Scared of the dusk

We should be working on alternatives to regulation

Next to the fact that the amount and complexity of regulation is increasing, there is a risk that it is getting less effective too, making the problem exponentially bigger. If we, as a citizen or employee in a company have more ways to do things and options to consider every day because of the rapid pace the world is developing. Then we need new rules every day too to clarify which of our options are right, and what possible actions are wrong. However, it is currently impossible to keep up with making rules for everything that is possible. So how do we make sure we still do the right thing even when we don’t know what the right thing is?

It is probably safe to say that the grey area between what is allowed (white) and what is not (black) is expanding rapidly. All the while we are trying frantically to close the gap by developing new regulation but we are simply not keeping up. We see people and organisations struggle with this lack of clarity on the one hand, and opportunistically using it for their own advantage on the other. Public opinion is demanding from regulators to be stricter with those that violate the spirit of the law, but the culprits can get away with it because they did not violate the letter of the law.

More possibilities, more rules?
More possibilities more rules?

We are trying hard to kill the grey area, but we cannot. Maybe even to the contrary. Rules are often designed based on specific situations or incidents, but may be totally unsuitable in another context. For example, a rule written for printed media might not be effective for online media. And regulation designed to govern medical diagnoses might not be suitable if this diagnosis is (partly) based on an algorithm. As rules are by definition static descriptions of what you have todo or are not allowed to do, they can be unsuitable or even harmful in situations where what we can do is constantly changing.





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