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Scientific Foresight (STOA)

The Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) carries out interdisciplinary research and provides strategic advice in the field of science and technology options assessment and scientific foresight. It undertakes in-depth studies and organises workshops on developments in these fields, and it hosts the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH), a platform to promote networking, training and knowledge sharing between the EP, the scientific community and the media. All this work is carried out under the guidance of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), composed of 25 MEPs nominated by nine EP Committees. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the EP.
Scientific Foresight (STOA) has written 205 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

STOA Panel gears up for the new parliamentary term

During the latest plenary session in Strasbourg, on 24 October, MEPs appointed to the European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) held their first meeting to elect a Chair and two Vice-Chairs for the first half of the 9th parliamentary term. Continue reading

What if technologies replaced humans in elderly care? [Science and Technology podcast]

Europeans are ageing. In 2016, there were 3.3 people of working-age for each citizen over 65 years. By 2070, this will fall to only two. As the population lives longer, our care needs grow, but fewer people will be available to deliver them. Could assistive technologies (ATs) help us to meet the challenges of elderly care? Continue reading

International research collaboration – a key feature of the new global science landscape

The phenomenal growth in collaboration between scientists and institutions located in different countries began 30 years ago, when the bipolar world, in which most internationally active scientists belonged either to the Soviet block or to Western countries, collapsed. Continue reading

What if Libra disrupted the financial system? [Science and Technology podcast]

As of 2020, Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra promises to connect everybody to the global, digital world of banking. The introduction of a privately governed currency could fundamentally challenge the current EU financial framework, conflict with EU law and tax requirements, and violate consumer rights. Continue reading

What if we didn’t need cows for our beef? [Science and Technology podcast]

With the help of cells from a single cow, scientists can produce 175 million hamburgers. When fully commercialised, this type of technology could greatly impact the way we produce and consume meat. Continue reading

What if policy anticipated advances in science and technology? [Science and Technology podcast]

What if blockchain revolutionised voting? What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you? And what if we genetically engineered an entire species? Continue reading

Artificial intelligence, machine learning & automation: what future for journalism?

Some 70 enthusiastic young journalists from all over the EU met in Strasbourg from 4 to 7 June 2019, for the first edition of the European Youth Science and Media Days (#eysmd2019) – the summer school on ‘Artificial intelligence and journalism’ organised by the European Science-Media Hub (ESMH/STOA) in cooperation with the European Youth Press network of media-makers (EYP). Continue reading

How can technology and the arts work together to benefit society?

Technology and the arts are generally considered as distinct sectors of contemporary society, albeit with some important links akin to those between commercial, industrial and legal sectors. However, technology and the arts have a long and special relationship that permeates all stages of human development. Continue reading

Using technology to help those in need

As a result of conflict and protracted crises, 200 million people are currently in need of international humanitarian assistance around the world. Providing timely and adequate assistance to everyone who needs it is an increasingly challenging task, due to the growing needs of people and the complex nature of the crises. Continue reading

Is algorithmic transparency and accountability necessary and/or feasible?

The expected benefits of algorithmic decision systems (ADS) may be offset by the variety of risks they present for individuals (discrimination, unfair practices, loss of autonomy), the economy (unfair practices, limited access to markets), and society as a whole (manipulation, threat to democracy). Continue reading

The challenges of regulating disinformation with artificial intelligence

The spread of false information is not merely a reputational threat for news providers in general, but is a risk factor for democratic order. People are increasingly concerned about the influence of fake news on elections in the USA and Europe. Continue reading

Does artificial intelligence threaten human rights?

Asking ‘Is artificial intelligence a human rights issue?’, the workshop co-organised by STOA with the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on 20 March 2019, gathered academic experts, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), practitioners and representatives of international organisations to share their perspectives on exactly how artificial intelligence (AI) affects the protection and enjoyment of human rights. Continue reading

What if we could fight drug addiction with digital technology? [Science and Technology podcast]

Drug addiction is one of the greatest problems facing European public health authorities. Advances in drug addiction research have focused mostly on the neurobiological aspects of the disease, but now promising new technologies are enhancing our ability to understand and treat drug addiction. Continue reading

How gene-drive technology could help eradicate malaria

Should we be prepared to change the population composition of a species in order to wipe out a disease that is a terrible burden to mankind? During a well-attended working breakfast organised by the European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) on 19 March 2019, experts and citizens delved into the case study of eradicating malaria by applying gene-drive technology. Continue reading

‘Virality and influencers in digital communication’ – Can the European message go viral?

Over the last decade, public discourse has been moved, to a great extent, into virtual spaces. In the empire of social media, influencers and service providers employing algorithms have overtaken up the important role of shaping public opinion previously the domain of the classical (printed and electronic) media. Continue reading

Reconversion of industrial areas and EU regional policy

An ecological and social approach to converting old-style industries in urban areas may well contribute to a new eco and social friendly development path for the European Union. This prospect was a prominent conclusion of the workshop on ‘Reconversion of industrial areas in the framework of regional policy’, organised by the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) on 26 February 2019 at the European Parliament (EP), and proposed by Rosa D’Amato (EFDD, Italy), member of the EP Committee on Regional Development (REGI). Continue reading

Scientists meet MEPs: a relation based on trust

To promote the role of science in ensuring a sound basis for public policies and political decisions, the European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) organised ‘Science Week at the European Parliament’, between 5-7 February 2019, in cooperation with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), and the European Research Council (ERC). Continue reading

What if a simple DNA test could predict your future? [Science and Technology podcast]

What if new-born babies were given a DNA report card that predicted their intelligence, their odds of getting a PhD, their chances of becoming a chain smoker or suffering depression, a heart attack or cancer? Thanks to ongoing genetic studies, a large amount of genetic data is available today involving millions of people. Continue reading

Does technology exacerbate social polarisation?

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it became clear how technologies such as social media and techniques such as psychological profiling can be combined in election campaigns with worrying effects. Continue reading

Is artificial intelligence a human rights issue?

The debate on artificial intelligence (AI) brings new human rights risks (as diverse as non-discrimination, privacy, security, freedom of expression, and access to public services), to the fore. Continue reading

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