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The Second Law of Technology

Chanced upon a discussion of the “First Law of Technology” at a Technology and Innovation Strategies event on FaceBook:

“The First Law of Technology says that “with every change in technology that affects consumer behavior, we always overestimate the impact in the short term, but then underestimate the full impact over the long term.” The original dot-com era a decade ago was over hyped, but by now the Web has become a utility, increasingly available anywhere for any purpose. This is the Information Age, yet we’re just beginning to gather the information and understanding to know how it changes our lives.” — L. Gordon Crovitz, the former publisher of the Wall Street Journal

Really, this should have been called the “First Law of Technology” for economists. Nevertheless, I’m curious what the second law would look like? Perhaps it would be as following – taking my lead from the Second Law of Thermodynamics:

The Second Law of Technology states that consumer behavior within a global system which is not yet in equilibrium will favor products that result in the lowest profit margin for their producers. This is an expression of the universal law of increasing product commoditization. The latest casualty of the law has been microprocessor hardware, soon to be followed by EDA tools.

Seriously; Does anyone know the “official” Laws of Technology? Are there any? If so, are they akin to Putt’s Laws?  BTW – I think I know the true identity of Archibald Putt. Lucky me. <grin>

6 Responses to “The Second Law of Technology”

  1. Lou Covey Says:

    How’s this:
    The less intelligent the idea, and the person stating it, the more likely it will be funded.

    Found at :

  2. Araldia Says:

    The First Law as quoted by Crovitz is actually by Roy Amara, past president of The Institute for the Future, and this law is Amara’s Law, not the First Law of Technology (which could be any number of different laws coined by different people).

  3. John Blyler Says:

    Hi Dawn. Just visited the “Institute of the Future” website. It’s a rather pretentious name but seems legit. Plan to read more about Signtific as time permits.

    Would you send me a link to confirm Roy as the first one to mention the First Law? Tried to use the search function by it timed out. Cheers. — John

  4. Sean Murphy Says:

    John, I footnoted my research into the source when I quoted it as Amara’s Law at

    “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.”
    Roy Amara

    Note: also called “Amara’s Law” and often incorrectly attributed to Paul Saffo among others:
    So what exactly did Paul Saffo say and when did he say it?

    Improving on Quotage

    But I guess the wiki gnomes of Wikipedia have plucked it out see
    “totally nonnotable witticism by a nonnotable person.” Which I take strong exception to since it’s a fundamental tenet of technology forecasting that’s poorly appreciated by most folks.

  5. John Blyler Says:

    Thx, Sean! I had no idea there was so much history behind this “law.” Or so many misquotes.

  6. Are we too pressed for time to read? | Amanda's Blog Says:

    [...] J. (2008) JB’s Circuit, Second Law of Technology, online (accessed [...]

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