who lived an uncertain future and took enough risks to make your head spin’ – Evan Meekins

‘It took humans four million years to evolve the hand axe, another two million years to somewhat improve it. And then, within a mere 20,000 years, a geological blink of the eye, they created art, agriculture, the wheel, computers and spaceships’ – George Zarkadakis

Quotes from the main text
‘There’s ‘no upside to being socialised by a robot’ – Sherry Turkle

(The internet is) ‘amazing in the same way a dishwasher is amazing’ – Evgeny Morozov

‘The error that evangelists make is to assume that the internet’s open, decentralised technology naturally translates into a less hierarchical or unequal society’ – Andrew Keen

‘I think all tech people are slightly autistic.’ Douglas Coupland

(The internet is shaping behaviour in) ‘what is broadly a more autistic direction’ – Tyler Cowen

‘Personal identity is increasingly defined by the approbation of a virtual audience.’ Susan Greenfield

‘Social networks erode previous social structures and reintroduce tribalism into our post-industrial societies’ – George Zarkadakis

‘What should the role of “extra” humans be if not everyone is still strictly needed?’ – Jaron Lanier

(Virtual reality) ‘is a way to escape the world into something more fantastic’ – Palmer Luckey

(Computer games) ‘provide an escape from purposelessness’. – Olivia Metcalf

(Young people are) ‘the miners’ canaries of society, acutely vulnerable to the peculiar hazards of our times’. – Richard Eckersley

‘Ours may be a time of material comfort and technological wonder, but it’s also a time of aimlessness and gloom.’ – Nicholas Carr

‘There is almost an injunction on today’s youth to lead fascinating lives. But if we fail, and most of us are doomed to, we’ll be considered losers.’ – Astrid Berges-Frisbey

(The internet) ‘encourages and even promotes insanity’- Larry Rosen

(Facebook and sites like it create) ‘ephemeral connections between imaginary identities’ – Susan Greenfield

‘It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value’, and ‘People only get really interesting when they start to rattle the bars of their cages.’ – Alain de Botton

‘Social media ‘is an architecture of human isolation’ – Andrew Keen

‘The internet itself is in an incredibly elitist concentrator of wealth in the hands of the few while giving the appearance of voice and the appearance of democracy to people who are in fact being exploited by the technologies.’ – Jonathan Franzen

‘We’re already halfway towards a world where algorithms run nearly everything. As their power intensifies, wealth will concentrate towards them.’ – Christopher Steiner

‘The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.’ – Jeff Hammerbacher

‘Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.’ – Terry Prachett

‘The greatest heist in history wasn’t about taking money; it was about taking your information — and you agreed to all of it.’ – Terms and Conditions May Apply

‘At some point, automation reaches a critical mass. It begins to shape societies norms, assumptions, and ethics.’ – Nicholas Carr

‘The logic leading to fully autonomous systems seems inescapable’. Thomas Adams

‘A pilotless airliner is going to come. It’s just a question of when.’ – James Albaugh

‘I still believe that sitting down and reading a book is the best way to really learn something.’ – Eric Schmidt

‘Teaching is a human experience. Technology is a distraction when we need literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking.’ – Paul Thomas

(We) ‘are shifting from manufacturing massively replicated products … to producing personalised products and services distributed directly to customers’ – George Zarkadakis

‘It’s quite possible there are unique things about humans. But, in terms of intelligence, it doesn’t seem likely’ – Demis Hassabis

‘Bit by bit, our cells and tissues are becoming just another brand of hardware to be upgraded.’ John Rogers

‘Where technology pushes too far, society pushes back.’ – Bob Seidensticker

‘You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.’ – Picasso

‘By far the best way I know to engage the religious sensibility, the sense of awe, is to look up on a clear night.’ – Carl Sagan

(We are developing) ‘amnesia about everything except the immediate, the instant, the now’ – Andrew Keen

(By 2014) ‘Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with “Robot-brains” … Communications will become sight-sound … Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders.’ – Isaac Asimov

I have seen the future, and it’s still in the future’ – .Jack Rosenthal

Unused quotes
‘Something funny I have noticed, perhaps you have noticed it, too. You know what futurists and online-ists and cut-out-the-middle-man-ists and Davos-ists and deconstructionists of every stripe want for themselves? They want exactly what they tell you you no longer need, you pathetic, overweight, disembodied Kindle reader. They want white linen tablecloths on trestle tables in the middle of vineyards on soft blowy afternoons … they want a nineteenth century bookshop … they want five-star bricks and mortar and DO NOT DISTURB signs and views of the park’. – Richard Rodriguez

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