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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 27 MEPs nominated by 11 EP Committees. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the EP.
Scientific Foresight (STOA) has written 232 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

What if fashion were good for the planet? [Science and Technology podcast]

Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, coming just after oil. Clothing manufacture and consumption have a huge negative impact on both the environment and people. Continue reading

Mapping the AI ethics initiatives terrain

While artificial intelligence (AI) applications are numerous, AI creates novel ethical challenges that threaten both users and non-users of the technology, including exacerbating existing inequalities and generating discrimination and bias. Continue reading

Digital contact tracing: Call for a stronger EU-wide approach

There is no trade-off between privacy and health in the context of contact tracing applications as, without citizens’ trust, no technology can deliver the expected outcomes. Continue reading

A crossroads of disciplines: How nanotechnology is revolutionising medicine

Nanotechnology, making it possible to manipulate matter on a ‘nano’ scale, emerged in the early 1980s. More recently, nanotechnology has become the intersection at which several scientific disciplines converge. Continue reading

Artificial intelligence is revolutionising our future: opportunities and challenges

Artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to impact the future of almost every industry and all our lives. This is why it is highly important to keep Members of the European Parliament informed about the latest developments, as well as the challenges and long-term impacts of this technology. Continue reading

GDPR and AI: making sense of a complex relationship

The development and deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) tools should take place in a socio-technical framework where individual interests and the social good are preserved but also opportunities for social knowledge and better governance are enhanced without leading to the extremes of ‘surveillance capitalism’ and ‘surveillance state’. Continue reading

Artificial intelligence: From ethics to policy

The public service revolution expected from the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) simultaneously promises positive change and threatens negative societal impacts – we only need to mention ‘predictive policing’ to comprehend the potential for both service efficiencies and unintended consequences. Continue reading

New STOA study on artificial intelligence: How does it work, why does it matter and what can we do about it?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is probably the defining technology of the last decade, and perhaps also the next. Continue reading

STOA roundtable on digital sovereign identity

In the digital age, citizens need to manage a range of online identities that are linked to their offline identity. Continue reading

What if AI could advance the science surrounding dementia? [Science and Technology podcast]

Dementia is a growing public health concern, with no reliable prognosis or effective treatment methods. In the age of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the goal of more precise, early diagnosis and prediction of the progression of dementia may not be very far away. Continue reading

New STOA study on blockchain for supply chains and international trade

Blockchains combine several techniques – including encryption, consensus methods and distributed storage – to record transactions. Continue reading

Potentially negative effects of internet use

The internet has received increasingly negative media coverage in recent years. Numerous articles have reported on major privacy scandals and security breaches, the proliferation of fake news, harmful behaviours such as cyber-bullying, cyber-theft, revenge porn and internet addiction, as well as the negative effects that the internet can have on social relationships and social cohesion. Continue reading

What if we could fight antibiotic resistance with probiotics? [Science and Technology podcast]

Recent research suggests that the future combat against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) may involve probiotic-based approaches. Their use in our microbial ecosystems, including humans, animals and the healthcare environment, may provide a novel approach which deserves exploration. Continue reading

Listening to the experts: ESMH interviews with scientists on coronavirus

Accurate, reliable and timely information about scientific or health topics has always been important, but in a pandemic, it becomes critical. The demand for credible and science-based data today is enormous, as people seek analysis and expert opinion in response to the crisis. Continue reading

STOA meets experts on coronavirus: Challenges, opportunities and the way forward

Striking the right balance between managing the health-related risks of the Covid‑19 pandemic and mitigating the possible socio-economic impacts of the containment measures is a delicate political exercise, being performed on the basis of imperfect data. Continue reading

What if CRISPR became a standard breeding technique?

New genetic technologies allow scientists to drastically accelerate the traditional breeding process, thereby achieving in years what previously took centuries. How will it change the way we produce food? Continue reading

Ten technologies to fight Covid-19

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic intensifies, technological applications and initiatives are multiplying in an attempt to limit the spread of the disease, treat patients and facilitate the work of overworked healthcare workers. Continue reading

Rethinking education in the digital age

The digital transformation is fully under way, transforming the European economy and Europe’s society as a whole. New technical and soft skills are gaining in importance both in the labour market and as a means for fully participating in society. Continue reading

What if smartphones could help contain Covid-19?

The recent outbreak of respiratory diseases triggered by the new coronavirus poses a challenge to public health worldwide. As governments evaluate how to stop further contagion, what role could smartphone apps play in the overall effort? Continue reading

What if we could fight coronavirus with artificial intelligence? [Science and Technology podcast]

Analytics have changed the way disease outbreaks are tracked and managed, thereby saving lives. The international community is currently focused on the 2019-2020 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, first identified in Wuhan, China. Continue reading

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