Circumventing the Paradox of Regulating Emerging Technologies

Walter Valdivia

New technologies create, at once, the need for regulation and resistance to it within regulatory agencies. Each bureaucracy is bound by law to protect public health and the environment but also seeks to avoid the risks of expanding the scope of its authority and having to mediate the concomitant political controversies. Hence, the paradox of regulating emerging technologies.

As part of a set of measures to address this paradox, we propose an advisory board for the regulation of emerging technologies, fashioned after boundary organization such as the National Science Advisory Board for Biosafety and Biosecurity. The regulatory Board, composed by distinguished experts in the relevant disciplines, would issue non-binding authoritative recommendations for regulating specific aspects or functions of the new technologies and assign them to specific agencies. Being non-compulsory and having an inclusive membership, its recommendations could help to legitimize administrative action and reconcile the political tensions inherent to regulation.