Technology

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. ~ Arthur C. Clarke
No technique is possible when men are free. ... Technique requires predictability and, no less, exactness of prediction. It is necessary, then, that technique prevail over the human being. For technique, this is a matter of life or death. Technique must reduce man to a technical animal, the king of the slaves of technique. Human caprice crumbles before this necessity; there can be no human autonomy in the face of technical autonomy. The individual must be fashioned by techniques, either negatively (by the techniques of understanding man) or positively (by the adaptation of man to the technical framework), in order to wipe out the blots his personal determination introduces into the perfect design of the organization. ~ Jacques Ellul

Technology is a broad term dealing with the use and knowledge of humanity's tools and crafts.

Quotes[edit]

Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. ~ Richard Feynman
  • Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
    • Anonymous saying, this is an inversion of the third of Arthur C. Clarke's three laws : "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." It has been called "Niven's Law" and attributed to Larry Niven by some, and to Terry Pratchett by others, but without any citation of an original source in either case, and the earliest occurrence yet located is in Keystone Folklore (1984) by the Pennsylvania Folklore Society.
  • We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.
  • I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
    1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
    2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.*#
    3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
    • Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt (2002), Random House LLC, p. 111
  • Anything that was in the world when you were born is normal and natural.
    Anything invented between when you were 15 and 35 is new and revolutionary and exciting, and you’ll probably get a career in it.
    Anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things.
    • Douglas Adams in the book The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time, 2002, p. 95, which is a posthumous collection of previously published and unpublished material by him.
  • Technology can do little for people who have nothing to say.
    • Eric Auchard, in "Blog Publishers Stealing Web Limelight" at Reuters (1 March 2003)
  • Technology and the machine resurrected San Francisco while Pompeii still slept in her ashes.
    • Silas Bent, Machine Made Man, p. 326. (1930)
  • It's Supposed To Be Automatic But Actually You Have To Press This Button
  • First you use machines, then you wear machines, and then ...? Then you serve machines.
  • First we had the legs race. Then we had the arms race. Now we're going to have the brain race. And, if we're lucky, the final stage will be the human race.
    • John Brunner, The Shockwave Rider (1975), Bk. 1, Ch. "The Number You Have Reached"
  • Those of us concerned with developing new technology should consider ourselves to have a major undertaking to try to meet the expanding needs of the increasing number of people in the world with its finite resources and environments constraints.
  • Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    • Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry Into The Limits of the Possible (1962; revised 1973)
  • No technique is possible when men are free. ... Technique requires predictability and, no less, exactness of prediction. It is necessary, then, that technique prevail over the human being. For technique, this is a matter of life or death. Technique must reduce man to a technical animal, the king of the slaves of technique. Human caprice crumbles before this necessity; there can be no human autonomy in the face of technical autonomy. The individual must be fashioned by techniques, either negatively (by the techniques of understanding man) or positively (by the adaptation of man to the technical framework), in order to wipe out the blots his personal determination introduces into the perfect design of the organization.
  • When technology makes it perfect, art loses.
    • Brian Eno, as quoted in Wired (January 1999)
  • 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. Musicians enjoy drawing on that finesse (and audiences respond to its exercise), so when muscular activity is rendered useless, the creative process is frustrated. No wonder artists who can afford the best of anything keep buying “retro” electronics and instruments, and revert to retro media.
    • Brian Eno, as quoted in Wired (January 1999)
  • Technology [is] the knack of so arranging the world that we don't have to experience it.
  • 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, in Innovations: Scientific, Technological and Social (1970)
  • Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.
  • The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.
  • 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, as quoted in The New York Times (15 March 1971)
  • I know that science and technology are not just cornucopias pouring good deeds out into the world. Scientists not only conceived nuclear weapons; they also took political leaders by the lapels, arguing that their nation — whichever it happened to be — had to have one first. … There’s a reason people are nervous about science and technology.
    And so the image of the mad scientist haunts our world—from Dr. Faust to Dr. Frankenstein to Dr. Strangelove to the white-coated loonies of Saturday morning children’s television. (All this doesn’t inspire budding scientists.) But there’s no way back. We can’t just conclude that science puts too much power into the hands of morally feeble technologists or corrupt, power-crazed politicians and decide to get rid of it. Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history. Advances in transportation, communication, and entertainment have transformed the world. The sword of science is double-edged. Rather, its awesome power forces on all of us, including politicians, a new responsibility — more attention to the long-term consequences of technology, a global and transgenerational perspective, an incentive to avoid easy appeals to nationalism and chauvinism. Mistakes are becoming too expensive.
    • Carl Sagan, in "Why We Need To Understand Science" in The Skeptical Inquirer Vol. 14, Issue 3, (Spring 1990)
  • We've arranged a global civilization in which the most crucial elements — transportation, communications, and all other industries; agriculture, medicine, education, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting, 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, in The Demon-Haunted World : Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995), Ch. 2 : Science and Hope, p. 26
  • Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.

External links[edit]

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