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Minding the Machines: Preventing Technological Disasters by Mark Manion, William M. Evan

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Chapter 12. The Role of the Legal System in Technology Policy Decisions

 

“Justice can be attained only by the careful regard for fundamental facts, since justice is but truth in action.”

 
 --Justice Louis D. Brandeis

The case studies of technological disasters presented in Chapters 5, 8, and 11 raise questions about the ability of our legal system to cope successfully with the negative consequences of technology. The most general point to be made is that lawyers, judges, and politicians are rarely in a position to assess the risks of complex technology about which they make decisions. Technology policy is made by politicians who—although a large proportion may have a legal background—are nevertheless mostly innocent of technical matters. It is because ...

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