On the whiteboard that hangs in my office, I have a giant matrix of technology policy issues and the various policy “threat vectors” that might end up driving regulation of particular technologies or sectors. Along with my colleagues at the Mercatus Center’s Technology Policy Program, we constantly revise this list of policy priorities and simultaneously make an (obviously quite subjective) attempt to put some weights on the potential policy severity associated with each threat of intervention. The matrix looks like this: [Sorry about the small fonts. You can click on the image to make it easier to see.]
I use 5 general policy concerns when considering the likelihood of regulatory intervention in any given area. Those policy concerns are:
- privacy (reputation issues, fear of “profiling” & “discrimination,” amorphous psychological / cognitive harms);
- safety (health & physical safety or, alternatively, child safety and speech / cultural concerns);
- security (hacking, cybersecurity, law enforcement issues);
- economic disruption (automation, job dislocation, sectoral disruptions); and,
- intellectual property (copyright and patent issues).