From the dawn of times, men and women have tried to find ways to engage with the world around them, by taming that same world, adapting it to their needs. Like children, they have played with it, creatively finding tools, strategies, ways, to cope with their environment. That was the birth of technology, the study of “techne” which means the art, skill, cunning of hand.
But also since the dawn of times, that men were afraid as well of the same technology, as machines, seen as symbols of an unknown future, scared humans, of the days “to become”: the future. Would the machine take over ? Would we all be converted into cyborgs ? Philosophical debates have cyclically arisen over the present and future use of technology, about whether technology improves the human condition or not.
In a time when the boundaries between what is human and what is a machine start to break as we are all cyborgs now, intimately embedded in technology, as Amber Case says in a famous talk given in TED, Intelligenthq assembles here a list of quotes about technology, by some eminent scholars and scientists, coming from all times:
1. “The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.” B. F. Skinner
2. “Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God’s gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences.” Freeman Dyson
3. “It is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams…Through it, God will spread His Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men.” Johannes Gutenberg
4. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke
5. “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” Steve Jobs
6.“The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.” Tim Berners-Lee
7. “Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.” Alfred North Whitehead
8. “Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts.” William Gibson
9. “The great thing that guys like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and the Google guys have in common is they treat their technology like it’s art, and I suppose in the hands of virtuosos like them, it is.” Harvey Weinstein
10. “The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life.” John F. Kennedy
11. “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
12. “We’re still in the first minutes of the first day of the Internet revolution.” Scott Cook
13. “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” Richard P. Feynman
14. “The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.” Saint-Exupéry
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.