Nikola Schmidt, Ondřej Dytrich
The following policy paper proposes a novel perspective on how large technical systems can enable global governance. We base our argument on several current scientific international collaborations (CERN, ITER) and postulate how their success could be extended to dual-use technologies in space, arguing that the normative frame not the technology itself is fundamental to how it is perceived. We propose that large technical systems, or “scientific machines”, have constitutive power to shape the system of global governance which can be turned to humanity’s advantage if normative frameworks are developed for them. The argument is exemplified on the case of Giant Laser Systems (GLS) such as the Breakthrough Initiatives’ Starshot program which not only may change radically the way stars are studied (and thus enable new scientific discoveries), but can also contribute to solving practical problems such as growing orbital debris and empower global actors to conceive security regimes concerning sensitive technologies in space. In conclusion, recommendations are articulated for a state such as the Czech Republic for which a pragmatic normative framework defined herein provides a useful perspective to look at governance of new technologies that ensures normatively desirable outcomes of sweeping technological change, and stimulate international scientific collaboration with positive spill-over effects to other domains of international cooperation.