When I first got to Apple, which was in '84, the Mac was already out, and 'Newsweek' contacted me and asked me what I thought of the Mac. I said, 'Well, the Mac is the first personal computer good enough to be criticized.'
In the commercial world, you have this problem that the amount of research you can do in a company is based on how well your current business is going, whereas there actually should be an inverse relationship: when things are going worse, you should do more research.
In the old days, you would chastise people for reinventing the wheel. Now we beg, 'Oh, please, please reinvent the wheel.'
If you don't fail at least 90 percent of the time, you're not aiming high enough.
The protean nature of the computer is such that it can act like a machine or like a language to be shaped and exploited.
Computer science inverts the normal. In normal science, you're given a world, and your job is to find out the rules. In computer science, you give the computer the rules, and it creates the world.
Because people don't understand what computing is about, they think they have it in the iPhone, and that illusion is as bad as the illusion that 'Guitar Hero' is the same as a real guitar.
Some people worry that artificial intelligence will make us feel inferior, but then, anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.
People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.
Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.
There is the desire of a consumer society to have no learning curves. This tends to result in very dumbed-down products that are easy to get started on, but are generally worthless and/or debilitating.
All the companies I've worked for have this deep problem of devolving to something like the hunting and gathering cultures of 100,000 years ago. If businesses could find a way to invent 'agriculture,' we could put the world back together and all would prosper.
Quite a few people have to believe something is normal before it becomes normal - a sort of 'voting' situation. But once the threshold is reached, then everyone demands to do whatever it is.
I've been a Fellow in a number of companies: Xerox, Apple, Disney, HP. There are certain similarities because all the Fellows programs were derived from IBM's, which itself was derived from the MIT 'Institute Professor' program.
Having an intelligent secretary does not get rid of the need to read, write, and draw, etc. In a well functioning world, tools and agents are complementary.
I had the fortune or misfortune to learn how to read fluently starting at the age of three. So I had read maybe 150 books by the time I hit 1st grade. And I already knew that the teachers were lying to me.
As far as Apple goes, it was a different company every few years from the time I joined in 1984.
Science requires a society because even people who are trying to be good thinkers love their own thoughts and theories - much of the debugging has to be done by others.
Social thinking requires very exacting thresholds to be powerful. For example, we've had social thinking for 200,000 years, and hardly anything happened that could be considered progress over most of that time. This is because what is most pervasive about social thinking is 'how to get along and mutually cope.'
Technology is anything that wasn't around when you were born.
Steve was perfectly aware of the Dynabook. That was one of the reasons he wanted me to come to Apple.
In some sense our ability to open the future will depend not on how well we learn anymore but on how well we are able to unlearn.
It's hard to change information in books, but if we have everything online, then a somewhat untrustworthy group of people controlling the thing - which I think is what we have - gives us '1984.'