Permissionless Innovation

Adam Thierer writes:


Experimentation with new technologies and business models should generally be permitted by default. Unless a compelling case can be made that a new invention will bring serious harm to society, innovation should be allowed to continue unabated, and problems, if they develop at all, can be addressed later.

Precautionary Principle

This is the belief that innovations should be curtailed or disallowed until their developers can demonstrate that they will not cause any harms to individuals, groups, specific entities, cultural norms, or various existing laws, norms, or traditions. The tension between these approaches dominates almost all modern technology policy debates.

The NZ I want is one that allows innovation without permission.

A good 10 point checklist is provided for policy makers:

  1. Articulate and defend permissionless innovation as the general policy default.
  2. Identify and remove barriers to entry and innovation.
  3. Protect freedom of speech and expression.
  4. Retain and expand immunities for intermediaries from liability associated with third-party uses.
  5. Rely on existing legal solutions and the common law to solve problems.
  6. Wait for insurance markets and competitive responses to develop.
  7. Push for industry self-regulation and best practices.
  8. Promote education and empowerment solutions, and be patient as social norms evolve to solve challenges.
  9. Adopt targeted, limited legal measures for truly hard problems.
  10. Evaluate and reevaluate policy decisions to ensure they pass a strict benefit-cost analysis.

Let’s have the Productivity Commission evaluate our current laws and policies against this checklist.

The only way as a country we get richer is with innovation.

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