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Regulation of Emerging Technologies (STG-MA-M5-RET23)


Department STG
Course category 2nd Year
Course type Course
Academic year 2023-2024
Term 1ST SEM
Credits 5 (European Credits (EC))
Contact Francioni, Cino
  Course materials


This course presents an in-depth discussion of the future of policymaking. It explores the opportunities and challenges offered by new technologies, a set of innovations that presents itself as by definition transnational, fast-changing and potentially disruptive for legacy business models and regulatory frameworks. Students will learned to master technological innovation and develop skills in policy design and implementation, a challenges that requires a very high level of multi-disciplinary, creative thinking, alongside solid foundations in social science.
More specifically, we will discuss the so-called “pacing problem”, which calls for more agile institutions and adaptive regulation to ensure that public policy stands the test of time, and avoids rapid obsolescence. Besides speed, new technologies also create enormous challenges also in terms of monitoring and enforcement, as is now widely acknowledged especially in the case of digital technology: from competition policy to copyright enforcement and data protection, the past the decades have seen more failures than successes, perhaps also due to the fact that policymakers tried to reproduce old schemes in new contexts, such as cyberspace, which are made of a different matter and require carefully adapted policy strategies.
The future regulation of emerging technologies is made of flexible instruments and more cooperative, multi-stakeholder efforts in the design, implementation and enforcement of policies. Importantly, to regulate technology, governments will increasingly need to regulate “with” technology, a new world that some regulators have gradually started to explore.
Against this backdrop, this seminar discusses the tools available to policymakers and explores several cases, ranging from digital platforms and disinformation to crypto assets, Web3.0, the metaverse and the future of data-driven regulation. It explores mission-oriented innovation and “data for good” initiatives, which promises to revolutionise the way governments pursue their long-term policy objectives and the delivery of local and global public goods. Eventually, it discusses the creation of a “digital public space”, in which empowered individuals, stronger civil society, responsible businesses and smarter, more agile governments become essential pillars of a future resilient and tech-empowered society.
Students will learn how governments and international organisations are trying to cope with emerging technologies, and how their inherent transnational dimension affects the role of public and private players. They will be required to think how technology can help them become “agents of change” in the future data-immersive environments, and how to stimulate fast-changing innovation while keeping people, planet and prosperity at the centre. They will also be able to choose among a broad range of emerging technologies (from bioengineering to synthetic biology, precision medicine, or blockchain use cases) when drafting their final essay.

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Page last updated on 05 September 2023

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