Governance, Technology
and Complexity

The speed and scope of climate, environmental, technological and socio-economic change pose serious challenges to the problem-solving capacities of norms, institutions and legal systems world-wide. This is exacerbated by the fact that, due to globalisation and technological change, the world can be viewed as increasingly shaped by the behaviour of complex systems: emergence, connectivity, surprise, non-linear changes and poorly understood interactions across regions and sectors in society. 

One clear force of change is technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent autonomous systems will profoundly change the way we shape the planet in the near future. But all innovations come with unintended consequences. In this age of scale, speed and connectivity, these consequences can quickly shape not only our economies, but also the future of Earth’s life support system. We face not only unprecedented climatic and ecological conditions, but also the influence of increasingly intelligent autonomous systems with the ability to create new connections between the social, the ecological, and the technological.

Governing such complexity hence is one of the most difficult challenges facing decision-makers around the world today. The Beijer programme Governance, Technology and Complexity strives to combine important theoretical insights with novel and grounded empirical research. The emphasis is on how societal complexity interacts with complex systems of the biosphere, and on governance issues associated with these interactions.

The programme is being run in close collaboration between the Beijer Institute, Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University), Princeton University and other international collaborators. The ambition is to continue to identify opportunities for cross-fertilisation and build partnerships with scholars from different fields such as finance, law, economics, political economics, computer sciences, and risk studies.