Parliamentary Technology Assessment


Bacteriophages in agriculture and food industry

This project conducted on behalf of the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) deals with bacteriophages (“phages”). These are viruses that attack bacteria and are therefore considered possible alternatives to antibiotics, pesticides, chemical disinfectants and preservatives in agriculture and food production. The aim is to provide a policy-oriented analysis of the research, development and application of phages as an information base and orientation aid for political mandates and decision-makers. 

Voice, speech and facial recognition

Technologies to recognize human voices, speech and faces are increasingly determining our daily lives – whether for unlocking our mobile phones or for passport checks at airports. The interdisciplinary study on behalf of TA-SWISS aims to identify the opportunities and risks of such technologies and future fields of application. In addition, the project addresses social perception and legal framework conditions. 

The potential of hydrogen for decarbonizing EU industry

In view of the huge potential of electricity generation from renewable energy sources, the production of green hydrogen, i.e., using renewable power to produce hydrogen through water electrolysis, is seen as a promising option for decarbonizing EU industry, especially for those energy-intensive sectors that are difficult to decarbonize. However, this has enormous economic implications for the current stock of production technologies, the energy system, and operating costs. The required infrastructure is an additional aspect that has not yet been clarified. This STOA study takes stock of the current situation with regard to implementing the EU hydrogen strategy, and identifies policy options to fill the gaps in the current policy landscape.

Dealing with deepfakes

The fact that media can be manipulated is not new. However, deepfakes use machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) methods to generate fakes in a largely autonomous way. In cooperation with the Rathenau Instituut, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the Technology Centre CAS, this STOA project aims at identifying options for dealing with the technology using literature analyses and expert interviews. This concerns future application scenarios and their economic, social, ethical and legal implications.

White Biotechnology – current status and perspectives of industrial biotechnology for a sustainable economy 

In “white” or industrial biotechnology, industrial production processes are operated that are based on the metabolism of organisms (usually bacteria or fungi). They catalyze the conversion of the biomass raw material into the respective target product. The use of biomass as a renewable industrial raw material is intended to replace fossil raw materials in the long term and thus to make a contribution to climate protection. Fraunhofer ISI has compiled an overview of the processes, applications and economic perspectives of industrial biotechnology for the Office of Technology Assessment of the German Bundestag (TAB).