Program on Governance of Emerging Technologies

Exploring innovative governance models for emerging technologies transforming our world

ASU Regents’ Professor Gary Marchant, Faculty Director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, is an internationally renowned lecturer in emerging technologies, who also testifies before Congressional subcommittees and educates judges around the country.
Emerging technologies – including biotechnology, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, neuroscience, and robotics – are rapidly altering all aspects of our lives and society. These technologies promise enormous benefits, but also have the potential for novel risks, not just in the domain of traditional environmental, health, and safety risks, but also broader privacy, ethical, and socio-economic risks and impacts. This complexity, combined with the rapid pace of development of these technologies, challenges and often exceeds the capabilities of traditional government regulation.
The Program on Governance of Emerging Technologies seeks to identify, analyze, and recommend innovative approaches that can ensure the benefits while managing the risks and impacts of emerging technologies. Much of the work involves exploring so-called “soft law” measures such as voluntary programs, private standards, codes of practice or conduct, and partnership programs to supplement traditional government regulation in the oversight of emerging technologies.
Noteworthy activities include:
·         The Pacing Project, an ongoing venture with the ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics to research innovative solutions to the “pacing problem” – the tendency of emerging technologies to advance much faster than the regulations and policies governing them.
·         An annual conference on Governance of Emerging Technologies: Law, Ethics and Policy, launched in May 2013.
·         Soft Law Governance of Nanotechnology is an ongoing project examining the role of soft law mechanisms and international harmonization in the governance of nanotechnology.