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Kranzberg's Laws

5 Pages 1260 Words

Mel Kranzberg, a leading historian of technology, postulated several “Laws” in regards to his field of expertise. These “Laws” regarding the history of technology are both well known and well respected. The objective of this paper is to explain the meaning behind two of these “Laws”, and to site examples of why they may be considered truths.

The first “Law” to be discussed states that, “Invention is the mother of necessity.” This may sound very familiar to many people, but don’t be fooled. There is a common saying that states, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, but these are not the same. Many people know the latter saying and its meaning. It quite simply states that if an individual or society needs something, they will come up with a solution to perform the desired task. In most cases this involves inventing a new device or technique. However, saying the reverse, “Invention is the mother of necessity”, is not as simple to understand, and requires a deeper of a thought process to comprehend its meaning.

In 1879, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. This was a practical invention, however it was not a necessity in 1879 to have light bulbs. Society would have maintained its functionality at the same rate if the light bulb were not invented. It is true this invention made a large impact, and it made everyday life simpler, and pushed society forward. The goal is not to take these attributes are not being taken away from the light bulb. The point being made is that the light bulb was not invented due to the fact that it was necessary to have electrical lighting, however if one were to take away the idea of a light bulb in today’s society imagine the consequences. For over one hundred years people have used light bulbs to make their lives easier. If this great invention of Mr. Edison were taken away it would have a huge impact on society. Everything would be affected. It would...

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