Quotes of the year: 2016
Business Management

Quotes of the year: 2016

Surveillance & privacy

“It is one of the most extreme surveillance laws ever passed in a democracy. Theresa May has finally got her snoopers’ charter and democracy in the UK is the worse for it.”

Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock on the passing of the UK IP Bill – aka the Snooper’s Charter – into law

“Privacy in today's workplace is largely illusory.”

Ellen Bayer, of the American Management Association, on the rise of employee monitoring

“In a world where private information can quite often protect the tax payer or stop a multitude of crimes or save lives, in my view there can ultimately be no absolute right to privacy.”

Former Foreign Secretary Lord William Hague speaking at the InfoSecurity conference in London

“Edward Snowden showed we’ve inadvertently built the world’s largest surveillance network with the web.”

Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle

 

Politics & legislation

“I, for one, admire Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to restore the glory days of Windows 95, when the internet was swashbuckling and free and people spelled ‘online’ with a hyphen.”

The Independent’s John Rentoul takes a savage swipe at Labour leader Corbyn and his Digital Democracy manifesto

“The tech community will do what it always does, which is be adaptable. Stay calm, tune into Glastonbury, watch the Euros, and get back to business.”

Noted tech investor Saul Klein on why Brexit was not as bad as all that

“What happens when I meet with governments is they all say 'yes,' and they listen very politely. They're always very nice. Europeans are always very polite. And then they don't do anything about it.”

Alphabet’s Eric Schimdt on what’s wrong with Europe

“The current state of terms and conditions for digital services is bordering on the absurd. Their scope, length and complexity mean it is virtually impossible to make good and informed decisions.”

Finn Myrstad from the Norwegian Consumer Council after an arty project spent 30 hours reading out the Terms and Conditions of 33 popular apps were read out

“[Andrew] Carnegie could never have imagined the kind of power Zuckerberg has. Politics today is less relevant than it has ever been in our entire history. These CEOs are more powerful than they’ve ever been. The driving force of social change today is no longer government at all.”

NYC University history Professor David Nasaw on the rise of Big Tech in politics. Given the election result, he could be mistaken

“We know of no Anonymous groups supporting @officialmcafee ego stroke.”

Tweet from @YourAnonNews over claims the hacktivist group is pushing to make an apparently reluctant John McAfee a “cyber-czar” for Donald Trump’s administration

 

Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon

“But, dear Mark, you are the world’s most powerful editor. I think you are abusing your power, and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.”

Espen Egil Hansen, Editor-in-chief and CEO of Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten, calling out Facebook’s inconsistent handling of photos on the site in an open letter

“We looked at dirigibles quite hard.”

Andrew Cox, Chief Engineer at Facebook, on how Facebook’s internet-providing drones could have been airships

“Facebook is the biggest nation in the world and we have a dictator, if you look at it from a democracy standpoint, Mark Zuckerberg is a dictator. I did not elect him. He sets the rules.”

Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde on the power of tech moguls. Facebook refused to comment

 

“It creates the false aura for Apple of being cutting edge, of being artist advocates, of being innovative mavericks… instead of being the McDonalds of consumer high tech whose wealth was largely pilfered from what was once a biodiverse music industry.”

Pop artist Anohni on Apple paying for her “Drone Bomb Me” music video

“I do wish that they would not be trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”

 Bernie Sanders on Apple

 “I called the head of Apple, Tim Cook, and he delightfully agreed to have Siri change the pronunciation of my name.”

Barbra Streisand, clearly pushed to the limit by Siri’s pronunciation, has friends in higher places than the rest of us

“It’s not part of the community, Apple is the NSA of AI.”

Jerry Kaplan, a teacher at Stanford, on Apple’s lack of public engagement around Artificial Intelligence

“This is the sort of intolerance that comes from letting the gun prohibition lobby get away with demonization and hate.”

