Here’s an interesting article on the six laws written by Melvin Kranzberg, a professor of the history of technology at Georgia Institute of Technology who died in 1995. His six laws, summarized in this WSJ article, are:

  1. Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral – it depends on the context.
  2. Invention is the mother of necessity – this clever play on the more classical necessity is the mother of invention, is about how any one technological breakthrough depends on many others.
  3. Technology comes in packages, big and small – although technology destroys some jobs, it creates countless new ones.
  4. Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, nontechnical factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions – disclosures of who paid for political ads for example, are required on TV, radio but not on FB because the FEC in 2006 wanted a ‘light touch’.
  5. All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant.
  6. Technology is a very human activity. Many issues arise with technology because of unintended consequences when technology is applied or available at scale.

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