Edited by Gary E. Marchant, Kenneth W. Abbott and Braden Allenby
Chapter 2: The dynamics of emerging technology systems
Asking whether current governance models and institutions are adequate to address the dynamics of emerging technology systems raises several underlying questions. In particular, if previous governance mechanisms were adequate, and one wants to argue that current ones may not be, one needs to demonstrate that either governance mechanisms have changed, or that there is something unique about today’s emerging technology systems that have, in some way, reduced the effectiveness of the applicable governance mechanisms. Law, regulation, and institutional structures – governance mechanisms, in some loose sense – indeed change all the time, but it is difficult to argue that they have, as they evolve, perversely become less rather than more effective in themselves.Indeed, the classic institutions of the Enlightenment – the state, urban systems, law and regulatory structures, international trade, human rights law, the laws of armed conflict, and much else – not only continue to dominate global governance patterns, but appear to continue to adapt to new developments relatively gracefully. Thus, for example, the laws governing conflict and war, which include the Hague Conventions, the Geneva Conventions, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, relevant international humanitarian law, and much else, continue to evolve as new technologies, such as cyber weapons, drones, or directed energy weapons, are developed.
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