Alan M. Gottlieb, founder and VP of pro-gun organization the Second Amendment Foundation, reacting to news Apple has replaced its gun emoji with a water pistol

“Apple is not willing to pay a dime. They’re making profit, and they should share the responsibility for our city, but they won’t.”

Cupertino Mayor Barry Chang on Apple’s impact on the local area

“We're gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.”

President-elect Donald Trump on the campaign trail

 

 

“Although we welcome the measures Google has taken so far, it is still one of the key enablers of piracy on the planet.”

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor isn’t impressed with Google’s latest anti-piracy report

 

 

“We're working on much bigger failures right now. And I am not kidding. And some of them are going to make the Fire Phone look like a tiny little blip.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has no regrets

 

Presidential election

“The idea that fake news on Facebook influenced the election in any way is a pretty crazy idea.”

Mark Zuckerberg defends Facebook after facing criticism that fake news on the social network aided the rise of Donald Trump

 “It's the most patriotic thing I can do.”

Venture capitalist and Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar on his plans to secede California from the rest of the US in the wake of the Presidential election

“He has an awesomely difficult task, since it is long past time for us to face up to our country’s problems. We’re going to need all hands on deck.”

Peter Thiel, Facebook board member and major investor, in a statement after Trump’s win

“When it’s all said and done, I’d rather lose every penny than have Trump as president because I care more about the future of my family, my children than I do about my pocketbook.”

Noted investor and billionaire Mark Cuban makes a pretty bold claim

“He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline…Trump would be a disaster for innovation.”

An open letter signed by over 140 prominent technology figures criticising the then Republican Presidential candidate

“Due to an oversight involving a haphazardly-installed Chrome extension during the editing process, the name Donald Trump was erroneously replaced with the phrase ‘Someone With Tiny Hands’ when this story originally published.”

Wired statement explaining why a story was published that replaced ‘Trump’ with ‘Someone With Tiny Hands’

 

Internet

“The internet has not been taken over by foreign governments.”

ICANN VP Jamie Hedlund reporting on the state of the internet a month after control of domain naming and numbering was ceded by the US

“Algorithms, when they are not transparent, can lead to a distortion of our perception, they can shrink our expanse of information.”

German chancellor Angela Merkel wants tech companies – especially search engines – to be more open about how they bring up results

“If I hack a vibrator it’s just fun, but if I can get to the back-end, I can blackmail the manufacturer.”

Raimund Genes, Chief Technology Officer of Trend Micro, on the dangers of unsecured IoT devices

“Measures of sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism positively correlate with trolling.”

Professor Joseph Reagle on internet bullying

“Denying world's poorest free partial Internet connectivity when today they have none, for ideological reasons, strikes me as morally wrong.”

Marc Andreessen Tweeting after Facebook’s free Basics service was blocked in India

“It hasn’t covered its costs and like any business this can’t continue indefinitely. Therefore, whilst it’s sad, I believe it’s time to move on and put Friends Reunited to bed. And I feel like I am the right person to do it.”

FriendsReunited founder Steve Pankhurst on retiring the social network we all thought long gone already

 

Smartphones

“4.3 million smartphones contain more than 20 metric tonnes of cobalt, approximately more than 1 tonne of tungsten, 1 tonne of silver, 100 kilograms of gold and between 20 and 60 kilograms of palladium.”

Greenpeace want to know how and where Samsung will be disposing of all those explosive Galaxy Note 7S devices

“We clearly missed the mobile phone, there's no question.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella admits defeat when it comes to smartphones

“We have absolutely no interest to go back into the mobile business. That's our history, not our future.”

Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia's Technologies unit. In hindsight, not so true

“Samsung took a deliberate step towards danger, and their existing test infrastructure and design validation process failed them.  They shipped a dangerous product.”

Instrumental.ai teardown of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

“I don’t think this will be a major hit.”

Ace Research Institute analyst Ace Hideki Yasuda, on Sharp’s new RoBoHon robot phone

 

M&A

“Six seconds is more than enough time for most people to enjoy themselves.”

