116

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Assessing the Leaders’ Agenda

06-05-2019

The Leaders' Agenda can be assessed rather favourably as it has enabled more structured work and better preparation by all actors concerned. This method can be recommended for the future work of the European Council as it allows a consistent follow-up. However, it has not helped to overcome deadlock on some of the most sensitive issues, such as migration and taxation.

The Leaders' Agenda can be assessed rather favourably as it has enabled more structured work and better preparation by all actors concerned. This method can be recommended for the future work of the European Council as it allows a consistent follow-up. However, it has not helped to overcome deadlock on some of the most sensitive issues, such as migration and taxation.

Artificial Intelligence ante portas: Legal & ethical reflections

14-03-2019

This briefing provides accessible introductions to some of the major legal, regulatory and ethical debates surrounding the deployment and use of AI systems. It focuses on the challenges that the sui generis features of AI may pose on the current legal framework and argues that as AI systems become more autonomous, a doctrinal paradigm swift may be needed. Given the foreseeable pervasiveness of AI, the briefing poses the question about how this new technology should be defined and classified in legal ...

This briefing provides accessible introductions to some of the major legal, regulatory and ethical debates surrounding the deployment and use of AI systems. It focuses on the challenges that the sui generis features of AI may pose on the current legal framework and argues that as AI systems become more autonomous, a doctrinal paradigm swift may be needed. Given the foreseeable pervasiveness of AI, the briefing poses the question about how this new technology should be defined and classified in legal and ethical terms. By providing an analysis of the key legal initiatives in this field in Europe, the briefing aims to equip the reader with the understanding they need to engage in clear-headed reflection about AI’s legal and socio-ethical challenges, and meaningful debates about how the current EU acquis may need to be adjusted to the new technological realities.

What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you?

13-03-2019

Recent reports of celebrity singer, Taylor Swift, deploying facial recognition technology to spot stalkers at her concerts raised many eyebrows. What started out as a tool to unlock your smartphone or tag photos for you on social media is surreptitiously becoming a means of monitoring people in their daily lives without their consent. What impact and implications are facial recognition technology applications likely to have, and what can be done to ensure the fair engagement of this technology with ...

Recent reports of celebrity singer, Taylor Swift, deploying facial recognition technology to spot stalkers at her concerts raised many eyebrows. What started out as a tool to unlock your smartphone or tag photos for you on social media is surreptitiously becoming a means of monitoring people in their daily lives without their consent. What impact and implications are facial recognition technology applications likely to have, and what can be done to ensure the fair engagement of this technology with its users and the public at large?

Technology and social polarisation

07-03-2019

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it became clear how technologies such as social media and techniques such as psychological profiling can be combined in election campaigns with worrying effects. Personalised political messaging is highly automated. It starts and ends with social media, which provides both the data for categorising users and the medium for targeting them with personalised messages. Messages might be designed to favour a particular candidate or to encourage widespread discord ...

With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it became clear how technologies such as social media and techniques such as psychological profiling can be combined in election campaigns with worrying effects. Personalised political messaging is highly automated. It starts and ends with social media, which provides both the data for categorising users and the medium for targeting them with personalised messages. Messages might be designed to favour a particular candidate or to encourage widespread discord and mistrust. In either case, it could lead to more polarised societies in which citizens share less common ground and are less understanding of those with different political ideologies, attitudes to populism, or perspectives on specific topics such as immigration. These same technologies and techniques also shape trends in news production and consumption. As newspaper sales dwindle, outlets increasingly rely upon ad-revenue generated by clicks, making extensive use of social media platforms and user profiling. Public debate increasingly occurs via these social media platforms in which citizens, politicians, companies and bots communicate directly to each other without the traditional filters of journalistic standards and editorial oversight. It has been suggested that, where citizens increasingly rely on such platforms for news, they risk entering so-called ‘filter bubbles’ in which they are exposed to a narrow range of perspectives oriented around their own profiles, shielded from contrasting views, in a broad trend that could also lead to more polarised societies. In this context, STOA launched two studies to explore the mechanisms by which these technologies and techniques may foster polarisation in Europe. One study approached the question with reference to trends in the production and consumption of news media, while the other focussed on trends in political campaigning and communication strategies.

