Governance and Technology Systems: The Challenge of Emerging Technologies

  • Braden R. Allenby
Part of the The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology book series (ELTE, volume 7)


Technological change at current scale is not a series of isolated events, but a movement towards new, locally stable, earth systems states. These states integrate natural, environmental, cultural, theological, institutional, financial, managerial, technological, built and human dimensions, and change worldviews, and cultural and moral values. While technologies do not define these integrated earth system states, except by convenience, they are an important destabilizing force across society, generating not just new opportunities but also continuing transition costs. Moreover, because technologies create such powerful comparative advantages as between cultures, those cultures that attempt to block technology will, all things equal, eventually be dominated by those that embrace it. The implications of these dynamics, taken together, is that technological evolution will be difficult, if not impossible, to stop or even manage effectively. How to respond ethically, rationally, and responsibly to technological change is, therefore, both a difficult research question and a serious practical challenge to our existing legal and governance institutions.


Complex adaptive technology systems Emerging technologies Institutional failure and emerging technologies Railroads 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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