Pornhub letter outlining why it wants to buy Vine

“Don’t sell your company!”

Vine founder Rus Yusupov has seller’s remorse

“I remember giving a presentation to a large audience about Avast. About an hour later, a gentleman walked up to me and complimented me on how good the presentation was and how he enjoyed hearing about AVG. That was my first lesson in how easy the companies are to confuse.”

Avast CEO Vincent Steckler, possibly explaining why his company are really buying fellow antivirus maker AVG

“It is like a car manufacturer suddenly deciding to get into the skateboard business. It never made sense to me.”

John McAfee reflects on Intel buying his namesake company

“There are symbiotic relationships here, but cousins should not get married.”

Shawn Kravetz, a fund manager at Esplanade Capital LLC, on why Elon Musk’s Tesla buying Elon Musk’s Solar City upset many investors

“The acquisition looks like a strategic mistake… Nokia will hold Withings back rather than propel it forward.”

Tractia analyst Aditya Kaul on Nokia’s $191 million acquisition of French wearable & health tech startup Withings

 

Business management & investments

“Startup fundraising in Silicon Valley wouldn't function without Chinese money.”

Chris Nicholson, chief executive of Skymind.io on the realities of tech funding

“VCs won't simply admit that they're in a giant Ponzi Scheme. And then, they have to play along, because they've taken money from their investors, and their investors expect a certain return, but it's no longer an honest game. That's why it feels like 1999 again.”

Tech entrepreneur Steve Blank on the prospect of a tech bubble busting

“A ridiculous amount of unicorns have a $1 billion valuation. Why is that? Because it is a purpose in itself. The Unicorn List has led to that; it's a leaderboard and you want to be on it, so that has led to stupid behaviour. That is now hitting us.”

Adyen CEO Pieter van der Does

 

Robotics & AI

“We're at the very beginning stages of becoming a robotics company.”

Uber is anything but a taxi-hailing app to CEO Travis Kalanick

“Don't believe the hype – Google AlphaGo's gaming successes and IBM Watson will not usher in a dystopian triumph of machines over humans.”

Forrester’s latest report plays down the threat of our new robot overlords

“We humans are like small children playing with a bomb. We have little idea when the detonation will occur, though if we hold the device to our ear we can hear a faint ticking sound.”

Professor Nick Bostrom, writing about the future of machine intelligence in his new book

“If you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry, it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries.”

Former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi speaking out against a $15 minimum wage

“AlphaGo beating a human in a game of Go is an incredible achievement, but even if the machine won, it still can't make you a cup of tea afterwards.”

Noel Sharkey, Professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield (and former Robot Wars judge) on the current limitations of robotics and AI

“We are thrilled to have mastered Go and thus achieved one of the grand challenges of AI.”

Demis Hassabis, Google DeepMind, on DeepMind’s ‘Go’ victory

 

Autonomous vehicles

“It takes some of the intellectual intrigue out of the problem, but the answer is almost always ‘slam on the brakes’.”

Andrew Chatham, Principle Engineer for Google’s driverless car project, outlines why there isn’t a moral dilemma around autonomous vehicles

“The customer who died in this crash had a loving family and we are beyond saddened by their loss. He was a friend to Tesla and the broader EV community… We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”

Tesla statement on the fatal car crash that occurred while the company’s Autopilot feature was engaged

“Our task is to preserve our business model without surrendering it to an internet player. Otherwise we will end up as the Foxconn for a company like Apple, delivering only the metal bodies for them.”

BMW’s Klaus Froehlich on the new era of intelligent & on-demand cars

“The moral algorithm is a term that is good for tabloid newspapers. There is no such thing in the software that will tell the car to hit the 80-year-old in order not to hit the group of kids.”

