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Technology

  • Losing data is not the same as forgetting. It happens all at once, not gradually or imperceptibly, so it feels less like an unburdening than like a mugging. Similarly, accumulating data does not feel the same as gaining knowledge, experience or understanding.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • The ability to store our data externally helps us imagine that our time is limitless, our space infinite. It frees us in, theory at least, from the defining constraints of being human, and sometimes that freaks us out.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • So now we're all these paleontologists that are digging for things that we've lost on our external brains that we're carrying around in our pockets.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • This is the dilemma of being a cyborg: It's not just that everything we once committed to memory we now store externally on devices that crash or become obsolete or are rendered temporarily inaccessible due to lack of coverage. And it's not that we spend a lot of time storing, organizing, pruning and maintaining our access to it all. It's that we're collectively engaged in a mass conversion of what we used to call, variously, records, accounts, entries, archives, registers, collections, keepsakes, catalogs, testimonies and memories into, simply, data.

    • Carina Chocano,
    • "The Essence of Being Human Is Not Remembering but Forgetting," The New York Times Magazine ()
  • Whatever the advantages of the machine may be — and they are many — the very ease of its use is bound to make away with intimacy — the intercourse of human beings, of animals, or of that which we still think of as the natural world.

    • Freya Stark,
    • "Passing Fashions," in Homes and Gardens ()
  • We are all cyborgs now.

  • [For thousands of years, tool-use has been] a physical modification of self. Now what we're looking at is not a physical extension of the self but an extension of the mental self.

  • Thanks to technology and labor-saving devices, the easier things are to do, the more compelled we are to cram in more.

  • I think what we've lost with computers and the technology age is the ability to listen. We don't have time to listen anymore. We do e-mail so we don't have to make a phone call and listen to someone's voice. We've made it possible to cram in as much as we can, to get everything over with as quickly as we can, so we can hurry on to the next thing and then get that over with just as quickly. People don't listen to each other anymore. People don't touch each other anymore.

    • Anne Rapp,
    • in Sara Caldwell and Marie-Eve Kielson, So You Want to Be a Screenwriter ()
  • Science and technology have become the dominant faith in our society. Questioning the tenets of this creed automatically becomes heresy. ... To question this commitment to technological change, to ask whether we've calculated the true cost of our faith in the machine, is to raise the unpleasant thought that some of what we call progress might be little more than an elaborate con job. And people don't like to admit that they've been had.

  • Technology in our time is a kind of theology ... a deus ex machina whose omnipresence proves its omnipotence, deifies its voice in our lives.

  • Technology evolves so much faster than wisdom.

    • Jennifer Stone,
    • "Sexual Politics in the Stone Age," Mind Over Media ()
  • Sometimes, instead of helping people to advance, a discovery or an invention holds them back.

  • We are too connected. There's noise in our heads all the time.

    • Isabel Allende,
    • in Patt Morrison, "A Life of Letters," Los Angeles Times ()
  • America's technology has turned in upon itself; its corporate form makes it the servant of profits, not the servant of human needs.

    • Alice Embree,
    • "Media Images I: Madison Avenue Brainwashing -- the Facts," in Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • I want to touch you in real time / not find you on YouTube, / I want to walk next to you in the mountains / not friend you on Facebook. / Give me one thing I can believe in / that isn't a brand name.

  • You can steal a lot more with a computer than with a gun.

  • ... we can wake up one morning and find that the technology of this virtual, inter-connected world wasn't the liberating force we thought, but binds us ever more tightly under the control of the money men.

  • ... if you listen too hard to the technology, your ear goes deaf to its implications.

  • ... we should be careful not to let machinery swamp life. That we should be sure, when we are confronted with a fresh mechanical contrivance, that we are not losing more than we gain by adopting it.

  • In our big cities there is nothing at all not made by ourselves except the air. We are our own context and live by picking each other's brains. There's no vital force. Electronic Man.

  • ... there is a danger, when thinking of the earliest civilized people, of putting too much emphasis on technology. One tends to assume that if you don't have, at least, a lavatory and perhaps something that will take you a lot faster than your own feet, or a certain number of gadgets in the house, then you must be in some way, a bit backward and defective ... the important thing to remember is that technology is not necessarily the same thing as civilization.

  • We cannot divorce what we are producing from what we are. We create technology out of the vision we have of ourselves. If we are blind in our conception of ourselves we will create a blind technology.

  • Technology has outstripped our knowledge of self.

  • Part of the problem is when we bring in a new technology we expect it to be perfect in a way that we don't expect the world that we're familiar with to be perfect.

    • Esther Dyson,
    • "On the Frontier: An Interview with Esther Dyson," in Reason ()
  • Technology doesn't just do things for us. It does things to us, changing not just what we do but who we are.

    • Sherry Turkle,
    • "Everyone Gets Their 15 Megabytes of Fame," in Minneapolis Star Tribune ()
  • Everything you said or did was a data point you put out there in the world.

  • The math-powered applications powering the data economy were based on choices made by fallible human beings. Some of these choices were no doubt made with the best intentions. Nevertheless, many of these models encoded human prejudice, misunderstanding, and bias into the software systems that increasingly managed our lives. Like gods, these mathematical models were opaque, their workings invisible to all but the highest priests in their domain: mathematicians and computer scientists. Their verdicts, even when wrong or harmful, were beyond dispute or appeal. And they tended to punish the poor and the oppressed in our society, while making the rich richer.

  • Culture doesn't just inform technology and design. Technology and design also, increasingly, inform culture.

  • The good news is there’s actually no magic to tech. As opaque as it might seem from the outside, it’s just a skill set — one that all kinds of people can, and do, learn. There’s no reason to allow tech companies to obfuscate their work, to call it special and exempt it from our pesky ethics.

  • No matter how much tech companies talk about algorithms like they’re nothing but advanced math, they always reflect the values of their creators.