Diagonal convergences: genetic testing, governance, and globalisation
Taylor and Francis
The actual and sometimes quite unexpected uses to which individuals put new technologies can undermine social norms. Governments therefore often try to control access to new technologies. Beyond that, the notion of Converging Technologies (CT) stands for government programmes that not only monitor and regulate a new technology but plan and steer the convergence of emerging technologies and their future potential uses. In the early 2000s the U.S. and Europe set up government programmes to induce and configure the convergence of the nano-, bio-, information- and cognitive sciences (NIBC) into technologies that will alter humanity’s ways of being. CT is a form of meta-level governance that aims to control not only individual technological developments but also the ways in which scientific and technical innovations might intersect and cause social and economic change. This paper treats CT as an especially ambitious and precarious instance of governance because it aims to predetermine future science, future technologies, their intersections and resulting societal changes. Drawing on examples of a convergence that is well underway, I aim to demonstrate some of the problems of such prospective policy-making and argue that it draws on an understanding of the power and means of national governments that is already technologically overcome. National or local CT policies represent what Foucault called governmentality, an overreliance on manageability, regarding the formation of new platforms for decision-making that is happening alongside and irrespective of such government programmes. This situation demands new ways of policy-making of certain social values are to be protected.
Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Knowing New Biotechnologies: Social Aspects of Technological Convergence, March 2015, available online: http://www.tandfebooks.com/isbn/9781315776781
Published in In Knowing New Biotechnologies: Social Aspects of Technological Convergence. pp. 105-121
Place of publication