Annual ACtioN Risk Meeting
It has been almost 70 years since the British Naval historian, Cyril Northcote Parkinson, posited Parkinson’s Law, which asserts that that the growth in the number of government civil servants was independent of the work they needed to perform. More recent research suggests that regulatory functions scale predictably across many different systems. For example, the number of regulatory genes in bacteria scales superlinearly with the total number of genes. The number of edits on open knowledge platforms, such as Wikipedia, also appear to scale superlinearly with the total number of articles. These findings stand in contrast to social organizations such as federal agencies and universities where the managers appear to scale sublinearly with the total number of employees. How these findings can inform thinking about regulation at the organization, industry, and national levels remains an unanswered question.
Complexity science can also offer insights into the role of regulation in promoting or retarding innovation and growth. Bottom-up search is essential to exploration, but some top-down regulation is often necessary to avoid chaos. There is value in identifying the minimum interventions needed to optimize search and discovery. Unlike most ideologically driven discussions of regulation, this meeting will explore epistemically grounded insights about regulation.
In addressing these issues, this meeting will convene investors, government regulators, organizational leaders, social scientists, and natural scientists.