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Scientific Foresight: What if?

This tag is associated with 31 posts

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

What if gene editing became routine practice?

Gene-editing techniques are still relatively new, but are constantly multiplying, and they seem exciting in their promise, especially since a more precise version – CRISPR-Cas9 – has recently been used for the first time in a human trial. Continue reading

What if blockchain were to be truly decentralised? [Scientific and Technology Podcast]

Technological systems, once introduced in a particular socio-economic context, often evolve in unforeseen ways and may fall prey to unexpected power relations. Continue reading

What if technologies challenged our ethical norms? [Scientific and Technology Podcast]

Ethical considerations concerning the impact of research and innovation (R&I) are increasingly important owing to the quickening pace of technological innovation and the transformative potential and complexity of contemporary advances in science and technology. Continue reading

What if law shaped technologies? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Technology does not operate outside its legal context. Law reacts to technological developments through the adoption, for example, of health and employment rules, or tax and risk assessment standards, to prevent technological advances from undermining human rights, environmental standards and democratic values. Continue reading

What if technologies shaped the law? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Εxploring the relationship between law, technological innovation and regulatory governance has always been a challenging task for policy-makers. Technologies are often seen as ordinary objects of formal law that can fit into traditional doctrinal classification. Continue reading

What if social media were open and connected? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Social media platforms are often thought of as open and connected spaces, since they allow users to communicate with a wide range of people and organisations. It seems obvious that to have access to a social network it should be necessary to open an account with the platform, and that on closing the account that access would be lost. 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

What if blockchain changed social values? [Science and Technology Podcast]

Written by Philip Boucher, Blockchain technology could shake up many aspects of our daily lives, from the currency we use to the purchases we make. But what is the impact on our social values, and what can policy-makers do about it? Blockchain technology is a remarkably transparent and decentralised way of recording lists of transactions. … Continue reading

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