Science in society

How scientific choices need to be made, bearing in mind the effect it could have to society

Environmental impact of transportation on Europe: view of science and industry

Climate change is a fact and all of us should be concerned about it. One of the main causes of climate change is the human-caused environmental impact, especially in developed countries like Europe or North America. A number of European companies and institutions are determined to give an example to the whole world and stop the increase of emissions produced on the continent. Transport accounts for a fourth of global CO2 emissions and it is one of the few industrial sectors where pollutant emissions are still growing. Our generation has a chance to stop this trend and build a better future for our children. Read more [...]

All good things come to an end

The Cambridge Analytics scandal has shown that the work of scientists is not neutral. The work of psychologists who designed the questionnaire aimed at profiling Facebook users might have been stellar work in its own right, within the standards of the field.  But the way the answers to the questionnaire were later used for the purpose of influencing the political choices of the Facebook users who took the questionnaire, is--to say the least--questionable. This scandal is a case in point to show that there is no better time to continue the dialogue of the role of scientists in society. After 5 years working as Editor of EuroScientist, I would like to announce that I am now moving on to pastures new. Read more [...]

Trusting science in an age of distrust

The trend against Experts and a public loss of trust in science have recently made headlines. For example, they translated as tweets questioning man-made climate change by the current US president. Or statements such as ‘I think that the people of this country have had enough of experts’ by Bristish politician Michael Gove during the Brexit campaign. But is such a shift in public attitudes towards science actually taking place? And if so, who exactly has lost trust in whom? In this opinion piece, the results of three national surveys on public perception and trust in science from Germany, Sweden and Switzerland are outlined and give us some answers. It makes for some fascinating reading! Read more [...]

Shrinking the digital divide

Computers and digital technologies are being incorporated into all aspects of life. Yet not everyone is able to seamlessly use the web, computers, tablets, smart-phones, electronic ticket machines and even some digital-based home appliances. This is particularly true for those who experience disability, literacy, digital literacy or ageing-related barriers to accessing information and communication technologies (ICT). We need to ensure that all of us are able to operate these digital technologies or we will exclude those who cannot from all these aspects of our life. Now, a new initiative, called Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure, seeks to set up an open development community to solve this problem. Read more [...]

Shawn Jensen: GDPR is about giving citizens control over personal data

In this exclusive interview with Shawn Jensen, CEO of data privacy company Profila, EuroScientist editor finds out about the implications of the regulations for citizens and for researchers. Part of the discussion discusses the ins and out of giving consent, in an era where any organisations holding data is required to ensure that individual data is used appropriately. Read more [...]

Media in the age of Artificial Intelligence

On 21st November 2017, the European Parliament Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) office hosted its annual lecture, chaired by Eva KAILI, MEP and STOA Chair and introduced by Carlos MOEDAS, European Commissioner for Research, Science & Innovation. The Keynote Lecture: How AI and algorithms manage flows of information was delivered by  Nello Cristianini, professor of Artificial Intelligence, at the University of Bristol, UK. Read more [...]

Claudius Gros: Increased Government’s reactivity can mitigate social instability

In this exclusive interview, EuroScientist Editor, Sabine Louët, speaks with German physicist Claudius Gros about the insights that complex systems bring into our society, which help in understanding their deficiencies in terms of how decisions are made. Gros’ analysis is based on the observation that citizens’ opinions—supported by mobile phones and internet technology—are now forming faster than ever before, relative to the time scale of policy decision making. This suggests the need to introduce necessary changes in the modes of governance, to enhance the reactivity of policy decisions, as means to keep our democratic societies steady. These findings have potential implications for an à la carte EU membership. Read more [...]