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date: 11 December 2023


  1. Vorsprung durch Technik.
    Progress through technology.
    Advertising slogan: Audi motors, from 1986
  2. We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
    Roy Amara 1925–2007 American futurologist: attributed, in The Age 31 October 2006
  3. Science finds, industry applies, man conforms.
    Anonymous: subtitle of guidebook to 1933 Chicago World's Fair
  4. Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth.
    on the action of a lever
    Archimedes c.287–212 bc Greek mathematician and inventor: Pappus Synagoge bk. 8, proposition 10, sect. 11
  5. The three fundamental Rules of Robotics…One, a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm…Two…a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law…three, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
    Isaac Asimov 1920–92 Russian-born biochemist and science fiction writer: I, Robot (1950) ‘Runaround’
  6. Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories—those that don't work, those that break down, and those that get lost.
    Russell Baker 1925–  American journalist and columnist: in New York Times 18 June 1968
  7. I am a sundial, and I make a botch
    Of what is done much better by a watch.
    Hilaire Belloc 1870–1953 British poet, essayist, historian, novelist, and Liberal politician: ‘On a Sundial’ (1938)
  8. I sell here, Sir, what all the world desires to have—power.
    speaking to Boswell of his engineering works
    Matthew Boulton 1728–1809 British engineer: James Boswell Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 22 March 1776
  9. Man is a tool-using animal…Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.
    Thomas Carlyle 1795–1881 Scottish historian and political philosopher: Sartor Resartus (1834) bk. 1, ch. 5
  10. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    Arthur C. Clarke 1917–2008 English science fiction writer: Profiles of the Future (1962) ch. 2
  11. The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.
    Paul Ralph Ehrlich 1932–  American biologist: in Saturday Review 5 June 1971
  12. For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.
    Richard Phillips Feynman 1918–88 American theoretical physicist: appendix to the Rogers Commission Report on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident 6 June 1986
  13. Technology…the knack of so arranging the world that we need not experience it.
    Max Frisch 1911–91 Swiss novelist and dramatist: Homo Faber (1957) pt. 2
  14. One technology doesn’t replace another, it complements. Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators.
    Stephen Fry 1957–  English comedian, actor, and writer: tweet, 11 March 2009
  15. Technology happens. It's not good, it's not bad. Is steel good or bad?
    Andrew Grove 1936–2016 Hungarian-born American businessman: in Time 29 December 1997
  16. The thing with high-tech is that you always end up using scissors.
    David Hockney 1937–  British artist: in Observer 10 July 1994
  17. This is not the age of pamphleteers. It is the age of the engineers. The spark-gap is mightier than the pen.
    Lancelot Hogben 1895–1975 English scientist: Science for the Citizen (1938); see Bulwer-Lytton
  18. One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
    Elbert Hubbard 1859–1915 American writer: Thousand and One Epigrams (1911)
  19. In an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.
    Harper Lee 1926–2016 American novelist: in O, The Oprah Magazine July 2006
  20. People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.
    Theodore Levitt 1925–2006 American economist: Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor The Innovator's Solution (2003) ch. 3
  21. The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village.
    Marshall McLuhan 1911–80 Canadian communications scholar: The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962)
  22. When this circuit learns your job, what are you going to do?
    Marshall McLuhan 1911–80 Canadian communications scholar: The Medium is the Massage (1967)
  23. The medium is the message.
    Marshall McLuhan 1911–80 Canadian communications scholar: Understanding Media (1964) ch. 1 (title)
  24. It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being.
    John Stuart Mill 1806–73 English philosopher and economist: Principles of Political Economy (1848) bk. 4, ch. 6
  25. When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.
    J. Robert Oppenheimer 1904–67 American physicist: in In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer, USAEC Transcript of Hearing Before Personnel Security Board (1954)
  26. One of the universal rules of happiness is: always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.
    Terry Pratchett 1948–2015 English fantasy writer: Jingo (1997)
  27. Machines are worshipped because they are beautiful, and valued because they confer power; they are hated because they are hideous, and loathed because they impose slavery.
    Bertrand Russell 1872–1970 British philosopher and mathematician: Sceptical Essays (1928) ‘Machines and Emotions’
  28. I have the credit of being the inventor of the locomotive. It is true that I have done something to improve the action of steam for that purpose, but I tell you, young man, I shall not live to see it, but you may, when electricity will be the great motive power of the world.
    said to the writer by Stephenson on a visit to R. W. Swinburne and Co, Newcastle on Tyne, in 1847
    George Stephenson 1781–1848 English engineer: letter from G. C. W., Times 12 April 1904
  29. We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the old world some weeks nearer to the new; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough.
    on the value of the imminent transatlantic telegraph cable
    Henry David Thoreau 1817–62 American writer: Walden (1854) ‘Economy’
  30. The things I want to show are mechanical. Machines have less problems. I'd like to be a machine, wouldn't you?
    Andy Warhol 1927–87 American artist: Mike Wrenn Andy Warhol: In His Own Words (1991)
  31. The Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for restrictive practices or for outdated methods on either side of industry.
    often quoted as, ‘the white heat of technology’
    Harold Wilson 1916–95 British Labour statesman, Prime Minister 1964–70, 1974–6: speech at the Labour Party Conference, 1 October 1963