Regulating Technology: The Limits of Regulatory Capitalism

Artificial Intelligence, Law & Trust Lecture Series
03/07/2018 - 10:30

Predictions about the collapse of capitalism have been with us for a long time, with technology playing a central role in various collapse scenarios. The Doomsday Clock started by the Atomic Scientists of Chicago in 1947 was set by them at seven minutes to midnight, midnight being the moment of doomsday. It is currently set at two minutes to midnight, the closest it has ever been to midnight. New riders of the apocalypse continue to be identified – climate change, biotechnology and runaway artificial intelligence are all recent examples.  World systems modelling, whether of capitalism or ecological systems, also point in the direction of a collapse sometime later this century.
The scholarship around regulation, which has grown dramatically in the last few decades, offers an alternative to warnings of doomsday endings for capitalism.  Polycentric, multilevel, nodal, networked, smart and responsive theories of regulation suggest a picture of a resilient and adaptive capitalism capable of harnessing and uplifting the resources and capacities of state and non-state actors to solve particular problems.  Regulatory capitalism, so the general argument runs, is capable of delivering contextual solutions to particular problems and, more importantly, of improving upon those solutions through processes of learning, experimentation, diffusion and modelling.  Ultimately, regulatory capitalism can produce an excellence in regulatory solutions that an earlier analysis of capitalism, which at its core relied on a dialectical stasis, simply could not have foreseen.

In this seminar - which is part of the Artificial Intelligence, Law & Trust Lecture Series organized by the LATT (Law, Artificial Intellinge, Technology and Trust) Research - Prof. Peter Drahos (EUI, Fiesole), will evaluate the argument that regulatory capitalism increases the prospect of avoiding doomsday scenarios.

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