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1 Law Innovation & Tech. 1 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/linovte1 and id is 1 raw text is: (2009) 1 Law, Innovation and Technology 1-73

Law, Innovation and Technology:
Before We Fast Forward-A Forum for Debate
Roger Brownsword and Han Somsen-
It has been claimed that improvements to the human condition tend to be the result of
technological innovation rather than legislative or regulatory intervention.' If there is
some truth in this view, it implies a rather sad commentary on the law. For, it implies
either that law is not the progressive and civilising social institution that we-or, at any
rate, some lawyers-take it to be, that the function and contribution of law is rather
modest, or that law is an institution that is under-performing. With the launch of this
journal, Law, Innovation and Technology, we intend to offer a forum that will afford the
opportunity not merely to correct this negative perception but far more importantly to
rectify whatever shortcomings there are in the actualities of legal and regulatory
performance. In particular, we wish to offer the floor to those who have ideas about how
law might engage more productively with technological innovation, whether by more
imaginative application of legal and regulatory resources, or by developing synergies
between legal and technological instruments of regulation, or by improving institutional
arrangements that shape the regulatory environment.
In recent decades, there seems to have been a striking acceleration in technological
innovation, one development building on another in the way that compound interest
accumulates. Famously, Pierre Baldi2 has claimed that:
We are witnessing a revolution brought about by scientific and technological advances, one in
which change occurs at an accelerated pace. By 1945 we had the ability to destroy life on a large
scale. By 2045, only a hundred years later, we ought to be able to create life from scratch, both
in real space and in cyberspace.
Director TELOS, King's College London.
Director TILT, Tilburg University.
SSee, eg, Matt Ridley We've Never Had it so Good-and it's All Thanks to Science' Guardian Life, 3 April
2 Pierre Baldi, The Shattered Self(MIT Press, 2002).
3  Ibid, 163.


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