Einstein Quote About Technology Making a Generation of Idiots-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”
We couldn’t find any record of Einstein saying that technology would lead to a generation of idiots.
That quote has been circulating the Internet for years, but and original source for it has never been identified, and there’s no record of Einstein having said despite Einstein’s quotes being archived in multiple searchable databases.
Some have noted that the quote is suspiciously close to a fictional Einstein quote that appeared in the 1995 movie “Powder.”
The movie, written and directed by Victor Salva, is about an albino boy named Powder who has the ability to sense the thoughts of those around him. In the scene in question, Donald Ripley (played by Jeff Goldblum,” compares Powder to a fictional Einstein quote:
Ripley: It’s become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.
Powder: Albert Einstein.
Ripley: I look at you, and I, I think that someday our humanity might actually surpass our technology.
It’s not clear if the viral Einstein quote about technology somehow “morphed” from the fictional Einstein quote from “Powder,” but that’s a possibility.
We did find one Einstein quote that was somewhat close to the viral quote about “a generation of idiots” during our research, however. In a 1946 letter, Einstein wrote about the “deterioration of ethical standards” resulting from technology:
I believe that the abominable deterioration of ethical standards stems primarily from the mechanization and depersonalization of our lives — a disastrous byproduct of science and technology. Nostra Culpa!
However, Einstein wasn’t always so dismal about the impact of technology on society. In another quote archived in Princeton University Press’s “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein,” Einstein alluded to the ability of technology to end wars:
Technology resulting from the sciences has internationally chained together economies and this has caused all wars to be come a matter of international importance. When this situation has entered the consciousness of mankind, after sufficient turmoil, then men will also find the energy and goodwill to create organizations that have the power to end wars.
Regardless of how Einstein thought technology would shape society, we’re calling his so-called “generation of idiots” quote fiction because there’s not record of him ever saying that.