Einstein didn’t say technology would create 'generation of idiots'

30 July 2021
What was claimed

Albert Einstein said technology would one day “surpass our human interaction” and create “a generation of idiots”.

Our verdict

There’s no record of him ever saying this. The first iterations of this quote appear to have been posted online in 2012.

A post on Facebook, shared hundreds of times, attributes a quote stating “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” to Albert Einstein. 

There is no evidence that he ever said this. According to Quote Investigator—a site that sources quotes circulating online—the earliest versions of this post appeared online in 2012.  

In an article about the same quote, US fact checking service PolitiFact found no record of this quote in a definitive collection of the scientist's words. 

Both PolitiFact and fellow fact checking service Snopes have pointed out that a quote bearing some resemblance to the Facebook post appears in the 1995 film Powder, with a character played by Jeff Goldblum saying: "It’s become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity." 

Another character, played by Sean Patrick Flanery, responds "Albert Einstein."

Posts in which quotes are misattributed to public figures are relatively common on social media, and often reach very large audiences. We have recently checked quotes misattributed to Sir David Attenborough and Boris Johnson

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