Archive for category Books

CE#289: Macrowikinomics No. 7: The Rise of The Citizen Regulator

Why the old model of command and control regulation doesn’t work, and how increased transparency and public participation will replace it

…Some of the issues that challenge today’s regulators include the sclerotic pace of rule making, growing economic complexity, increasing international interdependency, the corrosive influence of “junk science” and industry lobbying, and a broadly insufficient capacity for effective oversight.

Arguably some of today’s troubles are self-inflicted. After dismantling or circumscribing centralized regulatory agencies in the 1980s and 1990s, many governments handed industry the power to police itself in areas ranging from toxic emissions to financial services. The thinking was that government regulation was too burdensome and costly, and the mechanics of updating it were clunky. Delegating rule making to industry bodies would make regulation more responsive to the needs of industries that were evolving quickly and becoming increasingly global in scope. Governments were to be the “regulators of last resort”—stepping in only after self-regulation was deemed to have failed.

The problem, in practice, is that most instances of industry self-regulation have deficiencies (like lax rules or inadequate enforcement) and governments (for the most part) have proven unable or unwilling to take swift action when market failures become evident. Indeed, after years of chronic underfunding, it should be no surprise that many regulatory agencies are ill equipped to pick up the slack, let alone confront novel challenges for which they have neither the resources nor the expertise…

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CE#260: What Technology Wants (Kevin Kelly)

 

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I’m breaking all the rules of Cool Tools here. I am going to review my own book, and it is not 100% toolish. But the book does have a lot to do with technology, and some readers may find it personally useful in helping them decide what kind technology to embrace. I promise to unleash this kind of self-promotion only once every ten years, so I’ll keep it interesting.

My book, What Technology Wants, presents an unconventional view of technology. I inspect the world through the eyes of technology as if it were an autonomous system. Here are some provocative things I see through its point of view:

* Technology is the most powerful force on the planet.
* Technology is an extension of evolutionary life, best thought of as the 7th kingdom of life.
* Humanity is our first technology; We are tools.
* Technology is selfish; as a system it exhibits its own urges and tendencies.
* Technologies cannot be banned, and none go extinct.
* The progression of technologies is inevitable.
* Because technologies are inevitable we can prepare to optimize their benefits.
* Technology is not neutral but serves as an overwhelming positive force in human culture.
* We have a moral obligation to increase technology because it increases opportunities.
* The origins of technology lie in the Big Bang.
* Technology preceded humans and will continue beyond us.
* Among the things technology wants are increased diversity, complexity, and beauty.
* Technology may be as much a reflection of the divine as nature is.
* Technology is an infinite game, a grand story we can align ourselves with for greater meaning.

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