Emerging technology is creating huge opportunities, but presents a challenge to existing regulatory systems. In response, we are seeing the rise of ‘anticipatory regulation’ approaches - with methods such as sandboxes, demonstrators, testbeds proliferating across the world.
Our working model suggests three different modes of regulation are appearing - advisory, adaptive and anticipatory. These three modes vary in their goal, approach and who they involve, but all demonstrate a more proactive, engaged role for regulators in the innovation process.
For anticipatory approaches - the most future-facing and proactive of all three modes - regulators will need to work closely with others to achieve their goals. They will also need to build new capacities in areas such as horizon scanning and foresight. These new ways of working may require new regulatory institutions that are able to facilitate the need for greater collective action around regulation.
We are suggesting a more active approach to improving regulation in the UK. The Government should incentivise and support UK regulators to test, experiment and adopt new methods for regulating emerging technologies, for example, by setting up an Innovation fund.