Automation in Military Operations
Published Thursday, October 22, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0511
Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains – air, land and sea – make use of automation. This POSTnote outlines current and potential future applications of automation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in combat. It then summarises debate over legal, ethical and societal issues, including debate over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed on future lethal autonomous weapons systems.
Topics: Armed forces, Defence equipment and procurement, Defence policy, EU defence policy, Human rights, Information technology, International law, International politics and government, Military operations, Research and innovation, Science, Terrorism
Unintentional Bias in Court
Published Thursday, October 22, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0512
When asked to interpret information and draw conclusions, people are prone to a number of well understood, unintentional errors in reasoning called cognitive biases. This POSTnote examines how cognitive biases affect reasoning and decision-making, and outlines strategies to minimise their influence in court.
Trends in ICT
Published Monday, October 19, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0510
This note looks at developments in information and communication technology (ICT) and their relevance for UK policy in the next five years. It examines the capability, use and economic impact of ICT; technical barriers; and implications for cybersecurity, privacy and internet governance.
Topics: Adult education, Broadcasting, Companies, Electricity, Employment, European Commission, Higher education, Industry, Information technology, Internet and cybercrime, Media, Research and innovation, Schools, Science, Standards, Telecommunications, Training
Forensic Language Analysis
Published Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0509
This note examines forensic language analysis, the scientific validity of procedures and their applications, and explores the issues surrounding their use.
Deep Sea Mining
Published Friday, September 25, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0508
In March 2013, the Prime Minister said that deep-sea mining could be worth £40bn to the UK over the next 30 years. This briefing summarises the framework governing activity in international waters. It also describes the mineral deposit types being considered and the proposed extraction methods, potential environmental effects and mitigation options.
Trends in Crime and Criminal Justice
Published Thursday, September 24, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0507
This POSTnote describes crime patterns, and highlights issues with crime measurement and data. It also identifies key developments in the criminal justice system.
Trends in Compulsory Education
Published Tuesday, September 22, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0506
This POSTnote focuses on trends in UK compulsory education and outlines where trends differ between individual nations.
Published Monday, September 21, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0505
Precision farming uses technology to improve efficiency. It offers benefits for yields, profits and the environment. However, uptake by farmers has been slow. This POSTnote describes precision farming methods, adoption and factors influencing it, and future practices.
The 100,000 Genomes Project
Published Thursday, September 10, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0504
This POSTnote provides an introduction to genomic medicine and an overview of the aims, structure and major challenges of the 100,000 Genomes Project.
Trends in Energy
Published Monday, September 7, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0503
Providing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is a key issue in UK policy. Energy policy can be informed by current energy sector trends and projections into the future. This briefing outlines key trends in energy, the factors driving these changes and future projections. It also highlights the implications and challenges of these trends.
Topics: Climate change, Coal, Electricity, Energy, Energy conservation, Fuel poverty, Nuclear power, Oil, petrol and natural gas, Renewable energy, Science
Securing UK Soil Health
Published Monday, August 24, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0502
2015 is the United Nations International Year of Soils. Soils underpin the global food system and regulate water, carbon and nitrogen cycles but are subject to pressures from population growth and climate change. In England & Wales, soil degradation costs around £1bn per year. This POSTnote outlines the evidence for measures that sustain soils and existing policies affecting soil health.
Published Friday, August 7, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0501
Increasing resistance to herbicides, coupled with a lack of new types of herbicides, has the potential to reduce crop yields. The UK Government’s commitment to increase yields over the next 25 years will require the development of alternative crop protection methods. This POSTnote outlines the challenges of herbicide resistance and reviews the possible approaches to long-term weed control strategies.
Towards 2020 and Beyond
Published Friday, June 19, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0500
This note focuses on policy drivers leading towards 2020 and beyond. It looks at the relationship between UK policy and the following drivers: people (demographics), technological change, climate change, resource security and sustainability, inequality, and governance issues.
Novel Food Production
Published Friday, June 12, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0499
Food production systems worldwide may have to adapt radically to meet the rising global demand for food. Emerging approaches in the food sector include controlled-environment farming, alternative animal feeds, edible insects, and lab-cultured meat. This POSTnote considers these new technologies and summarises their respective advantages and limitations.
Regulation of Synthetic Biology
Published Friday, June 12, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0497
Synthetic biology can be defined as the design and engineering of novel biologically-based parts, devices and systems or the redesign of existing biological systems. It may deliver potential benefits across a wide range of applications. However, some future applications may raise social and ethical issues and challenge current regulatory systems.This POSTnote examines the potential benefits and challenges.
Trends in Political Participation
Published Friday, June 12, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0498
Over the last fifty years in the UK, some aspects of participation in formal politics have decreased, such as political party membership. But new forms of participation, such as online activism, have emerged, which may become increasingly important, especially for younger people. This POSTnote discusses trends in political participation, with a focus on new forms, drivers of these trends and how UK democratic institutions are responding.
Trends in Transport
Published Friday, June 5, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0496
Transport is a key driver of economic growth. It links people to their workplaces and connects businesses. It also affects health, the environment and societal wellbeing. This POSTnote looks at why transport is changing, outlines current trends across and within transport sectors and considers the planning of transport networks.
Published Friday, June 5, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0495
A quarter of adults in the UK are clinically obese and therefore at an increased risk of developing chronic diseases. NHS advice is to eat fewer calories and take more exercise to lose weight. Increasingly, drug treatments and surgery are being considered as a means to lose weight for extremely obese people who have had difficulty in adhering to lifestyle changes. This briefing discusses the current methods used to manage and treat obesity.
UK Broadband Infrastructure
Published Friday, May 29, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0494
The growing use of smart phones and data intensive services (such as video streaming), has increased demand for both fixed and mobile internet. This POSTnote looks at patterns in broadband access and use, and the technical and policy challenges of enhancing UK broadband infrastructure to meet future needs.
Sugar and Health
Published Thursday, May 28, 2015 | POSTnotes POST-PN-0493
Sugars can be added to food and drinks or occur naturally in fruit, vegetables and milk. A high sugar diet increases the risk of tooth decay and weight gain, and high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with type 2 diabetes. This paper describes trends in sugar consumption in the UK, the public health implications and outlines policy options.