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Listen to a selection of podcasts reporting on the latest science & technology developments, looking into the impact they will have on our lives and capturing their policy implications.

Listen to a selection of podcasts reporting on the latest science & technology developments, looking into the impact they will have on our lives and capturing their policy implications.
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Listen to a selection of podcasts reporting on the latest science & technology developments, looking into the impact they will have on our lives and capturing their policy implications.






What if we could design better technologies through dialogue?

While we often talk about the need to achieve 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. Here, we examine some prominent conceptualisations and suggest that, rather than responding to public opposition with information campaigns designed to transform citizens into acceptors, strategies for managing public acceptability should include...


What if we let consumer electricity prices fluctuate?

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. However, integrating these fluctuating sources into the grid is increasingly becoming a challenge for grid operators that need to match electricity supply with demand....


What if we genetically engineered an entire species?

Genetic engineering is usually applied to individual plants and animals. But what if we could genetically engineer an entire species? Today techniques have progressed so far so as to make that feasible, allowing us to eradicate malaria and cure ecosystems from exotic pest species, while also bringing with it a host of ethical questions we should urgently ask ourselves. Source: © European Union - EP


What if algorithms were to become ethical?

Algorithms, are step-by-step procedure 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. Day-to-day decisions around the world are increasingly based on data science techniques powered by machine learning algorithms that are gradually making a meaningful impact on human lives. For example, the operation of intermediary platforms that propose accommodation (AirBnB) or transportation alternatives (Uber)...


What if nudging good habits could make us healthier?

The link between high consumption of trans fats, sugar and salt, found in high amounts in processed food, and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), type 2 diabetes and various cancers is well established. In the current food market, calorie-rich, processed food, wrapped with ambiguous labels, is readily available, cheap and heavily promoted. But what if consumers could be prompted to make healthier food choices? Source: © European Union - EP


What if blockchain were to be truly decentralised?

Technological systems, once introduced in a particular socio-economic context, often evolve in unforeseen ways and may fall prey to unexpected power relations. Blockchain, as a technology that relies on decentralisation to enable storing and securing data-based transactions without central administration, is currently facing significant centralisation pressures that may undermine the purpose of operating a decentralised blockchain network. But what if blockchain fulfilled its promise to be...


What if technologies challenged our ethical norms?

Exploring the relationship between ethics and technological innovation has always been a challenging task for policy-makers. Ethical considerations concerning the impact of Research and Innovation (R&I) are increasingly important, due to the quickening pace of technological innovation and the transformative potential and complexity of contemporary advancements in science and technology. The multiplication of legal references to ethical principles and the mushrooming of ad hoc ethics...


What if law shaped technologies ?

Existing legal structures may prove a poor match for new types of disputes raised by disruptive technologies. Can the legal system overcome the temporal gap between the emergence of a technology and the subsequent need for controlling its possible effects and retain both flexibility and responsiveness? What regulation is justified by a particular technology? How should a particular technology be regulated? How can law regulate uncertain and unknown futures in the face of limited...


What if technologies shaped the law?

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 the traditional doctrinal classification. But what if technologies were legal artefacts that question and challenge the traditional boundaries of legal thought? Some scholars even argue that technology is law, given that the employment of technology for control...


What if social media were open and connected?

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. However, unlike 'old fashioned' telephone and email networks, users cannot change provider without losing access to the entire network. A truly open and connected model for social media could help foster a more competitive market that is more responsive to challenges such as privacy and disinformation. Source: © European Union - EP


Maglev transportation, from Ten more technologies which could change our lives

Magnetic levitation is based on the creation of opposite magnetic fields that repel each other to counteract gravity and elevate the magnetised objects off the ground. Could this energy-efficient technology revolutionise transport methods and systems? How can policy-makers ensure that the right conditions are put in place in order to facilitate its development? Source: © European Union - EP


What if all technologies were inherently social?

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. However, experts on the relationship between technology and society broadly agree that technologies are social objects that reflect and reinforce human activities and even political values. By...


What if all our meat were grown in a lab?

Could laboratory-grown meat be the answer to our environmental problems, and how would this impact on the EU agricultural sector? Source: © European Union - EP


What if editing genes could fight rare diseases?

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? Source: © European Union - EP


What if mini-brains could help us understand dementia?

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? Source: © European Union - EP


Radio frequency identification tags

What will be the impact of radio frequency identification tags, and other short-range communication devices, on how the Internet of Things transforms our way of life? Source: © European Union - EP


What if we could 3D-print body parts?

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, the technology has several medical applications. Source: © European Union - EP


Intelligent urban transport systems

How can information technology contribute to alleviating traffic gridlock in our increasingly congested urban areas? Source: © European Union - EP


What if manmade biological organisms could help treat cancer?

Synthetic biology is expected to begin to design, construct and develop artificial (i.e. man-made) biological systems that mimic or even go beyond naturally-occurring biological systems. Applications of synthetic biology in the healthcare domain hold great promise, but also raise a number of questions. What are the benefits and challenges of this emerging field? What ethical and social issues arise from this engineering approach to biology? Source: © European Union - EP


What if technology helped society become more inclusive?

Many "assistive technologies" are under development. They could help people with disabilities to participate more fully in society. But what if we already had enough technology for a truly inclusive society? Source: © European Union - EP