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The Top 20 Edgy and Incisive
Internet Quotes of 1990-1995

These were selected from the 4,200 statements included in the Early '90s Predictions Database. For more details regarding the original publication of these quotes, use the '90s Database Search - see link at left.

Everything from telegraphy and photography in the 19th century to the silicon chip in the 20th has amplified the din of information, until matters have reached such proportions today that for the average person, information no longer has any relation to the solution of problems ... Our defenses against information glut have broken down; our information immune system is inoperable. We don't know how to filter it out; we don't know how to reduce it; we don't know to use it. – Neil Postman, 1990
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For blind bards as for nearsighted whiz kids, cyberspace will feel like Paradise! Of course don’t expect to keep your old identity: one name, one country, one clock. For be it through medical reconstruction or through fantasy, multiplied versions of yourself are going to blossom up everywhere. Ideal, statistical, ironical. A springtime for schizophrenia! – Nicole Stenger, 1992
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Who's going to control all this technology? The corporations, of course. And will that mean your brain implant is going to come complete with a corporate logo, and 20 percent of the time you're going to be hearing commercials? – R.U. Sirius (real name, Ken Goffman), 1992
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Combine GPS with a simple transmitter and computer ... If you want to track migratory birds, prisoners on parole or – what amounts to much the same thing – a teenage daughter in possession of your car keys, you are going to be a customer sooner or later. – Peter Huber, 1992
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If cyberspace is utopian it is because it opens the possibility of using the deterministic platform for unpredictable ends ... We might even grow a system large and complex and unstable enough to leap across that last possible bifurcation - autopoetically - into that strangest of all possible attractors, the godmind. – David Porush, 1992
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The whole massive, lethal superpower infrastructure comes unfolding out of 21st-century cyberspace like some impossible fluid origami trick. The Reserve guys from the bowling leagues suddenly reveal themselves to be digitally assisted Top Gun veterans from a hundred weekend cyberspace campaigns. And they go to some godforsaken place that doesn't possess Virtual Reality As A Strategic Asset, and they bracket that army in their rangefinder screens, and then they cut it off, and then they kill it. Blood and burning flesh splashes the far side of the glass. But it can't get through the screen. – Bruce Sterling, 1993
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As the electronic revolution merges with the biological evolution, we will have - if we don't have it already - artificial intelligence, and artificial life, and will be struggling even more than now with issues such as the legal rights of robots, and whether you should allow your son to marry one, and who has custody of the offspring of such a union. – Jim Dator, 1993
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For 300 years we have had a scientific ethos that says "information is good" - and the more we know the better. I believe we're heading into an era when there's going to be enormous pressure to block out, to prevent further development of certain kinds of knowledge. – Alvin Toffler, 1993
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If you change the way you make wealth, you inevitably change the way you make war. And if you change the way you make war, you ought to be thinking about changing the way you make peace ... If we are now in the process of transforming the way we create wealth, from the industrial to the informational … the more knowledge-intensive military action becomes, the more nonlinear it becomes; the more a small input someplace can neutralize an enormous investment. And having the right bit or byte of information at the right place at the right time, in India or in Turkistan or in God knows where, could neutralize an enormous amount of military power somewhere else … Think in terms of families. Think in terms of narco-traffickers. And think in terms of the very, very smart hacker sitting in Tehran. – Alvin Toffler, 1993
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We're going to have to look at information as though we'd never seen the stuff before ... The economy of the future will be based on relationship rather than possession. It will be continuous rather than sequential. And finally, in the years to come, most human exchange will be virtual rather than physical, consisting not of stuff but the stuff of which dreams are made. Our future business will be conducted in a world made more of verbs than nouns. – John Perry Barlow, 1994
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The body net will be connected to the building net, the building net to the community net, and the community net to the global net. From gesture sensors worn on our bodies to the worldwide infrastructure of communications satellites and long-distance fiber, the elements of the bitsphere will finally come together to form one densely interwoven system within which the knee bone is connected to the I-bahn. – William Mitchell, 1994
