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European Parliament - EPRS Science and Technology podcasts


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






What if we sequenced all human genomes?

The rapid growth of genetic databases worldwide, coupled with fast-decreasing costs and increased technological speed, has raised the possibility of every human genome on Earth being sequenced within this century. This brings to the forefront ethical and legal questions on data privacy and ownership. While a world genomic database would revolutionise preventive medicine and research, new forms of surveillance, discrimination and power imbalances could emerge. The global interplay between the...


What if we built cities on water?

Rising sea levels place coastal cities under constant threat. An estimated 250 million people currently live on land below projected annual flood levels, often in coastal cities such as London, Lagos, Mumbai or Shanghai; and this number may rise to 630 million by the end of the century. An additional 318 million people have been displaced since 2018, due to climate disasters. Could it be that, instead of humankind fleeing from water, building on it could serve as a better long-term solution?...


Responding better to future pandemics

Managing the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic remains a challenge. While EU vaccination rates have reached three quarters of the population, new SARS-CoV-2 variants keep emerging in the EU. Although these variants appear to be generally less severe, they still pose challenges to health systems. The implementation of a globally effective vaccine strategy remains key to enhancing Europe's resilience. If measures are successful, it is expected that SARS-CoV-19 – while still present – will enter a...


What if AI regulation promoted innovation?

'Innovation' is often used as a shorthand for improved technical, economic and social processes. However, any specific innovation involves the redistribution of costs and benefits, creating winners and losers. For some, regulation of technology should be avoided in case it hinders innovation, while, for others, regulation is an essential measure to mitigate risks. However, regulation and innovation are not a zero-sum game. Debates about regulatory (in)action and its impact on innovation...


What if machines made fairer decisions than humans?

Automated decision-making by systems that use machine learning to dynamically improve performance are still seen as lacking the 'human perspective' and flexibility to adapt to the particular nuances of specific cases. But perhaps, as they lack the 'cunning' to hide their biases, automated systems actually make fairer decisions than do humans, when these decisions are based on data that have been properly curated. - Original publication on the EP Think Tank website - Subscription to our RSS...


What if we killed all microorganisms in our bodies?

While killing all microorganisms in our bodies may seem tempting to some germaphobes, scientific evidence indicates that beneficial microorganisms (that live in nearly ubiquitous communities called microbiota) are an essential component of human health, and could form a new frontier for personalised medicine to fight non-communicable diseases and improve human health. In this podcast, we'll look at the microorganisms that live in our bodies and the incredible role they play in assuring our...


What if xenotransplantation made up for the shortage of organ donation?

Following the first successful organ transplant in 1954, this procedure has become increasingly prevalent as it has revolutionised the treatment of end-stage organ failure. Nevertheless, organ shortage remains a critical problem which could potentially be overcome with xenotransplantation, regarded a promising alternative approach. In this podcast, we'll talk about the transplantation of animal derived organs and cells into humans. A medical procedure known as xenotransplantation that could...


What if hydrogen accelerated decarbonisation of European Industry?

The European Union has an ambitious climate strategy and is looking for ways to boost technologies that will make it possible. Could hydrogen and the deployment of related technology and infrastructure become a decisive factor in decarbonising specific industry sectors? In this podcast, we'll talk about hydrogen and its potential to accelerate the decarbonisation of European industry. - Original publication on the EP Think Tank website - Subscription to our RSS feed in case your have your...


What if ecolabels could nudge us to choose greener food?

The way most food is produced is harming the planet. A profound change is needed, involving all agri-food actors. As consumers, we sit at the end of the agri-food chain. Our daily dietary choices implicitly support certain food systems, production methods and types of food. What could help us make better choices? In this podcast, we'll talk about ecolabels and their potential to nudge us towards more sustainable food choices. - Original publication on the EP Think Tank website -...


What if novel drug delivery methods revolutionised medicine?

Nanoparticles lie at the heart of a new method for delivering medicines inside the body – and they were crucial to the success of the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines. This new drug delivery method and others could transform the way we treat disease, potentially boosting the treatment of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and HIV, among others. Insulin and Covid-19 vaccines might even become available as pills. In this podcast, we'll look into new drug delivery methods that could simplify the way we treat...


What if the Internet failed?

Since its early development in the 1960s, Internet infrastructure has become almost as important as electricity and transport infrastructures in contemporary societies. More and more key services such as banking, food retail, and health care, rely on Internet connections. Despite its original resilient decentralised design, the increasing importance of a few central players and centralising developments have made the Internet more vulnerable to failure. What repercussions would that entail?...


What if deepfakes made us doubt everything we see and hear?

Deepfakes are hyper-realistic videos created through artificial intelligence techniques. They present many possibilities, but also dangers. A wide range of malicious uses have been identified, including fraud, extortion and political disinformation. The impacts of such misuse can be financial, psychological and reputational. While the technology itself is legal, some malicious uses are not, and a combination of legal and technical measures may be mobilised to limit their production and...


What if we chose new metaphors for artificial intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) policy debates are replete with metaphors. In this podcast, we explore some challenges presented by the central metaphor of ‘intelligence’, examine how AI metaphors emphasise competition at the cost of cooperation, and ask whether new metaphors could help us to articulate ambitious visions for AI, and new criteria for success. Source: ©...


What if objects around us flocked together to become intelligent?

The internet of things is already making us reimagine daily life, but could artificial intelligence be the key to reaching the full potential of this technology? Source: © European Union - EP


What if blockchain could guarantee ethical AI?

As artificial intelligence (AI) companies and other organisations are seeking ways to comply with ethical principles and requirements, blockchain, under specific circumstances, could be seen as a means to safeguard that AI is deployed in an ethically sound manner. Source: © European Union - EP


What if consumers could use devices to sequence DNA?

Sequencing and analysis of the human genome, all the genetic information stored in our DNA, enable understanding about a person's ancestry, health and various traits. DNA sequencing greatly benefits medicine and the life sciences by allowing them to predict and cure diseases. While DNA sequencing technologies continuously improve and become less costly, what if we all soon possessed our personal, smart DNA sequencers and apps to analyse...


What if we could engineer the planet to help fight climate change?

Efforts to curb carbon emissions are falling short. As climate change impacts become all too clear, geoengineering is again in the spotlight. Some see it as a last-resort option to fight climate change. Detractors highlight the risks and uncertainties. Will governments end up ‘tinkering with Earth's thermostat'? Source: © European Union - EP


What If Technology And Culture Combined To Boost A Green Recovery?

With its recent European Green Deal framework, the EU is striving to achieve climate neutrality in its economy by 2050 and, simultaneously, bring itself on the path of recovery from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology will inevitably play a significant part in this process. However, historical experience tells us that culture and aesthetic have too had significant roles in recovery from a crises, be it war, economic recession, or an...


What if AI took care of traffic as well as driving?

Even if autonomous vehicles need to detect traditional signals and allocate uncertainty areas while sharing the public thoroughfare with non-autonomous vehicles, pedestrians and even animals, an efficient exchange of information with as many other vehicles as possible will greatly increase, not only their performance but also their safety. Source: © European Union - EP


What if AI could assist thermal imaging in fighting coronavirus?

As schools re-open, employees return to work and airports get busier, thermal imaging cameras powered by artificial intelligence are proving a quick and effective way to survey large groups of people and detect high temperatures… But are they the magic bullet for COVID-19 fever detection? And what are the legal and ethical implications of such mass surveillance...