Institutions provide a measure of stability and insure within reasonable limits against unpredictable events or outcomes. As collective agreements that support social processes, rules and norms, institutions increase the speed at which things get done, lower the costs and improve the efficiency of our actions. Institutions help us resolve conflict and order our choices and actions, so that there is mutual benefit as we interact with others.
When we consider that new technologies may cause institutions to change as they adapt to our actions, we have to consider unexpected and unintended consequences that are very difficult to be identified beforehand. What happens when institutions are slow to change in the face of rapid technological advances? On the other hand, will we be missing on important outcomes and benefits if social structures don’t change fast enough to explore the opportunities enabled by our institutions?
This seminar will discuss the interaction between institutions and technology and investigate their roles in influencing change. Can we design institutions to enhance social order and exchange, or do institutions emerge or evolve? There are two distinct views we will explore: either institutions call for certain technological changes to occur or, conversely, new technologies lead to institutional change.
Registration is available online.