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

07-09-2021

Deepfakes are hyper-realistic media products created through artificial intelligence (AI) techniques that manipulate how people look and the things that they appear to say or do. They hit the headlines in 2018 with a deepfake video of Barack Obama, which was designed to raise awareness of their challenges. The accessibility and outputs of deepfake generation tools are improving rapidly, and their use is increasing exponentially. A wide range of malicious uses have been identified, including fraud ...

Deepfakes are hyper-realistic media products created through artificial intelligence (AI) techniques that manipulate how people look and the things that they appear to say or do. They hit the headlines in 2018 with a deepfake video of Barack Obama, which was designed to raise awareness of their challenges. The accessibility and outputs of deepfake generation tools are improving rapidly, and their use is increasing exponentially. 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. However, the most widespread use so far has been the production of non-consensual pornographic videos, with negative impacts that overwhelmingly affect women. Deepfakes may also contribute to worrying trends in our media, as well as in our social and democratic systems. 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 dissemination.

European Union data challenge

28-07-2021

The exponential growth and importance of data generated in industrial settings have attracted the attention of policymakers aiming to create a suitable legal framework for its use. While the term ‘industrial data’ has no clear definition, such data possess certain distinctive characteristics: they are a subset of big data collected in a structured manner and within industrial settings; they are frequently proprietary and contain various types of sensitive data. The GDPR rules remain of great relevance ...

The exponential growth and importance of data generated in industrial settings have attracted the attention of policymakers aiming to create a suitable legal framework for its use. While the term ‘industrial data’ has no clear definition, such data possess certain distinctive characteristics: they are a subset of big data collected in a structured manner and within industrial settings; they are frequently proprietary and contain various types of sensitive data. The GDPR rules remain of great relevance for such data, as personal data is difficult to be filtered out from mixed datasets and anonymisation techniques are not always effective. The current and planned rules relevant for B2B sharing of industrial data exhibit many shortcomings. They lack clarity on key issues (e.g. mixed datasets), increase the administrative burden for companies, yet not always provide the data protection that businesses need. They do not provide an additional value proposition for B2B data sharing and hinder it in some cases. While this situation warrants policy intervention, both the instrument and its content should be carefully considered. Instead of a legal instrument, soft law could clarify the existing rules; model terms and conditions could be developed and promoted and data standardisation and interoperability efforts supported.

Външен автор

Olga BATURA and Roel PEETERS

Guidelines for foresight-based policy analysis

26-07-2021

Policy analysis examines and assesses problems to determine possible courses for policy action (policy options). In highly complex or controversial contexts, evidence-based policy options might not be socially acceptable. Here, policy analysis can benefit from a foresight-based approach, which helps investigate the issue holistically and assess considered evidence-based policy options against societal concerns. This is especially important in a parliamentary setting, as it enables analysts to consider ...

Policy analysis examines and assesses problems to determine possible courses for policy action (policy options). In highly complex or controversial contexts, evidence-based policy options might not be socially acceptable. Here, policy analysis can benefit from a foresight-based approach, which helps investigate the issue holistically and assess considered evidence-based policy options against societal concerns. This is especially important in a parliamentary setting, as it enables analysts to consider stakeholder views and geographical concerns/differences when assessing policy options. This manual establishes the methodology for the foresight process and foresight-informed policy analysis. It offers a conceptual clarification of foresight and foresight-based technology assessment, helps enhance the transparency of foresight processes and the quality of policy analyses, offers four general guidelines for conducting trustworthy policy analysis, and, finally, provides a practical framework with six basic components for foresight-based policy analysis.

Artificial Intelligence in smart cities and urban mobility

23-07-2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabling smart urban solutions brings multiple benefits, including more efficient energy, water and waste management, reduced pollution, noise and traffic congestions. Local authorities face relevant challenges undermining the digital transformation from the technological, social and regulatory standpoint, namely (i) technology and data availability and reliability, the dependency on third private parties and the lack of skills; (ii) ethical challenges for the unbiased ...

Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabling smart urban solutions brings multiple benefits, including more efficient energy, water and waste management, reduced pollution, noise and traffic congestions. Local authorities face relevant challenges undermining the digital transformation from the technological, social and regulatory standpoint, namely (i) technology and data availability and reliability, the dependency on third private parties and the lack of skills; (ii) ethical challenges for the unbiased use of AI; and (iii) the difficulty of regulating interdependent infrastructures and data, respectively. To overcome the identified challenges, the following actions are recommended: • EU-wide support for infrastructure and governance on digitalisation, including high performance computing, integrated circuits, CPUs and GPU’s, 5G, cloud services, Urban Data Platforms, enhancing efficiency and ensuring at the same time unbiased data collection. • Inclusion of urban AI in EU research programs addressing data exchange, communication networks and policy on mobility and energy, enhancing capacity building initiatives, also through test and experimentation facilities. • Harmonising AI related policies in the EU, taking into account the context specificity: necessary research. • Adoption of innovative procurement procedures, entailing requirements for technical and ethically responsible AI.

Външен автор

Devin DIRAN, Anne Fleur VAN VEENSTRA, Tjerk TIMAN, Paola TESTA and Maria KIROVA

Artificial Intelligence and public services

22-07-2021

AI has become a key enabling technology in public services and its use has increased over the past two years.Ensuring explainabilty of AI systems in public services is crucial but difficult to achieve in case of black-box algorithms. In AI applications in public services, focus is on law enforcement, surveillance and process optimisation. AI for front-end public services seems less of a priority. There is a growing public concern over the development and use of AI in society. With the increase of ...

AI has become a key enabling technology in public services and its use has increased over the past two years.Ensuring explainabilty of AI systems in public services is crucial but difficult to achieve in case of black-box algorithms. In AI applications in public services, focus is on law enforcement, surveillance and process optimisation. AI for front-end public services seems less of a priority. There is a growing public concern over the development and use of AI in society. With the increase of its use, the potential for errors and harms also increases.The public sector should lead the way in creating trustworthy AI. Regulatory sandboxing and pre-procurement are key for creating trustworthy AI for public services.

Външен автор

Tjerk TIMAN, Anne Fleur VAN VEENSTRA and Gabriela BODEA

Health impact of 5G

22-07-2021

Recent decades have experienced an unparalleled development in wireless communication technologies (mobile telephony, Wi-Fi). The imminent introduction of 5G technology across the EU is expected to bring new opportunities for citizens and businesses, through faster internet browsing, streaming and downloading, as well as through better connectivity. However, 5G, along with 3G and 4G, with which it will operate in parallel for several years, may also pose threats to human health. This STOA report ...

Recent decades have experienced an unparalleled development in wireless communication technologies (mobile telephony, Wi-Fi). The imminent introduction of 5G technology across the EU is expected to bring new opportunities for citizens and businesses, through faster internet browsing, streaming and downloading, as well as through better connectivity. However, 5G, along with 3G and 4G, with which it will operate in parallel for several years, may also pose threats to human health. This STOA report aim to take stock of our present understanding of health effects of 5G.

Външен автор

This study has been written by Dr Fiorella Belpoggi, BSC, PhD, International Academy of Toxicologic Pathology Fellow (IATPF), Ramazzini Institute, Bologna (Italy), at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament. The scoping review search was performed by Dr Daria Sgargi, PhD, Master in Biostatistics, and Dr Andrea Vornoli, PhD in Cancer Research, Ramazzini Institute, Bologna.

Horizon Europe: Framework programme for research and innovation 2021–2027

02-07-2021

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe introduces new features such as the European ...

