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WSJ – The 6 Laws of Technology Everyone Should Know

Professor who summarized the impact of technology on society 30 years ago seems prescient now, in the age of smartphones and social media – “Three decades ago, a historian wrote six laws to explain society’s unease with the power and pervasiveness of technology. Though based on historical examples taken from the Cold War, the laws read as a cheat sheet for explaining our era of Facebook, Google, the iPhone and FOMO. You’ve probably never heard of these principles or their author, Melvin Kranzberg, a professor of the history of technology at Georgia Institute of Technology who died in 1995. What’s a bigger shame is that most of the innovators today, who are building the services and tools that have upended society, don’t know them, either. Fortunately, the laws have been passed down by a small group of technologists who say they have profoundly impacted their thinking. The text should serve as a foundation—something like a Hippocratic oath—for all people who build things…”

  1. ‘Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral..’
  2. ‘Invention is the mother of necessity…’
  3. ‘Technology comes in packages, big and small…
  4. ‘Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, nontechnical factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions…’
  5. ‘All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant…’
  6. ‘Technology is a very human activity…’

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