Technological changes have an emergent nature and are therefore inevitable. Emergence is the co-ordination and ordering out of a disordered situation by “spontaneous” creation, in the absence of centralised institutions. For example: social conventions, language, ocks of birds, or ecological systems.
Although history remembers the winners, if that “winner” were not to exist someone else would have taken their place. A number of people developed lightbulbs,2 combustion engines,3 and powered aircraft at approximately the same time. While Google is the dominant search engine, Facebook the dominant social media platform and Uber the dominant ride sharing service, it could have equally been AltaVista, Myspace and Lyft or Biadu, Weibo and Didi.
Emergence should also inform the regulation of new technology. A regulator could not have stopped the emergence
of search engines, social media, or ride-sharing4 as technologies. But a regulator could stop a particular non-core practice or a particular company. Just as music peer-to-peer le sharing services Napster and Limewire were shut down but eventually Spotify and Apple Music emerged with music streaming.
Here’s the full edition of the Bulletin (Article p.16)