The rate that new technology is adopted is accelerating
In America, the use of the internet was adopted six times faster
than electricity had been when it became available a century earlier.
But greater innovation can bring greater risks
which require more control.
Many aspects of our lives are very heavily regulated，
things like food, medicines, cars, aviation.
例如食品 药品 汽车 航空
These are all things where if something goes wrong
it could be really bad, lots of people can die.
Too many rules can stifle creativity
while too few can lead to tragedy
There’s a very common perception
that regulation and innovation are sort of opposed to each other,
if you have more of one
then you’ll get less of the other.
So how can we maximise the benefits of innovation
while also reducing its risk?
Technology has delivered longer, safer and more interesting lives,
技术让我们的寿命更长 生活更安全 更有趣味
but innovation is always a journey into the unknown.
When you have a new technology,
it’s going to have unexpected consequences;
it’s going to be used in unanticipated ways.
Some of those will be good, some of them could be harmful.
So this is where regulators step in.
Most key technologies are heavily regulated–
cars, aviation, health care, finance.
汽车 航空 医疗 金融
The difficulty is that technology moves quickly, regulators move slowly.
但困难在于 技术发展迅速 监管机构行事缓慢
So finding the right way to regulate a technology
is always very difficult.
It’s a sort of balancing act.
The challenge of balancing innovation and risk
is seen in the tantalising progress of one particular technology–
I think it’s a very interesting technology that, you know,
potentially could make a big difference in the future.
The trouble is, it doesn’t quite work yet.
Several tech companies are racing to develop autonomous vehicles
Google’s sister company, Waymo, is one of the leaders
It runs a fleet of fully driverless cars
already out on public roads.
In October 2020,
we launched our first commercial product in Arizona.
So if you were to fly into Chandler, Arizona,
and download the Waymo app, you can hop into a fully autonomous car
下载Waymo app 你就能坐上一辆全自动驾驶汽车了
You get into the car, buckle up,
hit a button of where you want to go and you’re on the road
Our Waymo driver never gets tired, never gets distracted,
…is never grumpy
Nearly 40,000 people die
and millions are injured every year on America’s roads
So putting driverless cars on public highways
could present a huge risk.
Can we build a vehicle that can drive in ordinary traffic
with other road users, with cyclists,
with pedestrians, with other cars?
There are humans that can’t do that
The challenge is getting these vehicles to work
not in a controlled environment, in the everyday world
which is a complex and unpredictable place
Waymo chose Chandler as its test site
because Arizona state regulations gave it
greater freedom to experiment.
Arizona has made an intentional decision
to become the centre of innovation for autonomous vehicles
We helped to pass… I meant (we) worked hand-in-hand with policymakers,
and other stakeholders to really get the legislation passed,
and so the current regulatory atmosphere
has been one that we’ve been able to help shape and help inform.
Uber, another company racing to develop autonomous vehicles
began testing in nearby Tempe
to take advantage of Arizona’s regulatory regime.
But the regulations were thrust into the spotlight.
One Sunday night in March 2018…
“…seriously hurt in a crash with a self-driving Uber vehicle…”
Elaine Herzberg was killed as she crossed a road in Tempe
by a test car belonging to Uber.
A safety driver was on board at the time,
but failed to prevent the collision.
The vision system couldn’t figure out what was happening,
didn’t put on the brakes and hit her.
And some people have said that, you know,
had there been a stricter regulatory regime around these vehicles,
then this accident wouldn’t have happened.
Following the accident, Arizona immediately suspended
any further testing of Uber’s autonomous vehicles.
Waymo continue to operate in Chandler,
and insists that its technology is safe.
We’ve done 20m miles of testing on public roads,
and just recently, we released a safety paper
for the public, for academics and policymakers
这样大众 学术科研人员 政策制定者
to really look at our safety outcomes.
We looked at 6m of our autonomous miles,
and we found that we had only very minor collisions
in those 6m miles of driving.
The proof is in the numbers
that we are a very safe autonomous vehicle service.
For self-driving cars and their regulators,
the biggest hurdle may not be safety but public opinion.
The evidence so far is that autonomous cars are very safe drivers.
So about 40,000 people die on the roads every year in America, for example.
那么 举例来说 在美国每年大约有4万人死于交通事故
If you make an autonomous car a thousand times safer,
you’re still going to have 40 people being killed
by autonomous vehicles every year.
Every one is going to be a newspaper headline,
you know, “person killed by robot car.”
While too little regulation can be risky,
too much can be bad for business.
And those in the know claim this is the case
with another emerging technology in America — drones
Two big dangers with drones.
One is they’ll fall on your head and kill you;
一是 它们会掉下来砸中你的脑袋 致你死亡
the other is they’ll crash into some other flying vehicle
and make that crash.
And so clearly, this is not something where you can just have a free-for-all,
let people do whatever they like.
You’ve got to have rules.
Since 1958, the body that sets those rules in America
has been the Federal Aviation Administration.
Aviation for 100 years has involved
carrying people somewhere in the air on a giant metal structure
with thousands of gallons of fuel strapped underneath.
