Report: The Governance of Emerging Disruptive Technologies

A special issue of the "Regulation and Governance" journal on the "Governance of Emerging Disruptive Technologies" brought the authors together for a private two-day workshop at the Erasmus University. 

Recent emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, autonomous weapon systems, blockchain technology, ridesharing and the Internet of things have triggered changes that are threatening existing markets and social and political orders. The heightened pace of these emerging technological innovations poses serious challenges to governments, which must cope with the disruptive speed and scope of the transformations occurring in many areas of social life. 

While these new technologies offer opportunities for improvements to economic efficiency and quality of life, they also generate many unexpected consequences and pose new forms of risks. Government responses to disruptive technologies must consider citizen’s safety, privacy, and security as well as protection of their livelihood and health. But regulating and governing these technologies is challenging due to the high level of technological and economic uncertainty that surrounds them and their deployment. This situation is aggravated in most instances as the beneficiaries of these technologies (the investors, producers and users) do not bear the costs of their risks, transferring them instead to the society at large or to governments. And this situation is made even more difficult as many traditional policy tools (such as regulations, taxes, and subsidies) may not be as effective in new areas as in more established sectors because their use requires more information and stability than is often available to governments as new technologies and business models proliferate. 

To enhance the benefits from these novel technologies while minimizing the adverse risks they pose, governments around the world need to better understand the scope and depth of the risks posed and design and establish regulatory and governance structures which effectively deal with these challenges.  

The workshop addressed these and other relevant aspects of governing emerging disruptive technologies including policy design strategies for facilitating positive socio-technical transitions and policy capacity building to address the challenges these technologies bring. A total of 17 authors came to Rotterdam to present their research and provide each other with valuable feedback. At the end of the first day the group enjoyed an informal dinner at the Aloha restaurant. Those who were interested joined a trip to The Hague at the end of the second day. 

Martin de Jong & Araz Taeihagh - Partnership with the National University of Singapore

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