From the iPad to ID cards: 2010's quotes of the year

"You can love your robot but it's not going to love you back..."
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

"You can love your robot but it's not going to love you back..."

As 2010 draws to a close and we mark the passing of another year of big gadget launches, bold political pronouncements and industry spats, silicon.com's Natasha Lomas looks back over the past 12 months to pick out IT's quotes of the year.


"You can love your robot but it's not going to love you back"
- Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, discusses the future of robotics

"I'm surprised frankly that the sex industry hasn't yet cottoned on to robotics"
- There may be no love in robotics but professor Alan Winfield, of the University of the West of England, wonders why there's no sex

"My guess is that it will at least equal the technology featured in the movie Minority Report, and most likely have smarts that are AI-based"
- Peter Cochrane, silicon.com columnist, sketching what an Apple tablet might be capable of a week or so before the launch of the iPad

"I am tired of only thinking about the regular, dull PC roadmap"
- Asus chairman Jonney Shih discusses Asus' hardware vision in an interview with silicon.com


"The problem is netbooks aren't better at anything"
- Apple CEO Steve Jobs sticks the boot into mini-laptops

"We call it the iPad... a truly magical and revolutionary product"
- Apple CEO Steve Jobs finally launches the much rumoured Apple tablet

Apple CEO Steve Jobs launching the iPad

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiling the "magical and revolutionary" iPad
(Photo credit: James Martin/CNET)

"It's highly portable, has iPhone-like simplicity and usability and positively oozes 'I want'"
- Alastair Behenna, CIO at Harvey Nash, assesses the iPad

"Just having a lot of raw material doesn't mean you can build a thing - having lots and lots of steel doesn't mean you can build a suspension bridge. You need the design"
- Alan Winfield, Hewlett Packard Professor of electronic engineering at the University of the West of England, on the challenge of building a human-level artificial intelligence

"Everything and nothing really"
- Susan Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at Oxford University's Lincoln College, answering the question: 'how much do we know about the human brain?'


"Superfast broadband is the electricity of the digital age"
- The then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, giving a speech on the UK's digital future

"The geek hegemony over technology is ending"
- Seb Janacek, silicon.com's Apple columnist riffing on the impact of the iPad

"Do we let people bring in their own desks and chairs next?"
- esure CIO Mark Foulsham questions the idea of letting employees buy and support their own kit

"I was even able to glean the login name and password of the young lady on my right - just by glancing at her screen and watching her keystrokes"
- Peter Cochrane, silicon.com columnist, shows that people are still the weakest link for info security


"We are faced with a weak, dithering and incompetent attempt to breathe life into Britain's digital economy"
- Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt gives his verdict on the Digital Economy Bill

"Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone"
- Apple CEO Steve Jobs apparently firing off an email about lack of explicit content on Apple's App Store

"We have a generation growing up that's extremely comfortable with technology, no problem using it. But they don't seem to be that interested in understanding it"
- Dr Robert Harle, assistant director of research at the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory, on the future of computer science

"Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticising Apple for leaving the past behind"
- Apple CEO Steve Jobs pens an open letter on Adobe's Flash web plug-in technology


"With swift parliamentary approval, we aim to consign identity cards and the intrusive ID card scheme to history within 100 days"
- Home Secretary Theresa May finally puts an end to the identity cards scheme

ID cards

The ID card - consigned to the dustbin of history
(Image credit: Home Office)

"In order to have the perfect storm what you need to have is a very powerful eruption on the Sun, and for the Sun to be facing in such a way that that eruption is directed towards the centre of Earth"
- Dr Rami Qahwaji, researcher at the Space Weather Research unit at the University of Bradford, discusses how the weather in space can affect electronic infrastructure on earth

"And, of course, we generate a huge volume of irrelevant chit-chat. That automatically produces quite a smoke screen"
- Peter Cochrane, silicon.com columnist, argues that gossiping is good for national security


"This changes everything. Again"
- Apple announces the iPhone 4

"You know you could help me out if you're on wi-fi if you could just get off"
- Apple CEO Steve Jobs suffers connectivity problems during the iPhone 4 launch

"It's never been done before and it's really cool engineering"
- Jobs describes the iPhone 4's antenna design

"Just avoid holding it in that way"
- Jobs responds to problems with the iPhone 4 antenna design, later dubbed Antennagate

"It had reached the point where people were suspicious of anything related to giving information - it's partly the success of groups like NO2ID and Privacy International. They were tossing hand grenades at something that didn't exist: the kind of incursion into privacy wasn't the intention of the ID card and biometric database and wouldn't have been the case. We got all tied up with civil rights and privacy when the intention was never to intrude on people's privacy at all"
- Former Home Secretary David Blunkett on what went wrong with the ID cards project in an interview with silicon.com


"It is job one urgency. No one is sleeping at the switch"
- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the need for the company to ship Windows-based tablets

"This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases"
- Apple statement put out in the wake of Antennagate

"We're not perfect... and phones aren't perfect either"
- Apple CEO Steve Jobs giving a press conference about Antennagate