Dr Heiko Schilling, Head of Navigation at TomTom, tells it like it is when it comes the much-hyped ‘trolley problem’ around driverless cars

 

Bitcoin & blockchain

“I’m not going to job through everybody’s fucking hoops… I’m not going to go through fucking everything. I don’t really give a shit whether people like it.”

Craig “I’m Satoshi Nakamoto” Wright explaining that he doesn’t need more proof that he is the creator of Bitcoin

“The National Front, firmly rooted in the real economy… will prevent the use of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin in France.”

Marine Le Pen, leader of French political party the National Front, outlining her party’s views and policies on digital currencies

We are “Yet to see a use case for blockchain that can't be solved with an existing simpler technology.”

- Cryptography expert Adi Shamir speaking at this year’s RSA conference

 

Everything else

“I grew up being taught that the truth is always a sufficient defense against claims of defamation. Given the extensive documentation about the history of email, I’m sorry to find that that the adage no longer holds true.”

Dave Crocker, early contributor for internet standards, lambasting the fact Gawker will pay $750,000 to Shiva Ayyadurai after the publication denied his claims about inventing email

“Wow. Big news! Congratulations on today’s announcements. We’re genuinely excited to have some competition.”

Slack posted a passive aggressive response to Microsoft’s new Teams announcement on both Medium and in the NYT

“It came over my airspace, 25 or 30 feet above my trees, and hovered for a second. I blasted it to smithereens.”

65-year-old Virginian Jennifer Youngman on destroying a drone with a shotgun

“The word cloud has been bastardized as other words - social, mobile and IoT. They become frothy terms over time, thus creating a bubble-like environment. And eventually it means nothing to no one.”

Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey isn’t a fan of buzzwords

“People are saturated with nonsense like Pokémon Go, for fuck's sake.”

Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof lambasts Pokemon, Twitter, and Facebook at the RSA security conference, while saying because he uses an old Nokia phone he has no need for cyber-security

“Large amounts of crack.”

Elon Musk (probably) joking on how he gets by with less than six hours sleep a night

“Think about a world without Excel. That's just impossible for me.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on his favourite MS product. Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

“His position was becoming pretty untenable, so it’s probably a good thing that he’s going.”

Jan Dawson, Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research, on Tony Fadell stepping down as CEO of Nest

“A thousand qubit computer can be in 2 to the 1,000 states at one time, which is 10 to the 300th power. There’s only 10 to the 80th atoms in the universe. Now does this mean it’s in 10 to the 300th universes at the same time?”

D-Wave CEO Vern Brownell explaining Quantum computing a bit more scientifically (and confusingly) than Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

“I had all sorts of hopes for computers… that they would do wonderful things for mankind. I’ve been utterly disappointed. I think they’ve done more to destroy culture and society than they’ve helped.”

Early technology journalist Erik Sandberg-Diment

“We thought digital was the new oil, but discovered it is also the new asbestos.”

UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham on the risk and rewards of the digital age

“In a year… my promise to you is that we will throw away all of these external monitors and put them in the recycling bin because we already have the resolution and all of the components necessary to start replacing that, that’s our first step into form factor replacement.”

Meron Gribetz, CEO of Augmented Reality startup Meta, on his faith in his new hardware

“We’re calling it, we’re the best-selling UK computer ever.”

Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton

“Like Henry Ford said, if you ask people what they want, they'll ask for a faster horse. Data alone does not hold the answers. It's the insights that creative people derive from the data that holds the magic.”

Garret Keogh, managing director and founder, Telegraph Hill on why data is critical for the online TV of tomorrow

“My sister had to brief me about who family members were. I was more interested in my Rubik's Cube than my younger brother.”

Linux creator Linus Torvalds on what he was like as a child

“Exorcising your PC will do it no harm, but I'd run a virus scan as well, just to be sure.”

Sophos security adviser Paul Ducklin, reacting to the idea of a witch removing malware with magic

“Algorithms aren't above the law.”

UK Labour Shadow minister Chi Onwurah calls for companies to make their code more transparent so they can subject to regulation

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