• Future research

    Approved work: Online Advertising Technologies

    This POSTnote will provide an overview of online advertising technologies and how they work. It will consider the importance of this industry for the UK, and the challenges that online advertising technologies present for market competition and consumer protection. It will also look at potential technical mitigations that might help to address these issues.

  • POSTnote

    States’ use of cyber operations

    States are increasingly engaging in cyber operations to support their strategic aims. This POSTnote considers hostile state-backed cyber activities against the UK. It looks at how and why states use cyber operations against other nations and the threats these pose to the UK. It also considers mitigation measures, both internationally and in the UK.

  • POSTbrief

    The impact of remote and hybrid working on workers and organisations

    This POSTbrief focuses on the impact of remote and hybrid working on individuals and organisations across the UK, as well as wider impacts. It provides an overview of key trends in remote and hybrid working before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and how this varies between groups and demographic factors. It reviews the emerging research evidence on the impact of remote and hybrid working on workers and organisations, as well as emerging data on the wider impacts.

  • POSTnote

    Automation in military operations

    Advances in robotics and digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are enabling greater levels of automation across many sectors, including defence. The UK Government expects automation to be crucial to maintain military advantage in the future. In June 2022, the Ministry of Defence published its Defence AI Strategy, which sets out how it plans to adopt and exploit AI; automation was cited as a key application. This POSTnote discusses current and future applications of automation and AI, their impact on militaries and global stability, and the challenges around their development and implementation.

  • POSTnote

    Energy consumption of ICT

    Information and Communication Technology (ICT), including data centres, communication networks and user devices, accounted for an estimated 4-6% of global electricity use in 2020. Increasing demand for ICT is expected to lead to an increase in global ICT energy use over the next decade. Experts have highlighted ongoing improvements in the energy efficiency of the technology. However, there is limited evidence on the energy use of ICT, and a significant degree of uncertainty in existing estimates. This POSTnote summarises estimates of the energy used across the ICT sector and trends that may affect it. It discusses developments in energy efficiency and issues related to energy reporting and standards.

  • POSTbrief

    Geothermal energy

    Geothermal energy is a source of low-carbon, homegrown, renewable energy. It is available throughout the UK and can provide heat or power all year long independent of weather conditions. It currently delivers less than 0.3% of the UK’s annual heat demand, using only a fraction of the estimated available geothermal heat resource. There is the potential to increase this proportion significantly, but this will require long-term government support to develop a route to market and overcome high upfront capital costs and geological development risks.

  • POSTnote

    Financial risks of nature loss

    Nature loss poses risks to the financial sector via the businesses they invest in, lend to, advise and insure. The financial risks of nature loss are embedded within the financial systems but are little understood or addressed by financial institutions. The POSTnote will outline the current understanding of the type and scale of the financial risks of nature loss and look at potential mechanisms to improve company level reporting and mitigation of both the financial risks of nature loss, and nature loss itself.

  • POSTbrief

    Mining and the sustainability of metals

    The mining and processing of minerals underpins modern technology and infrastructure. Each year, over 3.3 billion tonnes of metals are produced globally, and most predictions of demand show increasing consumption of metals in the coming decades, including in renewable energy generation, electric vehicles and batteries. The transition of the world’s economies and industries to more sustainable energy and technologies will require more mining and processing of non-renewable mineral resources, with associated positive and negative impacts on the environment and society.

  • POSTnote

    Sharing public sector data

    Sharing public sector data can improve public services, facilitate research and innovation, and inform policymaking. However, public sector bodies face challenges when sharing data, both within the public sector and externally. These include cultural and skills barriers, poor data quality, and lack of public trust. Sharing public sector data also raises security and privacy concerns. This POSTnote looks at how public sector data is shared in the UK, discussing the requirements for effective data sharing and the associated benefits, risks, and barriers.

  • POSTnote

    Smart Cities

    "Smart cities" describes places that incorporate a range of technologies (especially those that collect and use data) to address economic, social, and environmental challenges. Projects usually take place in urban areas, but are also deployed in rural settings. This POSTnote looks at smart city innovation in the UK and the technologies involved. It considers the factors driving the adoption of smart city technologies, and the potential benefits, barriers and risks associated with their implementation.

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