This collection of quotes were mostly prompted by questions and observations when I was giving lectures and making presentations, but there are also a few that popped into general conversation and the occasional eMail. Enjoy!
Forecasting technology futures is easy, but predicting what people will do with turns out to be near impossible
We have a moral responsibility to create new technologies that empower people to realise their full potential.
We have Big Data, but what we really need is Big Understanding
The half life of security solutions is getting exponentially shorter year-on-year
The Art of War (Tsun Zu) is more applicable to modern companies the The Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith)
Advances in Robotics and AI do not follow Moore’s Law - they are not exponential, but incrementally linear
For some 'Artificial Intelligence' looks like a bigger and better spanner, but for others it will spell the end of their industry and their career
The myopia go ignorance is probably the biggest threat to the human race
Power Point is a lot like pornography, it lacks the excitement and power of the real thing!
A peoples without science are quickly reduced to superstition, witchcraft, and belief systems that thwart any widely beneficial progress
The radio spectrum is scarce because of the analogue thinking of planners and users. Allocate codes instead of bands and it becomes infinite!
Smart people worry about what they own as opposed to how much they own
Big Data is an almost unconscious outcome of the desire and need to sustain all peoples on a rapidly smaller looking planet
The only time we employ humans is when robots are too expensive When you own a boat there are two really good days; the day you buy it, and the day you sell it ! Thanks, Peter
Science doesn't do superstition, witchcraft, wizardry, politics or political correctness! She is only concerned with the truth.
We have to stop making more and more for the few and start providing sufficient for the many
Censorship is a second order effect of surveillance - and societies respond by going underground to become invisible
We can always earn more money but we can never recover the time and energy expended on failure
Administration problems are never cured by adding even more administration
You don't fill a hole by digging another one
We have moved from The Day of The Stovepipe to The Day of The Network
A broken administration cannot be fixed by more administration
Perfection is the enemy of 'good enough'
The time it takes for companies to become evil, halves with every generation
Sociologists are really historians
The collapse of the Roman empire originated from their lack of materials understanding - especially iron!
In the Dark Ages all you needed to be a scientist was a pointy hat
Climate change is the new religion - a belief system bigger than Christianity and Islam
Science is not a matter of opinion; it is a question of evidence
As a society we reward those companies and organizations that afford us greater freedom - not less!
I have no intention of growing old gracefully, it will be disgracefully or nothing!
Never underestimate the collective stupidity of large groups of people
Never underestimate the collective creativity and genius of small groups of people
Innovation is a rational act in only one situation...when it has succeeded!
Culture has inertia and momentum
IC technology is a race to the bottom
Never underestimate the power of vested interests
Reptiles have no grey matter - no neocortex - but they are still intelligent
The IT and Security Departments of all the big companies are going to go the same way as the Typing Pool for exactly the same reasons"
Perfection is the enemy of the good
We have to conquer complexity if we are going to make real progress
In all really big systems involving technology and/or people, over 50% of the resources are devoted to looking after the remainder!
There is no point bolting a spoiler on a duck - it won't improve the performance. If you want a jet plane, you had better start by building a jet!
Most things in this life are conditional - love is an exception - it comes without strings attached!
I don't believe in belief systems
Happiness is more valuable than all the riches in the world, and doing the right thing most important of all
Incrementalism always self limits
All complex problems have a simple solution that is invariably wrong!
Everyone has an inner geek
If it hurts stop doing IT
It is never too late to reset and restart
WiFi is cheaper than water, lighting, heating and air condition so why charge for it?
The world is divided into two kinds of people, those who spend a great deal of time trying to save money, and those who spend a great deal of money trying to save time
"In times of recession the Europeans become introverted, introspective, and ultra-cautious. The Americans on the other hand start planning for the upswing
As a general rule humans spend all their energy and time worrying about the least significant problems whilst totally overlooking or neglecting the really important and critical....
The real problem is the world at large doesn't understand exponential functions. 2EXPn looks so damn innocent!
When markets get tough the businesses that survive and prosper are those that respond with even lower prices and even better quality and performance
The past century saw progress limited by the rate of technology development. This new century will see progress limited by our rate of technology acceptance. Ultimately, technology will not wait for us!
Peter Cochrane is flying London to Houston TX - no terrorist ever stopped me working, travelling, doing business, being with friends, or living a full life...." E-Mail signature from 9/24/01
Technology isn't what we do, technology is what we are
Moore's wall will see the end of our present strain of silicon technology around 2015. But on the other side their are even more options and technologies available to us than ever before
I see absolutely no evidence of convergence in IT! We have an increasing number of devices, operating systems, applications, networks and network types than ever before
AI & AL systems offer our biggest opportunity for future progress - and the biggest danger. We really need to invoke Azimov's Laws of robotics, and to derive their AI & AL equivalents
Ordinary people ... believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Software designers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet
One of the most redeeming features of our species is that of being able to see the irony of what we do and the funny side of ourselves.......
There is nothing quite as powerful as a good approximation - especially if you continually correct the errors with reality!
Nanotechnology will be dominant in 100 years time
Factories may only be 1 - 2m tall
We only use people when they are cheaper than machines
Robots already produce far more than people
Robots can manipulate atoms - we can manipulate nuts and bolts!
