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:
- Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral – it depends on the context.
- 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.
- Technology comes in packages, big and small – although technology destroys some jobs, it creates countless new ones.
- 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’.
- All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant.
- Technology is a very human activity. Many issues arise with technology because of unintended consequences when technology is applied or available at scale.