Digitalisation in railway transport: A lever to improve rail competitiveness

20-02-2019

Since the 1990s, digitalisation has been advancing at speed across all industrial sectors, public entities and society at large; and railways are no exception. Digital technologies already govern rail customers' expectations, ticket reservation and purchasing habits, operators' information and payments systems, but experts believe these technologies have much more to offer the sector. Digitalisation is key to industry competitiveness and has therefore become an EU priority. The EU has been forging ...

Since the 1990s, digitalisation has been advancing at speed across all industrial sectors, public entities and society at large; and railways are no exception. Digital technologies already govern rail customers' expectations, ticket reservation and purchasing habits, operators' information and payments systems, but experts believe these technologies have much more to offer the sector. Digitalisation is key to industry competitiveness and has therefore become an EU priority. The EU has been forging a cross-policy approach and programmes to ensure a solid policy framework, finance research and infrastructure, develop standards and connectivity, and use data effectively. This should enable rail actors to capture digitalisation's potential, improve their efficiency and serve their customers better. The European Parliament has been contributing to this policy. Rail companies have already implemented a vast array of new services and applications using digital technologies, be it for providing more information and leisure services on board, improving the monitoring of their assets or automating more operations. The changes introduced by digitalisation in rail transport are perceived by many stakeholders as an opportunity – owing to the benefits it can offer – but also as a challenge. Indeed, it will require a change of mindsets and business models. Rail digitalisation will also require financial investment and a strategy to tackle cyber threats. Addressing these challenges will allow digitalisation to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the railway sector.

What if we could design better technologies through dialogue?

30-01-2019

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 meaningful dialogues ...

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 meaningful dialogues that aim to create better technologies which are not only acceptable to citizens, but can even be actively supported by them.

What if algorithms could abide by ethical principles?

20-11-2018

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) are extensively ...

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) are extensively using algorithms. Algorithms implicitly or explicitly are not neutral as they comprise essential value-judgments that can potentially have race or sex biases. This raises an important question: is it possible to develop and ensure that algorithms are ethical?

What if blockchain offered a way to reconcile privacy with transparency?

27-09-2018

One of the most appealing aspects of blockchain technology is the degree of transparency that it can provide. Blockchain has the potential to improve supply chains and clinical trials, enforce the law, enable responsible consumption and enhance democratic governance through a traceability of information as a means of ensuring that nothing is unduly modified. The level of transparency that blockchain brings forward adds a degree of accountability that has not existed to date. At the same time, one ...

One of the most appealing aspects of blockchain technology is the degree of transparency that it can provide. Blockchain has the potential to improve supply chains and clinical trials, enforce the law, enable responsible consumption and enhance democratic governance through a traceability of information as a means of ensuring that nothing is unduly modified. The level of transparency that blockchain brings forward adds a degree of accountability that has not existed to date. At the same time, one of the most appealing aspects of blockchain technology is the degree of privacy that it can provide. How could blockchain safeguard the rights to privacy and control over one’s data, whilst promoting data transparency?

What if law shaped technologies?

28-06-2018

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 knowledge?

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 knowledge?

What if technologies shaped the law?

07-06-2018

Is there a relationship between law, technological innovation, and regulatory governance? Are technologies ordinary objects of formal law that can fit into the traditional doctrinal classification? What if technologies were legal artefacts that question and challenge the traditional boundaries of legal thought? Has technology been developed to the extent that it exerts the functions of law? Is there a gradual shift from the traditional notion of "code is law" (i.e. code having the effect of law) ...

Is there a relationship between law, technological innovation, and regulatory governance? Are technologies ordinary objects of formal law that can fit into the traditional doctrinal classification? What if technologies were legal artefacts that question and challenge the traditional boundaries of legal thought? Has technology been developed to the extent that it exerts the functions of law? Is there a gradual shift from the traditional notion of "code is law" (i.e. code having the effect of law) to the new conception of "law is code"?

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