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The first part of the STOA study 'A framework for technology foresight intelligence', this report includes a set of five horizon-scanning reports or 'radars', built with the resources of Futures Platform and covering several areas, including the world after Covid-19, disruptive futures, the Green Deal, food, and geoengineering. Horizon scanning is a discipline that could be harnessed to inform the future activities of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) at both strategic and ...

What if the internet failed?

At a Glance 27-09-2021

What if the internet failed? Since the 1960s, when work on its development began, internet infrastructure has become almost as important as the electricity and transport infrastructure in modern societies. More and more key services, such as banking, food retail and health care, rely on internet connections. Despite the internet's original resilient decentralised design, the increasing importance of a few central players and the shift towards greater centralisation have made the internet more susceptible ...

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 ...

Sequencing and analysis of the human genome – all the genetic information stored in our DNA – provide us with understanding about a person's ancestry, health and other traits. Thanks to DNA sequencing, medicine and the life sciences are able to predict and cure diseases. As DNA sequencing technologies continuously improve and become less costly, what if we all soon possessed our personal, smart DNA sequencers and apps to analyse our DNA?

The steel sector is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise and has recently received special attention owing to the potential use of low-carbon hydrogen (green and blue) to reduce its fuel combustion and process-related carbon emissions. This report addresses concerns that might arise while evaluating the potential and limitations of the future role of hydrogen in decarbonising the iron and steel industries. The report provides a comprehensive overview of current technical knowledge, ...

The implementation of foresight routines will help in preparing future policies. Evidence-based foresight practices will ensure that policy-making is trustworthy and future-fit. This paper is partly inspired by the evidence-related policy issues encountered in managing the coronavirus outbreak. The Covid 19 crisis was, and remains, characterised by uncertainties and evidence that change by the hour through progressive insight. Policy-makers had to make decisions that balanced expert advice and presumed ...

Efforts to curb carbon emissions are falling short ‒ and geoengineering is again in the spotlight. Will governments end up tinkering with Earth’s thermostat?

Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, coming just after oil. Clothing manufacture and consumption have a huge negative impact on both the environment and people. Sustainability is not only about the environment, but is also an economic and social indicator, and the clothing industry is a good example illustrating their interconnections. Are technological innovations alone enough to 'tailor' a green and fair future for fashion?

Artificial intelligence could help in the fight against dementia, a rapidly growing public health problem! Which AI applications in dementia diagnosis and treatment are already under way, and what are future directions and implications? What if, in the future, we could have access to human brains like Google maps? What if we could backup our minds and restore it when needed, such as in the case of getting dementia?

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?