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The sharp-edged technology of the NII can cut a number of ways: It can enlarge the domain of the commodifiers and controllers; it can serve the resistance to these forces; it can saturate us all, controlled and controllers alike, in a virtual alternative to the real world. Meanwhile, most of humanity will live and die deprived of the wonders of the NII, or indeed the joys of adequate nutrition, medical care, and housing. We would do well to regulate our enthusiasms accordingly - that is, to remember where love and mercy have their natural homes, in that same material world. Otherwise we will have built yet another pharaonic monument to wealth, avarice, and indifference. We will have proved the technophobes right. More to the point, we will have collaborated to neglect the suffering of the damned of the earth – our other selves – in order to entertain ourselves. – Tom Maddox, 1994
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How better to receive audio communications than through an earring, or to send spoken messages than through your lapel? Jewelry that is blind, deaf, and dumb just isn't earning its keep. Let's give cuff links a job that justifies their name ... And a shoe bottom makes much more sense than a laptop - to boot up, you put on your boots. When you come home, before you take off your coat, your shoes can talk to the carpet in preparation for delivery of the day's personalized news to your glasses. – Nicholas Negroponte, 1995
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Pretty soon we're going to have to grow software, and we should start learning how to do that. We should have software that won't break when something is wrong with it. As a friend of mine once said, if you try to make a Boeing 747 six inches longer, you have a problem; but a baby gets six inches longer 10 or more times during its life, and you never have to take it down for maintenance. – Alan Kay, 1995
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Today we have the Net, the last accidentally uncensored mass medium in existence. Is it a toy of the rich and the ivory tower, or is it potent? ... Will we allow ourselves to be possessed by the vision of a Net whose purpose is to help create and support HEROES? Or will we dismiss it all with a keystroke and get back to the REAL FUN STUFF on alt.flame.Joe.schmuck.the.world's.greatest.poophead? – Steve Crocker, 1995
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Are we headed toward a world filled with anemic drones, laboring away at sterile keyboards, never taking a moment to sniff the ragweed, never twisting an ankle while tossing a Frisbee to their flea-ridden dogs? Well, we might be. America, at least, has been headed there for some time, roughly since the invention of the fluorescent tube. The Internet, though, is just a symptom of our technological cocoonery, not the root cause. – Dinty Moore, 1995
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In 2088, our branch on the tree of life will come crashing down, ending a very modest (if critically acclaimed) run on planet earth. The culprit? Not global warming. Not atomic war. Not flesh-eating bacteria. Not even too much television. The culprit is the integrated circuit ... By 2090, the computer will be twice as smart and twice as insightful as any human being. It will never lose a game of chess, never forget a face, never forget the lessons of history. By 2100, the gap will grow to the point at which homo sapiens, relatively speaking, might make a good pet. Then again, the computers of 2088 might not give us a second thought. – Greg Blonder, 1995
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The universal "we" has lost a sense of rhythm, and is in danger of unbalancing the thought and action cycle that drives creative human behavior ... Where traveling through space physically once buffered periods of mental activity, we are squeezing out the inherent rest cycle associated with going to libraries, face-to-face meetings, and going from home to work ... The added convenience of telecommunication-based collaboration, the umbrella reason that new technologies are adopted within organizations, carries with it this hidden cost of a loss of pace as it throws us into the vacuum of electronic space. – Stephen Acker, 1995
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The robots will re-create us any number of times, whereas the original version of our world exists, at most, only once. Therefore, statistically speaking, it's much more likely we're living in a vast simulation than in the original version. To me, the whole concept of reality is rather absurd. But while you're inside the scenario, you can't help but play by the rules. So we might as well pretend this is real - even though the chance things are as they seem is essentially negligible. – Hans Moravec, 1995
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No matter what circumstances we face or predilections we harbor, the business of living is love. Getting love and keeping love. Manufacturing love. Making love. Making love stay. And no worldwide web of cool chips and hot wires is going to change that. So just shut up about your Brave New World, bub; we've all still got to live in the frightened old one. – Philip Mart, 1995

 

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