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Scientific Foresight: What if?

This tag is associated with 39 posts

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

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

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

What if artificial intelligence made work obsolete? [Science and Technology podcast]

The world of work is regularly disrupted by technology development. From mass production to word processing, innovations have regularly transformed our working lives and, with them, the broader economic system. Continue reading

What if crop protection were environment-friendly? [Science and Technology podcast]

Synthetic pesticides are often denounced as harmful to both human health and the environment. European Union (EU) policy has a tendency to encourage a reduction in their use. But what effective alternatives are there to protect plant health and boost crop yields? Continue reading

What if internet by satellite were to lead to congestion in orbit?

Internet satellite companies, such as Starlink, OneWeb and Blue Origin (Amazon), aim at providing global internet access via satellites. This will bring many benefits to citizens, isolated regions and the global economy, but what if internet satellites collide with other satellites? Continue reading

What if we lived up to 150 years? [Science and Technology podcast]

Life expectancy has been projected to continue to rise in industrialised countries, including in Europe, mostly due to increases in people reaching the age of 65 years and older. Continue reading

What if hydrogen could help decarbonise transport? [Science and Technology podcast]

The use of hydrogen as a fuel for transport might hold the key for decarbonising our overall energy system, by complementing the generation of electricity from fluctuating renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. 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

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 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

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

What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Recent reports of celebrity singer, Taylor Swift, deploying facial recognition technology to spot stalkers at her concerts raised many eyebrows. What started out as a tool to unlock your smartphone or tag photos for you on social media is surreptitiously becoming a means of monitoring people in their daily lives without their consent. Continue reading

What if we could design better technologies through dialogue? [Science and Technology Podcast]

While we often worry about the acceptance of technology in the face of real and potential public opposition, there are frequently gaps between how regulators, developers and experts conceptualise acceptance and opposition. Continue reading

What if we let consumer electricity prices fluctuate? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Allowing consumer electricity prices to fluctuate from one time of the day to another could help accelerate the transition towards renewable energies and drive down the costs of this transition. Electricity production from renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy, is expanding rapidly in Europe and around the world. Continue reading

What if we genetically engineered an entire species? [Science and Technology Podcast]

A gene drive is a technique for manipulating ecosystems by introducing self-propagating custom genes among a population of sexually reproducing organisms, using the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology. Continue reading

What if algorithms could abide by ethical principles? [Scientific and Technology Podcast]

Algorithms are step-by-step procedures for solving a problem, usually expressed in computer code as a set of instructions for a computer to follow in order to complete a task. Continue reading

What if ‘nudging’ good habits could make us healthier? [Scientific and Technology Podcast]

The link between high consumption of trans fats, sugar and salt, found in large amounts in processed food, and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), type 2 diabetes and various cancers is well established. Continue reading

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