Should law keep pace with technology?



Full title: “Should law keep pace with technology? Law as katechon“, co-authored by Wolfgang Drechsler & Vasilis Kostakis.

Summary: It is a commonly held belief that the law is unable to keep up with the fierce technological development and innovation that denotes our times. The current essay attempts to show that this characteristic of the law should not necessarily be considered as a disadvantage. Using the Biblical concept of the katechon, we argue that the law fulfills a katechontian function vis-à-vis technological progress. That is to say, its retarding effect might create positive spillovers which open spaces for debate, discussion, contestation, resistance, and reconstruction. The law as katechon offers participative opportunities for all stakeholders to debate, to quote Feenberg, “the variety of possible technologies and paths of progress among which we must choose”. So, the law, which seems obsolete, opens a space for people to choose, in the face of the “Californian ideology” that wants us to believe that there is no alternative and that we have no choice. The law as katechon can restore human (or at least, non-engineering) agency vis-à-vis fierce technological development. If there are any standards for good living-together that are not automatically superseded by technological development – and why should the latter be the case? – clearly this is a good thing.

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