After Marshall McLuhan’s death, his son, Eric McLuhan, completed a remaining work entitled Laws of Media. In it McLuhan lays down four laws as questions:
- What does it enhance or intensify?
- What does it render obsolete or replace?
- What does it retrieve that was previously obsolesced?
- What does it produce or become when pushed to an extreme?
Marshall McLuhan called this a “tetrad” and said it could be applied to any human artifact.
If we think about evolution and systems the tetrad can be applied to anything.
Consider this: you have an ecological system and a new organism evolves. How do you assess the impact? McLuhan’s tetrad is a perfect template for that analysis in the same way you would assess a human artifact.