Robo Sapiens: a new legal person on the horizon?

The legal implications of the consequences of the actions of robots endowed with artificial intelligence are currently the object of discussion at the European Parliament. In this opinion piece, Orsolya Zara, legal and policy advisor to an MEP at the European Parliament, in Brussels, provides some insights into changes pertaining to robots liability that may need to be implemented in civil law.

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RRI: New buzzword or vision of modern science policy?

Science has the power to transform societies. It has the power to help tackle the challenges Europe is facing. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) aims to reconcile the need for research to operate autonomously against a backdrop of society transformed by scientific discoveries and technical inventions. Thanks to RRI, we are getting one step closer to finding practical solutions to facilitate the dialogue between scientists and all those concerned, including citizens.

Chronic disease prevention using wearable technology: not that simple

Since the last decade, wearable technology moved from developers’ drawing boards to stores, with barely a whisper of disquiet about data privacy. Yet, the implications for data privacy should not be underestimated. There is growing interest in the potential of wearables to mitigate, treat or prevent chronic conditions which put a strain on health economies–ranging from chronic back pain or physical stress injuries to mental health issues like work-related stress. EuroScientist investigates how the latest regulatory framework could secure people’s privacy as they strive to prevent chronic conditions through wearable technology.

New Spanish state research agency born before national elections

The existing Spanish government, in its last meeting in December 2015, gave the green light to a long-awaited State Research Agency, Agencia Estatal de Investigación, which has been created three years later than planned. The term of its governing body will be three years in order not to coincide with the legislature length. All parties criticised this last-minute decisions. Furthermore, commentators pointed to issues arising in Spanish research, due to the huge budget cuts imposed on research, during the People’s Party’s previous term in office.

A new beginning to tackle the global emergency

“As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning,” stated the 2000 UNESCO Earth Charter. Today, it is our responsibility to start afresh to tackle global challenges, such as extreme poverty, migratory flows and environmental degradation. Former UNESCO director general,Federico Mayor, calls for the scientific, academic, artistic and intellectual communities to mobilise citizens of the world, so that they adopt the required corrective measures, before we reach a point of no return.

Scientific foresight, new in the EU Parliament science advice toolkit

Find out how the European Parliament has an in-house mechanism to provide scientific advice, as part of the policy making mechanism. This advice is provided by the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, which is supported by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). Since 1974, STOA has also integrated a foresight activity designed to anticipate the possible long-term unintended consequences of legislation on society.

A new kind of science: research in the age of big data

What is unique about research in the era of Science 2.0? For one, it opens up important new methods of discovery. But the potential gains offered by technology can only be fully realised if research becomes open. This requires scientists to share more than ever before. And this calls for a system where all contributions, down to the most minute, are given proper credit. Welcome to the era of the fourth paradigm of research!

Jean-Claude Burgelman: the new open science paradigm requires fine tuning

The EC consultation on Science 2.0, whose results have recently been published, raised a number of issues that may need to be addressed before the idea of open science can fully be implemented. In particular, the need to introduce incentives in the scientific process to encourage scientists to share their data and publish in open access journals was brought up by many of the stakeholders consulted. He also sees the role of the Commission as that of a broker to create a level playing field to make it possible for open science to flourish.

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Collective responsibility towards research and innovation’s risks and new ethical dilemmas

Research and innovation constantly change our world. From the Internet and mobile phones, to climate change and new cancer treatments, science and technology have the potential to transform our lives. These developments also create new risks and new ethical dilemmas. Responsible research and innovation (RRI) seeks to bring these issues into the open. It also aims to anticipate the consequences and directions of research and innovation.

Croatia, Czech Republic and Slovakia among members of Anne Glover’s new European Science Advisers Forum

Several East European countries took part in the first meeting of a pan-European network of chief science advisers – people who advise governments on a range of issues based on scientific evidence – in Copenhagen, Denmark, yesterday.