Along came drones,
I think it’s fair to say
the regulators didn’t know what to do with that
because their entire history and structure
has been focused on protecting people on board an aircraft
by creating very high standards
both for the pilot as well as for the aircraft.
The FAA’s reaction was to make flying drones
commercially very hard indeed
Initially, if you wanted to fly a drone
in order to take pictures of a property that was being sold
or survey a building site,
you couldn’t do it
unless you had a pilot’s licence.
Many people felt that this rule was sort of silly.
It was imposing the rules for the old technology on the new technology.
The FAA updated its regulations in 2016
but some argue that the rules are still lagging behind,
and stopping drones from fulfilling their full potential.
The next frontier for drones and their regulation
really is what’s called Beyond Visual Line of Sight,
and this would enable drones to fly unlimited distance autonomously.
You can’t gain much value out of delivering a package
only a couple thousand feet, you could just walk it over there or drive it.
If you’re going to do package delivery with the drone,
you’re going to want to fly a few miles.
US drone company Wing is already doing this
but not at its base in California.
More than 7,000 miles away, in Logan, Australia…
Wing went to Australia for a number of reasons.
The regulator in Australia has very high safety standards
and we knew that we would be able to work with them
to ensure that our operations were reviewed carefully
and they would be safe.
And now we’re doing thousands of deliveries a week to customers.
Beyond Line of Sight is really necessary
for operations to scale over time.
Some claim the FAA has driven these innovations overseas.
Behind the scenes, there’s tremendous frustration
that the FAA is not moving fast enough.
Other countries are ahead.
For something as serious and obviously regulated as aviation
you just know that rules are coming.
It’s very difficult to convince investors
to put their money in to something when literally the government
is telling you this is not currently permitted
and we don’t know when we’re going to have a set of rules.
Letting large numbers of drones loose in already crowded airspace
is definitely a safety challenge.
The technology exists today
to allow us and others to operate beyond line of sight
and the regulatory environment will have to adapt
to allow that to happen.
What we have in the United States so far
is basically no risk tolerance.
We need to figure out ways to promote their integration into society
rather than dwelling in these overly conservative traditional safety frameworks
that don’t really apply to these types of risks.
If too much regulation can smother innovation
and too little can be dangerous，
is there a middle ground?
There are times when regulation and innovation go hand in hand,
so they’re not always enemies.
What it’s all about is having the right kind of regulation
and having smart regulation.
And a really interesting example of that is what we’ve seen recently
in financial services with so-called sandbox regulation.
The British financial-technology sector
was an early adopter of sandbox regulation.
A sandbox is a place where kids can play with buckets and spades and sand and mud,
沙盒是孩子们可以玩水桶 铁锹 沙子和泥土的地方
and they can make a mess
and it’s fine to make a mess in the sandbox.
You wouldn’t let them do that on the living-room floor
but a sandbox is a controlled, closed environment
where making a mess is allowed.
Keeping innovation in a controlled environment
is sensible in the fast-moving financial sector.
If a bank fails or something goes wrong,
lots of people lose lots of money
and so the sandbox lets you have the best of both worlds.
It means that there’s close regulatory supervision
but there’s also lots and lots of scope for innovation.
The sandbox approach helped London become a world-leader in financial technology,
a sector worth more than £6bn to the UK economy.
And it is now being adopted for another emerging technology that’s on the move–
electric passenger flight, known as eVTOL.
The Civil Aviation Authority regulates Britain’s airspace
We see significant potential for eVTOL in the near term
我们认为 在短期内 电动垂直起降技术
in terms of adapting existing helicopter markets.
But also in the long term, it could potentially play a role
in connecting up different parts of the country.
eVTOL aircraft are similar to drones powered by motors
that run on batteries but big enough to carry passengers.
使用电池 但足够大 可以搭载乘客
Vertical Aerospace in Bristol has already flown a prototype.
We’re looking at decarbonisation of aerospace
which has historically been a very polluting environment
and moving more towards battery power
taking energy from renewable sources.
Vertical Aerospace is part of a consortium of companies
in a regulatory sandbox working with the Civil Aviation Authority.
Collaboration is really important
so that we can ensure that we have an ecosystem
ready to accept an aircraft
when it actually goes into full-scale production.
We don’t have to choose between innovation and regulation.
If we engage with someone at an early design stage or a conceptual stage,
then what we’re helping them to do
is build a product that can actually be regulated
rather than coming in at the end and effectively kicking it into touch.
Autonomous vehicles, drones, eVTOL aircraft,
自动驾驶汽车 无人机 电动垂直起降飞机
three new technologies with the potential to deliver great benefits,
but also real dangers.
Regulation needs to be used to manage the risks
while also maximising potential rewards.
It’s tempting to see regulation and innovation as a sort of seesaw
when one of them goes up, the other one goes down.
But actually, the reality is more complex than that
and there ARE ways that you can have safe, sensible regulations
and still have lots of innovation.
I am Tom Standage, deputy editor of The Economist,
我是Tom Standage 《经济学人》的副编辑
and the editor of The World Ahead.
To read more of our future-gazing coverage, click on the link.
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