Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

The Legal Challenges of Robotics (2): Are robots exceptional?

Longevity Cook Book

On “How We Became Post-Human”

Bitcoin and Science: DNA is the Original Decentralized System

Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion

Technoprogressive Declaration - Transvision 2014


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

Giulio Prisco on 'Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion' (Nov 26, 2014)

Rick Searle on 'Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion' (Nov 25, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Does Religion Cause More Harm than Good? Brits Say Yes. Here’s Why They May be Right.' (Nov 25, 2014)

Peter Wicks on 'Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion' (Nov 25, 2014)

Stefano Vaj on 'Technoprogressive Declaration - Transvision 2014' (Nov 25, 2014)

Giulio Prisco on 'Summa Technologiae, Or Why The Trouble With Science Is Religion' (Nov 25, 2014)

instamatic on 'Pastor-Turned-Atheist Coaches Secular Church Start-Ups' (Nov 25, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Why Running Simulations May Mean the End is Near
Nov 3, 2014
(20979) Hits
(15) Comments

Does Religion Cause More Harm than Good? Brits Say Yes. Here’s Why They May be Right.
Nov 18, 2014
(19666) Hits
(2) Comments

Decentralized Money: Bitcoin 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0
Nov 10, 2014
(8789) Hits
(1) Comments

Psychological Harms of Bible-Believing Christianity
Nov 2, 2014
(6864) Hits
(5) Comments



IEET > Security > Biosecurity > Cyber > Eco-gov > SciTech > Rights > Life > Vision > Technoprogressivism > Affiliate Scholar > Seth Baum

Print Email permalink (0) Comments (3260) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Seven Reasons For Integrated Emerging Technologies Governance


Seth Baum
By Seth Baum
Ethical Technology

Posted: Jan 23, 2013

This past December I was at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis. Several sessions focused on emerging technologies governance. Each presentation nominally focused on one technology, mainly synthetic biology and nanotechnology. But most of the ideas discussed applied equally well to any emerging technology.

One conclusion is that it would be much more efficient and effective to have a single governance regime covering all emerging technologies. Right now there are governance programs for just a handful of technologies that do not come close to covering all the important benefits and risks. A single regime would cover all the technologies and all the issues they pose. A similar conclusion is also reached in a recent law journal paper Minimizing global catastrophic and existential risks from emerging technologies through international law, written by my Global Catastrophic Risk Institute colleague Grant Wilson, which he summarized at IEET in Emerging technologies: Should they be internationally regulated?

Here are seven interrelated reasons to have one single integrated emerging technologies governance regime, covering all emerging technologies together, instead of a piecemeal approach of several regimes each covering one technology. This list is my own, but many of the items follow from conversation at the Society for Risk Analysis conference.

Forecasting. Effective emerging technologies governance requires some idea of which technologies could emerge. However, future technologies are difficult to forecast. The challenge of technological forecasting is a rich field of study, even with its own journal, Technological Forecasting & Social Change. All technological forecasting shares some common themes, in particular the fact that new technologies come into existence through some sort of research and development process. An integrated governance regime could have one quality forecasting operation and apply it to all technologies.

Politics. All emerging technologies face some similar political challenges. One is the mix of interest groups: NGOs concerned with preventing technological disasters, universities interested in protecting academic freedom, industry seeking competitive advantage, and labs seeking funding. Another is the degree to which legislators are conversant in science and technology – see discussion here. A third challenge is the across-the-board challenge of passing legislation. An integrated governance regime could handle all of these challenges once for every emerging technology.

Relationships: Effective emerging technologies governance depends on productive relationships between the entities involved. This includes relationships between government, industry, academia, NGOs, think tanks, and other interested parties. Each technology will need some unique relationships, but the process for forming and harnessing them is similar for each technology.

Dual-use technology: Any governance regime should weigh the possible benefits of the activity to be regulated against the possible harms. Most emerging technologies are dual-use in the sense that they could be used for both benefit and harm. For example, synthetic biology could be used to synthesize new vaccines or new pathogens. The evaluation of dual uses is similar for any given technology, including questions of if and when to apply a precautionary principle. An integrated governance regime could have expertise on evaluating dual-use technologies and apply this expertise to each emerging technology.

Risk driven by research and development. Protecting society from risks is a core role for governance regimes. Each emerging technology poses a different risk: novel pathogens for synthetic biology, novel toxics for nanotechnology, etc. However for each technology, the risks are driven by a research and development process. This puts emerging technologies risks in its own category. In contrast, environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss are driven by the ordinary actions of ordinary people worldwide. And so while environmental governance could focus on these ordinary actions, emerging technologies governance must focus on very specific actions by very the specific people involved in research and development. An integrated governance regime could have capabilities for engaging research and development in general, capabilities that can be leveraged for each emerging technology.

Lab transparency. Effective emerging technologies governance requires knowing which labs are developing which technologies, in particular to help avoid the development of risky technologies. However, the labs that develop each of the various emerging technologies all face similar pressures regarding transparency. By keeping their technologies secret, labs can be first to publish, patent, or enter markets. Hiding technologies also thwarts would-be regulators from restricting their activities. An integrated governance regime could have one standard for lab transparency and one protocol for monitoring labs while protecting their proprietary interests.

Whistleblowing. Imagine you are an emerging technologies researcher and you are concerned about the risks your technology could pose. Now imagine that you observe someone else in your lab developing a technology you believe to pose great risks. You want to stop it, but your lab doesn’t want you to speak up. You are in a classic whistleblower situation. All emerging technologies face this, and face it in similar research and development circumstances. An integrated governance regime could have one whistleblowing policy and one outreach program for all emerging technologies.


Seth Baum(http://sethbaum.com) is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Global Catastrophic Risk Institute (http://gcrinstitute.org). He received a PhD in Geography from Pennsylvania State University and was recently a post-doc with Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.
Print Email permalink (0) Comments (3261) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Education For All

Previous entry: SIRI RISING: The Inside Story Of Siri’s Origins—And Why She Could Overshadow The iPhone

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376