External authors: Laura Delponte (lead author), Matteo Grigolini, Andrea Moroni and Silvia Vignetti (Centre for Industrial Studies - CSIL, Milan, Italy). Massimiliano Claps and Nino Giguashvili (International Data Corporation - IDC, Milan, Italy).
Over recent years, there have been increasing opportunities for inhabitants of low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to use information and communication technologies (ICT). ICT can potentially help LMICs tackle a wide range of health, social and economic problems.By improving access to information and enabling communication, ICT can play a role in achieving millennium development goals (MDGs) such as the elimination of extreme poverty, combating serious diseases, and accomplishing universal primary education. This study is aimed at examining the nature and extent of impact of ICT on poverty reduction in LMICs. A specific focus is developed for the health sector, elucidating which support ICT may provide to reduce inequalities and strengthen health systems in LMICs. In addition, present EU actions in the area of improving ICT diffusion in LMICs are assessed. Building on three literature reviews, the study first describes the conditions hampering or facilitating the support of ICT to poverty reduction in LMICs, then focuses on the specific opportunities and obstacles in the use of ICT in the healthcare sector and, finally, it illustrates the EU policy approach for promoting ICT in LMICs. Evidence from desk analysis is complemented by the opinions of 145 surveyed experts, ten of which were also interviewed. Experts’ opinions confirm the evidence of desk analysis pointing to health and education as the main areas in which ICT can play a significant role in LMICs development. Building upon the evidence collected, the study provides policy options for future action which the EU could undertake to help LMICs profit from all the opportunities that ICT offer.
Synthetic biology is expected to design, construct and develop artificial (i.e. man-made) biological systems that mimic or even go beyond naturally-occurring biological systems. What are the benefits of this emerging field? Are there any ethical and social issues arising from this engineering approach to biology?
Known as Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), drones have become increasingly present due to a sharp drop in production costs, as a consequence of recent innovations in light-weight materials, on-board computers, batteries and fuel tanks. Since their inception, drones have been developed for military purposes, with the inclusion of weapons in them, as well as for surveillance and policing efforts. Recently, however, other uses have proliferated, in the fields of climate data collection, scientific exploration, 3-D mapping, infrastructure maintenance, logistics and delivery services, professional photography and filmmaking, entertainment, wildlife protection and agriculture. The increasing diversity and affordability of drones will surely lead to their widespread use amongst corporations, governmental institutions and common citizens. Thus, the legal and ethical issues already associated with drones will most likely become more prominent and require the attention of European policy makers.
STOA is tasked with providing scientific evidence for decision-making in the European Parliament by conducting projects and organising workshops. In 2014 STOA completed projects on measuring scientific performance, methanol-fueled transport, e-ticketing systems, cloud computing and social networks, and mass surveillance of IT users. A number of workshops was held on the following topics: energy storage, governance of science and technologies, improving health programmes in developing countries, educational technologies, climate change, and the effect of technologies on our behaviours, relationships, norms and values. A new STOA Panel was formed in 2014, following the European elections.
Rafael Rivera Pastor, Carlota Tarín Quirós (Iclaves)
Educational technology encompasses a wide array of technologies and methodologies that are shaped by stakeholders’ behaviours and affected by contextual factors that, if adequately mixed, can contribute to students and teachers better achieving their goals. Such a wide and complex task cannot be addressed by a simple and single intervention. Comprehensive on-going policies are required, covering technology, methodology, economic and regulatory aspects; in addition, such policies are dependent on strong stakeholder engagement. This is a new process where we must learn by doing; therefore, carefully assessing the results of the different interventions is crucial to ensuring success.
Koen Rademaekers, Oscar Widerberg, Katarina Svatikova, Roel van der Veen, Triple E Consulting, Eleonora Panella, Milieu Ltd
Exploration and exploitation of the deep-seas in search of marine minerals and genetic resources have over the past fifteen years received increased attention. Developments in sub-marine technologies, rising raw material prices and scarcity, and advancements in biotechnology, are changing the business-case for further investments in the marine environment. This report provides a state-of-play overview on exploring and exploiting deep-sea resources. A Cost-Benefit Analysis identifies the main potentials and challenges in a scenario where exploitation increases. Policy options are suggested to balance trade-offs between economic, social and environmental aspects associated with future developments. This STOA project 'Technology options for deep-seabed exploitation - Tackling economic,environmental and societal challenges' was carried out by Triple E Consulting and Milieu Ltd. at the request of the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (DG EPRS) of the General Secretariat of the European Parliament.
We are living in a technological culture in which technologies penetrate every domain of our society. Techno-scientific innovations are often designed to make our lives easier, or to solve some societal issues. However, technologies pose unwanted and unintended impacts. This document describes a methodology for Scientific Foresight which offers the Members of the European Parliament legislative pathways to anticipate possible impacts of techno-scientific innovations.
This study was undertaken in support of the Scientific Foresight Unit's ongoing work to develop a methodology for carrying out foresight studies within the European Parliament. Ten different scientific and technological trends are investigated which reflect the interests of citizens, policy-makers and legislators drawn from across the European Union. A summary of each trend is provided followed by an overview of both the 'expected' and 'unexpected' impacts associated with the trend. A legal analysis is then provided which highlights procedural and legislative issues for policy-makers and legislators to consider when tackling policy-making in the EU in relation to each trend.
Company: Capgemini Consulting Authors: M. van den Berg P. de Graaf (editor) P.O. Kwant T. Slewe
The main objective of part two of this study is to provide the European Parliament with policy options, based on technology foresight, with regard to the protection of the EuropeanInformation Society against mass surveillance from a perspective of technology and organisational foresight. Four scenarios with two to four technology options each were developed in this study, leading to twenty-three policy options.