The Committee for Technological Innovation and Ethics (Komet) was established by the Swedish Government in august 2018 and operated until 31st of December 2022. Its mission was to help the Government to identify policy challenges, contribute to reducing uncertainty surrounding existing regulations, and accelerate policy development linked to new technologies.
The committee continuously delivered policy proposals to the government to improve the ability of Sweden to take advantage of the potential that comes with emerging technologies.
On horizontal level Komet addressed governance innovation in four dimensions: responsible technological development, collaborative public governance, regulatory development and facilitate testing. On vertical level, Komet focused on cross-sectorial issues and policy developing initiatives where new technology contributes to digital transformation, climate transition and health.
Updates and recent developments
Komet has developed a self-evaluation tool to help tech developers and innovators reflect and act based on ethical values and sustainability considerations. The Swedish version of the tool was launched in May 2021 and an English version was launched in January 2022. The tool helps users work with responsible tech in a structured approach.It can be useful throughout the innovation process and in the invention, development and distribution of new technology. It can also help users find new ways of using existing technologies and implement new technologies in an organisation.
A major project of 2021 addresses challenges involved with procedures for development and amendment of regulatory frameworks. The project includes knowledge-building and analysis of problems, obstacles, and opportunities. Komet published an international outlook and arranged a seminar on the topic. A central aspect is to propose new or modified working methods and adequate measures to ensure responsible use and employment of new technologies. The objective is to create a better synchronisation of technology and regulatory development.
To inspire public and private actors to collaborate and exchange knowledge, Komet has published a model to encourage more collaborative work-ways Förstå -Försöka – Förändra (understanding, testing and changing). Komet has also presented a model for considering agency responsibility from a holistic approach consisting of three components: sustainability and ethics, collaboration and learning, and legal certainty and effectiveness.
Komet sees testing as a rapid learning method for developing and adapting new technological solutions. In late 2020, Komet therefore presented two proposals to the Government. First, we proposed the development of a strategy and an associated action plan that promotes increased use of testing throughout the country and public sector. Secondly, the Government should appoint a committee with the remit to address regulatory barriers that inhibit testing. In 2021 and 2022 Komet has proposed regulatory testing regarding expansion of power grids in Sweden, in order to meet the needs that are required for a fossil free society. The Government appointed, in accordance with Komet’s proposal, the cadastral survey and the county administrative boards to collaborate on the matter. Furthermore Komet submitted proposals regarding expansion of solar parks and data management and sharing within the health sector.
During 2020 Komet started a test of our own. The aim was to learn if a more timely and dynamic evaluation process for new and existing regulation could be created. The basic idea was to test a bottom up approach by inviting different stakeholders to share and report their concerns on regulatory barriers. During the test, innovators in private and public sector was invited to tell us about self-experienced regulatory barriers and difficulties. Komet received more than 50 descriptions of difficulties related to regulation. For example, barriers connected to autonomous machines in forest industry or agriculture and extracting nutrients from waste streams. Several descriptions concerned patient generated health data, especially regarding sharing such data.
Collaborative understanding, testing and change
Agency responsibility from a holistic approach
Testing that involves structured experimentation as a learning methodology