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Technology and society

Is technology good, bad, or neutral? Can technology be neutral at all? These are questions still puzzling many researchers.
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“Determinism inhibits the development of democratic controls on technology because it suggests that all interventions are futile. This is as true for science as it is for technology (Bijker, 1985; Collins and Pinch, 1993).” (Bijker, 1995, p. 281)

Kranzberg's laws

In 1986, Melvin Kranzberg published an article where he outlines the so-called Kranzberg's laws or "a series of truisms deriving from a longtime immersion in the study of the development of technology and its interactions with sociocultural change." (Kranzberg 1986: 544)
Kranzberg, Melvin. 1986. “Technology and History: ‘Kranzberg’s Laws.’” Technology and Culture 27 (3): 544–60. https://doi.org/10.2307/3105385.
Kranzberg's laws state the following:
  1. 1.
    "Technology is neither good or bad; nor is it neutral." “...technical developments frequently have environmental, social, and human consequences that go far beyond the immediate purposes of the technical devices and practices themselves, and the same” (Kranzberg, 1986, p. 545)
  2. 2.
    "Invention is the mother of necessity."
  3. 3.
    "Technology comes in packages, big and small."
  4. 4.
    "Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, nontechnical factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions.”
  5. 5.
    "All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant."
  6. 6.
    "Technology is a very human activity—and so is the history of technology."
(Kranzberg 1986)