At the Niskanen Center, we believe innovation and technological progress are driving forces for economic growth, individual empowerment, and the betterment of humankind. But technological progress is never a foregone conclusion. A policy landscape that promotes regulatory forbearance and a healthy tolerance of disruption and innovation are key to ensuring economic growth and a flourishing ecosystem of opportunity.
As a result, we support a regulatory environment that fully accounts for the risks and benefits of emerging technologies — a critical wellspring for the productivity gains that are the engines of economic growth. Although we are skeptical of using 20th-century rules to govern 21st-century innovations, we believe that regulatory agencies can promote legitimacy, trust, and certainty in new technologies while shielding innovation and technological progress from the fear, distrust, and doubt employed by political reactionaries.
Thus, we support regulations that promote voluntary standards for autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things; we educate lawmakers on the need to refrain from new privacy laws governing artificial intelligence; we champion eliminating the bans on overland supersonic flight and regulatory oversight for genetic modification technologies; we embrace policies promoting the safe and effective integration of commercial drones into the national airspace; and we thoughtfully engage on a wide range of other technology issues, from commercial space and online free-speech issues, to digital due process and government surveillance.
At a time when the president of the United States views many of those same companies as his political enemies — and is groping around for any tool to punish them — it is disappointing that one of our leading policy thinkers wants to hand him the biggest club of all.