It's been 15 years since the euro came into circulation and to mark the occasion Horizon is looking at what the future could have in store for finance. We talk to one economist who says the way to avoid another crisis is to keep banks small and boring, and we explore the effect of alternative local currencies on supporting small businesses. We also delve into some of the technology that could enable us to move to a cashless society, and we look at the growth of the so-called sharing economy, in which people share access to resources.
From eliminating checkout queues to potentially cutting counterfeiting and even terrorist financing, the rise of cash-free payment systems might not only change the way most of us pay but even pave the way to a cashless society.
People who use car-sharing services could soon be able to roam with different providers when travelling, much in the same way as people do with their mobile phone networks, thanks to a new piece of software which its inventor says will also help make car sharing economically viable in smaller cities and rural areas.
We need to return to a diverse, small-scale banking system in order to reduce the risk of another financial crisis, according to Professor Eckhard Hein from the Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany, who was involved in the EU-funded FESSUD project examining the causes and consequences of the 2008 - 2009 financial and economic crisis.
Rare diseases are uncommon, but there are still thousands of different conditions which together affect between 27-36 million people in the EU. This month, Horizon examines the latest efforts to tackle rare diseases as well as new technology to better diagnose uncommon conditions and novel ways to reduce the socioeconomic burden of unusual disorders.
This July, Horizon goes on an investigation to find the latest in how science can catch the bad guys, from recreating crime scenes in virtual reality to hidden cameras that turn on when they spot crime in rural areas. Plus we hear how looking at organised crime could help track down terrorists, and how to keep your information safe, such as through a phone that could recognise the way you swipe.
Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk fear that the robotic revolution may already be underway, but automation isn’t going to take over just yet – first machines will work alongside us.
Future human labourers could wear sensors that talk to their robot co-workers.
A digital personal assistant plans to help migrants integrate.
Better treatments are needed to help those suffering from rare diseases, says Dr Daria Julkowska.