Exploring the Law and Technology Relationship

There is a close relationship between law and technology. More specifically, there is a symbiotic relationship between law and human activities that, using the findings of science, create new resources, tools, devices, equipments with the goal of improving the living conditions of man himself.


The meaning of the relationship between law and technology is twofold. On one side the law is called upon to regulate technology, on the other the law employs technologies in order to pursue its own goals. Consequences: increasingly the law has to struggle in order to catch up with the changes brought about by new technologies, scoring only modest results when it cames to evaluate how the law handle effectively the problem that it meant to address. Since they pursue goals using the tecnologies available  at the time when they have been conceived,  legal rules are strongly interwined with the tecnhnologies that have eased and made possible their initial conception. A change in technology may render obsolete both the rules conceived for the regulation of the old technology and the rules which were relying on the old technology in order to accomplish goals pursued by the law.


Because technologies are the product of the advancement of science, in order to deepen the understanding of the relationship between law and technology it is inevitable to establish a dialogue between  law and other disciplines (biology, medicine, neuroscience, computer science, engineering, economics, statistics, philosophy, sociology, history). Consequences: it is important to build shared taxonomies, or at least  to be aware of the peculiarities of the lexicons of the various sciences, others than that that one possesses; it is not possible to investigate the relationship between law and technology without trying to understand the logic and the ways in which the technology under examination works; it is essential to conceive instruments of knowledge representation designed to ease and quicken the understanding of the main features of one field of knowledge to laypersons and particularly to scholars and researchers who work in other scientific sectors; the education and training of a lawyer should encourage the acquisition of habits of mind which could advance the ability to master different knowledge and transversal disciplinary approaches, while the lawyer should refrain from assuming an implicit  vantage point or aura of superiority when approaching or interacting with experts of other disciplines.


In the last decades, the different fields of knowledge have expanded tremendously in terms of quantity and quality: new disciplines have emerged while traditional disciplines have expanded enourmously their knowledge base.  The convergence of sciences has spurred the development of increasingly sophisticated technologies, for example, in medical diagnosis, the advent of machines such as the CAT scanners and ecographs was made possible by the the joint work of physicians, physicists, computer scientists and engineers.  Talking to each other is a conditio sine qua non among sciences. The law could serve as a “bridge” between different knowledge and disciplines. In many ways, lawyers are best equipped to promote a dialogue among different sciences and knowledge (eg, biology and philosophy) as a prerequisite to facilitate the production of new knowledge.