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July 20, 2005

Isaac Asimov on Science, Technology, and the Future

Isaac Asimov, one of the "big three" science fiction authors (along with Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein), also had a lot to say about science and society generally. His Wikipedia entry attributes the following quotes, among others, to him:

  • A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value.
  • Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know — and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance.
  • The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'
  • The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
  • I do not fear computers. I fear lack of them.
  • Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest.
  • Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today — but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.
  • It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.
  • Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.

Posted by Robert at July 20, 2005 8:39 AM
category: Miscellaneous

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