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe introduces new features such as the European Innovation Council, missions to promote research results, and new forms of partnerships. Horizon Europe also aims at reducing administrative burdens and promoting the concept of open science. More operational synergies are expected through better linkage with other EU programmes. In March 2019, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement on most aspects of Horizon Europe. However, the financial aspects were only settled in December 2020 as part of the broader MFF negotiations, together with the sensitive issue of third-country association. The final text was adopted in April 2021 and entered into force retroactively from 1 January 2021. Third edition of a briefing originally drafted by Cemal Karakas. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Horizon Europe – Specific programme: Implementing the framework programme

02-07-2021

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe introduces new features such as the European ...

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe introduces new features such as the European Innovation Council, missions to promote research results, and new forms of partnerships. While the proposal for the framework programme set out the general and specific objective of Horizon Europe as well as the structure and the broad lines of the activities to be carried out, the specific programme aims to define the operational objectives and activities, especially for missions, the European Research Council, the European Innovation Council, work programmes, and the committee procedure. In April 2019, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement on the specific programme. However, the financial aspects were only settled in December 2020 as part of the broader MFF negotiations. The final text was adopted in April 2021 and entered into force retroactively from 1 January 2021.

Bridging the gender gap in digital, research and industry: What is the way forward?

30-06-2021

These proceedings summarise the discussions that took place during the ITRE workshop held on June 17th, 2021, aimed to analyse the existing gender gaps in the digital sector. It was structured in three sessions, each consisting of two presentations, and a final Q&A round. Stereotypes hindering a greater participation of women in the digital sector, the role of women in the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem and the current situation of women in the Artificial Intelligence industry were addressed. ...

These proceedings summarise the discussions that took place during the ITRE workshop held on June 17th, 2021, aimed to analyse the existing gender gaps in the digital sector. It was structured in three sessions, each consisting of two presentations, and a final Q&A round. Stereotypes hindering a greater participation of women in the digital sector, the role of women in the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem and the current situation of women in the Artificial Intelligence industry were addressed.

Външен автор

Juan Pablo VILLAR; Julio BLAZQUEZ; Carlota TARIN

Communication on the global approach to research and innovation: Pre-legislative synthesis of national, regional and local positions on the European Commission's initiative

23-06-2021

This Briefing forms part of an EPRS series offering syntheses of the pre-legislative state of play and consultation on key European Commission priorities during the current five-year term. It summarises the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examines how existing policy is working on the ground, and, where possible, identifies best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of the EU system of multilevel governance. An EPRS analysis of the ...

This Briefing forms part of an EPRS series offering syntheses of the pre-legislative state of play and consultation on key European Commission priorities during the current five-year term. It summarises the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examines how existing policy is working on the ground, and, where possible, identifies best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of the EU system of multilevel governance. An EPRS analysis of the positions of partner governmental organisations at EU, national, regional and local levels suggests that they would like the following main considerations to be reflected in the discussion of the communication on the global approach to research and innovation (R&I): • Governmental organisations stress that research and innovation (R&I) are essential for the global competitiveness of the EU and greater investment is needed to ensure that the EU does not lose its leading position. There is a particular emphasis on the need for SMEs and regional clusters to take part in innovation cooperation, building on existing programmes such as Eurostars. • Public authorities state that third-country participation is essential for a successful R&I policy. However, the exact balance between openness and ‘strategic autonomy’ is harder to define. Some organisations state that systematic cooperation with third countries should be simplified in terms of red tape. Others express concerns about lower international participation in successive EU R&I programmes. • Various priority regions to be targeted were emphasised, namely, the broader European neighbourhood, the Mediterranean region (PRIMA and BlueMed programmes cited as positive examples) and Africa. Other respondents emphasised the need to deepen ties with strong research capacity countries, such as Australia, Canada, Japan and the UK. • Governmental organisations share the view that mobility of researchers is vital in both the European and international context. At the same time, EU R&I programmes should seek to prevent a 'brain drain' both away from the EU and within the EU, by promoting and incentivising research careers. • Local and regional authorities also call on the Commission to strengthen the links between R&I policies and EU cohesion policies, including regional funds.

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