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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, under the guidance of the STOA Panel of 25 MEPs. The STOA Panel forms an integral part of the structure of the European Parliament.
Scientific Foresight (STOA) has written 154 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Maglev transportation [Science and Technology Podcast]

Magnetic levitation-based transport might soon enter our lives, providing faster, safer and more energy-efficient journeys. As longer distances can be covered faster and more cleanly, could they change the way in which we choose where to live? Continue reading

New collection asks if we should fear artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging, once again, as one of the most hotly debated technologies on the horizon. This horizon is getting closer and, in some application areas, AI is already here. This has prompted debates about what AI means for the future of humanity, which occasionally includes extreme predictions on employment (such as a job-free society), and existential threats (such as a human-free earth). Continue reading

Looking for new ways to finance transport infrastructure projects in cross-border regions

Meeting large infrastructure needs – including proper maintenance and operation – is and will remain a major challenge for the European Union (EU) in the coming years, requiring targeted innovative financing mechanisms. Continue reading

The future of employment: can we be optimistic about the impact of new technologies?

The relationship between new technologies, employment and inequality has gained a lot of attention recently. One reason for this interest is alarming reports about the possible negative consequences for employment of the widespread use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs), including machine learning, digitalisation of production, robotics and automated vehicles. Continue reading

What if all technologies were inherently social? [Science and Technology Podcast]

How technology has shaped society and how future technologies might affect it in the years to come are subjects for frequent debate. It can be tempting in this context to think of technologies as neutral ‘things’ that can be used for good or bad depending on the user’s intentions and skills. Continue reading

Achieving a sovereign and trustworthy ICT industry in the EU

The European Union (EU) faces a number of challenges to its goal of achieving a trustworthy and cyber-resilient digital single market: (i) a lack of funding for European cybersecurity companies to scale up; (ii) fragmentation of the European cybersecurity industry; (iii) strong dependence on non-EU providers; (iv) misalignment between public research and development programmes and market needs; (v) regulatory fragmentation; and (vi) a lack of common standardisation and procurement requirements across Member States. Continue reading

Prospects for e-democracy in Europe

E-participation in politics is expanding worldwide, driven by the development of digital tools that can be used for citizen involvement – social media, deliberative software, e-voting systems – and growing access to the internet. Continue reading

What if all our meat were grown in a lab? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Livestock production has an enormous environmental impact. The total land used for keeping animals and growing crops for their consumption amounts to around 30 % of the world’s ice-free land surface, and the livestock supply chain is responsible for about 14.5 % of global human-made greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Continue reading

How assistive technologies could make society more inclusive of people with disabilities

Assistive technologies (ATs) are designed to improve the functional capabilities of people with disabilities. Some are relatively low-tech and very familiar, such as reading glasses, crutches and hearing aids. Others are more advanced, using cutting-edge science and technology, with future ATs under development that could have a huge impact on all our lives. Continue reading

What if editing genes could fight rare diseases? [Science and Technology Podcast]

A new technique to simplify gene editing might herald a new era of genetic modification. What are the benefits and potential dangers of this technique, and how should policy-makers respond? Continue reading

MEPs meet scientists once again

The sixth round of STOA’s MEP-scientist pairing scheme kicked off with the ‘Science meets Parliaments’ event, co-organised with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) on 28 November 2017. Continue reading

What if mini-brains could help us understand dementia? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Organoids are artificially grown organs that mimic the properties of real organs. What new possibilities for treating diseases, drug development, and personalised and regenerative medicine do organoids provide? Continue reading

How should we manage media in the age of artificial intelligence?

This year’s STOA Annual Lecture focused on how media and other information is managed and distributed in the age of artificial intelligence (AI) – including how AI can be used to disseminate information and misinformation – and also in implementing new measures to counteract fake news. Continue reading

Precision agriculture: legal, social and ethical considerations

Precision agriculture, or precision farming, is a modern farming management concept that, based on a number of technologies coming concurrently from outside the agricultural sector, is of increasing interest to of increasing interest to actors in related fields, as well as legislators across the EU. Continue reading

MEPs renew their annual rendez-vous with scientists in Brussels

The STOA Panel comprises 25 MEPs with a shared interest in techno-scientific developments, and their implications for daily life and policy-making. Encouraging the exchange of ideas between scientists and MEPs is an essential part of STOA’s mission. Continue reading

Therapies for the future – Advanced therapies & nanomedicine

Advanced therapy medicinal products constitute a heterogeneous group of biopharmaceuticals encompassing gene therapy and somatic cell therapy medicinal products, as well as tissue-engineered and combined products (tissues or cells associated with a device). Continue reading

What if we could 3D-print our own body parts? [Science and Technology Podcast]

The 3D-printing sector has proven its commercial viability in recent years, reaching the high street and, indeed, many homes. The technology is already used in some medical domains, such as dentistry and prosthetics, and many scientists are now exploring methods of printing biological materials – even if reports about lifesaving 3D-printed hearts are certainly premature. Continue reading

STOA Annual Lecture 2017: Media in the age of artificial intelligence

This year, STOA’s Annual Lecture will focus upon how media and other information is managed and distributed in the age of artificial intelligence (AI). Continue reading

New technologies and regional policy: Insights for the next cohesion policy framework

These are some of the policy options for the legislator that emerged during the workshop organised by the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel of the European Parliament (EP) on 16 October 2017 in Brussels. Continue reading

Is it rational to be optimistic about artificial intelligence?

The STOA workshop ‘Should we fear the future? Is it rational to be optimistic about artificial intelligence?’ gathered speakers from the fields of sociology, policy, computer science and philosophy to contribute their perspectives on the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Continue reading

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved