Project Liberty Institute and CIGI Collaborate on Responsible Innovation in Disruptive Technologies

4 January 2024

The collision of technological transformation and global megatrends creates an imperative for evidence-based governance innovation, multi stakeholder dialogue, and action to steer innovation responsibly. A new collaborative policy brief by the Project Liberty Institute and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a leading think-tank based in Canada, kicks off further joint work in 2024 to support policymakers and business leaders in this vital task.

The policy brief “Responsible Innovation in Disruptive Digital and Data Technologies” is co-authored by CIGI’s President Paul Samson and its Managing Director Aaron Shull, together with Project Liberty Institute’s Director of Policy, Governance Innovation & Impact Paul Fehlinger and its former Executive Director Constance de Leusse. It offers a key outlook into major trends steering emerging digital technologies and explores how to ensure that new technologies positively benefit societies on the cusp of profound change. A joint op-ed by the authors calling for making responsible innovation a key priority on global policy and business agendas in 2024 was published in TechPolicy Press.

Several emerging digital breakthrough technologies are poised to profoundly disrupt and reshape our world in the coming years. While promising immense benefits, rapid advances in fields like artificial intelligence, quantum computing and neurotechnology also raise significant opportunities and risks. For instance, they could help address challenges related to issues like health, climate change and education access, but also exacerbate threats around disinformation, eroding democracy, or enhancing market power concentration.

To steer these potentially transformative innovations toward positive outcomes, the policy brief looks at seven key technologies that could disrupt multiple sectors in the next five years and four critical forces like macroeconomics and geopolitics that will drive societal and economic impacts. Given the rapid pace and scale of change in fields such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, neurotechnology, Web3, digital public infrastructure, extended reality, and biocomputing, the authors make the case for a “responsible innovation” approach focused on assessing and guiding technologies in ways that mitigate potential harms, equitably spread benefits, tackle inequalities, increase data agency and help address shared human challenges.

The publication recommends developing ways to better measure technological impacts and governance gaps. It advocates mechanisms to counterbalance negative market externalities and enhance dynamic innovation opportunities and a fair data economy globally. It calls for criteria on ethical tech investment, and for businesses to establish executive roles and processes focused on responsible innovation. Finally, it invites governments to provide more structured consultation channels to understand societal views on emerging technology trajectories.

Project Liberty’s Institute and CIGI will invite further analysis from leading interdisciplinary experts to assess key trends around disruptive technologies and corresponding governance gaps in 2024, to provide practical framing and in-depth perspectives to inform and support decision-makers and national and international governance processes.

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