Laws of Technology two

Pogues Three Reasons technology is misread, or Kranzberg's rules about techniques & technology

a critique | historically antecedent critics | what to do | animated examples of laws

1st: "It's human to underestimate the time it takes for fanciful technologies to arrive."

2nd: "When these tech changes do occur, they tend not to wipe out existing technologies."

3rd: "The crudeness" of early versions and the expensive cost of prototypical, though marketed products make many people wary of new gadgets.


books"You can still read a 200-year-old printed book . But the odds of being able to read one of today's e-books in two-hundred years, or even 20 is practically zero."

David Pogue "TechnoFiles," Scientific American, November 2010, p. 36.


Kranzberg’s Laws


Culture & Technology: A critique of this legacy of gadgetry.

  1. scattered among the gadgetry may be our loss of self worth, identity, & desire.
  2. we organize our lives around accumulating materials, experiencing pleasures & avoiding responsibility.
  3. burdened by a domestication of space, time, energy, & matter we have forgotten to nurture our craft.


Historical antecedents that have redefined our social and intellectual heritage:

Cultural changes:

Newton, you can never do one thing to solve a problem without creating another one!

Darwin, fitness is defined by doing things to alter or adjust to altered conditions.

Marx, your labor is not your own as it is influenced by & belongs to everyone.

Freud, unless you talk through your fears and fantasies people remain trapped in immature or inappropriate responses to even simple objects.

DeBeauvior, women are not objects to be acquired or placed into inhumane situations but are the engines of social change, who are self actualized persons deserving of respect and individual liberties.

Examine your responses to these interpretations of Kranzberg’s Laws and

Present an oral argument by fusing each author’s facts recognizing these laws.*

Final presentation answer this: can we adapt or are we doomed to continuously confusing our fantasies with reality by the inexorable power if accelerating technical change to deceive us?

A revised interpretation of Kranzberg's observations:


airplane roll


Pursell | Pacey–World | Postman | Tenner |Pacey–meaning| Eberhart | Snow | Kaku


* Kranzberg’s Laws are the intellectual property of the late Melvin Kranzberg, historian of technology and culture at Georgia Tech.

Tools of Toil: what to read.
Tools are historical building blocks of technology.