• Gregory Nichols

Technology Consequence Mitigation

The current pace of technology development is unprecedented in human history. Consider that there were almost as many utility patents granted in 2015 with the United States Patent and Trade Office as there were in its first 93 years (approximately 300,000).

Recently, we released a white paper on Technology Consequence Mitigation, or TCqM, and wanted to discuss the topic in a little more depth. This is a framework that leverages four principles, know as the 4 C’s, to reduce the negative impact of emerging technology implementation. These principles developed over time out of responses to the past development of other technologies, many of which are now successfully integrated into society.

The 4 C's form the foundation of TCqM and are uniquely simple and elegant:

  • Communication - This is the hallmark of TCqM. This needs to be done early and often

  • Conversation - The dialogue that must occur to further the safe adoption of a technology

  • Community - Formal and informal groups of stakeholders that seek to understand the effects of a technology

  • Avoiding Catastrophe- Planning and theorizing potential crises that could easily be avoided

These principles work together to help offset the expected impact that emerging technologies will eventually create. When used effectively, they can be a powerful tool for navigating the change that is inextricably linked with new technologies.

All untested technologies share a certain level of uncertainty, thus allowing TCqM to be used in many different scenarios. TCqM works for virtually any organization but is best-suited for the following:

  • Research Institutes

  • Research & Development Laboratories

  • Government agencies that conduct R&D on emerging technologies

  • Government agencies that regulate technology

  • Private industry that develops or uses emerging technologies

TCqM can be applied by organizations that make or use emerging technologies.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of emerging technologies at any given time, and most of them have not been thoroughly evaluated for health, environmental, and safety risks, let alone for ethical, legal and social issues. Despite this, many of these technologies continue to be researched and placed into commercial use. It could take decades for appropriate standards and regulations to be developed and implemented that provide protection for emerging technologies. With this lag, it may seem impossible to mitigate any kind of risk, but it is feasible using Technology Consequence Mitigation, or TCqM.

TCqM is a novel framework developed by GP Nichols & Company that neatly packages all of the best lessons learned in technology development. Visit our website for more information on TCqM and the services GP Nichols & Company offers.

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