"If your chief executive doesn't see IT as crucial, you'll effectively be trying to push water uphill"
- Myron Hrycyk, CIO at Severn Trent, discusses the barriers to IT success

"You need to be thinking of speeds of 50Mbps to 100Mbps upload and download, if we're going to be credible"
- Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt on the government's pledge for the UK to have the 'best broadband network in Europe by 2015'

"Don't expect it before 2011"
- Ericsson CTO John Cunliffe on when the UK might see an LTE network deployment


"Have you ever racked your brain for something profound to post as your status update, and the best you can come up with is, 'Eating a flapjack'?"
- Steve Ranger, silicon.com editor, dissects the worth of social networking

Eating a flapjack: Writing interesting status updates is not always a piece of cake

Writing interesting status updates is not always a piece of cake
(Photo credit: rbrwr via Flickr.com under the following Creative Commons licence)

"I never used Vista but this looks heaps more reliable"
- Madhushan Gokool, IT manager at Storm Model Management, on Windows 7

"Books have been an increasingly inconvenient luxury and soon they will be one we can no longer afford"
- Peter Cochrane, silicon.com columnist, predicting the demise of paper books

"Just as we wouldn't allow someone to drive a car without insurance or without a seatbelt, so we shouldn't allow the foolish to careen around the information superhighway without putting in place some basic security measures"
- Steve Ranger, silicon.com editor, argues that antivirus should be a precondition of getting online


"We don't need any more Fart apps"
- Apple's official App Store review guidelines

"The office of the future isn't the one with the grey filing cabinets in the corner and potted palm, it's your home office"
- Ovum analyst Richard Edwards predicts the future of work

"I like to use the analogy that all of the searching that we have done to date is the equivalent of taking an eight ounce glass of water out of the Earth's oceans"
- Jill Tarter, the Seti Institute's director of the Center for Seti Research, discusses progress so far in the search for ET

"We could start the universe from different initial conditions, and say things like 'What if a universe had no dark matter? Could it produce different galaxies?' Those questions are pretty far out at the moment, most of my colleagues think that I'm pretty crazy bringing them up but ultimately this is a pretty exciting direction"
- Richard Bower, professor of physics at the Institute for Computational Cosmology, speculating on what computer models of the universe might be capable of in future

"I would equate it to driving your car down the road at 80km an hour and changing the tyre while you're moving"
- Dr Norman Kluksdahl, systems engineer with the mission operations facilities division at Nasa mission control, on the challenge of upgrading tech on the space station

"We have some stuff that's 16 years old"
- Dr Norman Kluksdahl discussing some of the Apollo-era technology still in service at Nasa

"The smartphone itself will simply be 'the phone' in a few years' time, with basic mobiles denoted by some other moniker and probably available inside upmarket Christmas crackers"
- Seb Janacek, silicon.com's Apple columnist, in predictive mood


"We needed to change"
- Andy Lees, president of Microsoft's mobile communications business, speaking at the launch of Windows Phone 7

"Oh, what joy there is in heaven when a sinner repents"
- Actor and Apple lover Stephen Fry praises Microsoft for ditching Windows Mobile to start afresh with Windows Phone 7

Stephen Fry: Praising Microsoft for changing its mobile ways

Stephen Fry invokes the Bible at the launch of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7
(Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com)

"Who will buy it? Human beings"
- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discusses Windows Phone 7

"When there is something to say, we'll say it"
- Ballmer sidesteps a question about Windows Phone 7 tablets

"After more than 15 years of web freedom, the dark side of the force is making new moves to gain control"
- Peter Cochrane, silicon.com columnist, on how Digital Economy laws are stifling creativity freedom


"If you tried to run a computer faster than that then what would actually happen is that you would be using so much energy that you would exceed what's called the Schwarzschild value - and that means your computer would actually collapse to a black hole"
- Scott Aaronson, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, discusses the ultimate limits of computing in an interview with silicon.com

"If I look at how my kids are consuming software, if it's not desirable immediately, they throw it away. Can you imagine what happens to your IT landscape when these people come into business?"
- SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe on the next generation of IT users

"We may love Facebook and know our OMGs from our BTWs, but we don't expect, or want to use it for work. Despite the apparent fears of many baby boomers, individuals born after 1985 are still able communicate without a keyboard or touchscreen"
- Millennial Shelley Portet debunks some of the myths about Gen Y

"After only a weekend, still not having been able to get time on the iPad myself, I had to pass it to our chairman. I do not know if he uses the Cat Piano app. But he has not spoken to me since"
- IT director Nic Bellenberg on why the iPad is good for business

"We use foot loops that allow us to park our feet - if you put a finger on the computer and you don't have something to restrain you, you can float away"
- Astronaut Clayton describes how to use a computer keyboard in space

"The last thing that I bought online was a floor-sweeper"
- Pensioner Bob Jordan describes what he uses his fibre broadband connection for


"The days of the mega IT contracts are over"
- Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude

"Indian bloggers are bantering about [IBM] changing its name to India Business Machines"
- Saritha Rai, silicon.com columnist, on rumours IBM has become the second biggest employer in India's IT and back-office services sector

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