Soon you won't be able to use your mobile phone without multi-media
Words and pictures are wholly inadequate to understand the complexity of the world we are creating. Without three dimensional animation, augmented by sound and tactile feedback our progress could become stilted
Biological systems save the species at the expense of the individual
Multi-media is just a stepping stone between cave paintings and our ultimate subsumption into a VR world and the technology itself
I am among the first generation of people to live with antibiotics all their life - and it is now the norm that the majority of children live - it used to be that the majority would die!
Organisations tolerate and generally celebrate their change agents - until they start to succeed
The most significant development in computing in the 21st Century? The spontaneous eruption of artificial life from a combination of massive computing power, huge memory capacity and interconnectivity, quantum uncertainty, and sensor networks. This will give us a third intelligence - beyond the human framework - and on a scale difficult for us to imagine
The future world of business will be chaotic - and continuous innovation will be a necessity and not an option
Cherish the quick and dirty experiment, and value the mistakes, because failure is a precursor to success
At home people buy everything without a business case
Smart people tend to ask a lot of dumb questions
If you want to write a book, do it fast, they may soon disappear
Mother nature is not at all interested in our beliefs - she has her own truths
Science is obliged to follow the data - no matter where it leads
The molecule is the message
In telecommunication networks electronics has to be replaced by photonics to achieve the ultimate hike in reliability and drop in cost."
Half the world has yet to make it's first phone call
Entrepreneurs create jobs - not governments
Cloning is not photocopying
Why would you want anything built or made by a human when you can get superior products made by a machine?
The single biggest improvement in the health of a nation was brought about by the provision of a clean water supply and the effective treatment of sewage. The next major advance is likely to be data mining
Today there are only three economies scale of importance: information, distribution, communication
We are often wrong but seldom in doubt
Market capitalisation is overtaking turnover as the key market measure
Microprocessors now outnumber people by over 2:1 on planet earth
We should engineer as we should farm - assuming we are going to live forever
If we wreck planet earth we do not deserve to survive
Having dominion over life does not mean you can do as you like
The difference between a newspaper and a lap top - no one takes a lap top into the toilet
It is time to stop bending people into technology and time to start bending technology into people
In theory the entire human race could have a simultaneous conversation, twice over, on single optical fibre as thick as a human hair
Ever since the flying doctor, people have expected mobile radio to be poor quality
It is as if the software industry is trying to build the worlds heaviest aircraft
The future is about instant gratification
In this information world you can opt out, but you can't escape
We cannot work any harder, but we can work smarter
By the year 2015 the super computer equal to our human brain will be with us
By 2025 it will be on our desks, and by 2030 it will be wearing us
I no longer worry about dying, but I do worry about dying before my computer is proud of me
The AI community say - 'Don't anthropomorphize computers. They will hate it.' Well I have been silicomorphized for the last 20 years and I don't like it either! But the machines work for us - don't they?
Emotional bits are the most important
We live on the edge of a strange attractor, on the edge of chaos and disaster, always just one step away from disaster - only our technology saves us
We have a responsibility to our families, friends, people, company, country, profession, and our species
Political, social and commercial systems are being outpaced and outmoded by technology
Artificial piece parts for every component in the human body are now feasible
Switch off the phone network and most of us would die. No communication, no logistics, no food!
Switch off the computers and robots and most of us would die. No food and goods production!
We have to stop burning hydrocarbons or we will suffer badly
Entropy is a celestial ratchet - it goes one way and eventually kills us!
The only people who like to travel are those who do not do it
Management is about promoting and anticipating change
The most important job we ever have - is to be good parents
We know very little, but are capable of a great deal"
We are at our best when things are at their worst
Companies are more than money making machines - they should have a soul - a responsibility to their people and the society they serve
Antigravity looks to be fundamentally impossible
Matter transport looks feasible
Over 1000 years ago - a god - looked like a reasonable hypothesis. Today it looks like a real long shot
Some central life force - based on fundamentally simple rules - looks to be an increasingly strong possibility
Good technology is beneficial and improves our life and condition
People are always the most valuable asset
I look forward to a future of man, woman and machine
Mathematics is fundamentally a visualisation tool
At school I was taught to solve problems by turning handles; at university I learned how to solve problems by thinking; in industry I entered the world of mathematical understanding and non linearity
Without mathematics there would be no science, engineering or civilisation
Only politicians would try to manage a 21st Century organisation with 16th Century methods
Security is an illusion and not an absolute, it is a relative condition
As I get older I find I enjoy giving prizes more than receiving them
It might just be that clarity and truth are always mutually exclusive!
No biological organism can survive in it's own waste products
Writing a new book is easier than finding one that exists
When I was a young man I knew a lot about nothing, but as I get older I know much less about very much more
Time is our most precious commodity
Just because you are a technologist does not mean you have to be boring
In California dying is seen as an unnatural act
Healthcare has now reached the point where everyone expects to be cured - no one expects to be ill or die
Carbon life is the only life we know about
I don't pay my plumber every time I flush the toilet
The way to make a network more valuable is to link it to another network
Large organisations employ large numbers of really smart people to do really dumb things
Humans have such a limited concept of dimension, that they are unlikely to conceive of the really key problems let alone their solution
The distance across the English Channel is greater than that across the North Atlantic
You have to fail to learn
We have to stop making more and more for the few and start providing sufficient for the many
300 years ago a god seemed a reasonable hypothesis, but from what we now know it seems increasingly unlikely