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Technology Assessment

GAO's technology assessments provide thorough and balanced analysis of critical technological innovations that affect our society, the environment, and the economy. This body of work explains the consequences that each featured technology will have on federal agencies and departments, and their wider impacts on American society.
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In six steps, this animation depicts the changes that have occurred over time to the global carbon cycle, including the amount of carbon existing in and moving between the planet's major carbon reservoirs before and after 1800. Excerpted from: GAO-11-71.

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In eight steps, this animation depicts the path of sunlight that enters the planet's atmosphere, illustrating how that radiation is reflected, absorbed, and emitted as heat energy. Excerpted from: GAO-11-71.

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This animation depicts how neutron detector components -- including moderator, conversion material, and signal processing -- interact to detect neutrons. Excerpted from: GAO-11-753.

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In the Senate report accompanying the proposed bill for the legislative branch fiscal year 2008 appropriation, the Senate Committee on Appropriations recommended the establishment of a permanent technology assessment function within GAO. The House Committee on Appropriations noted that "it is necessary for the Congress to equip itself with effective means for securing competent, timely and unbiased information concerning the effects of scientific and technical developments and use the information in the legislative assessment of matters pending before the Congress."

GAO's Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering, within its Applied Research and Methods team, manages the permanent technology assessment program. GAO defines technology assessment as the thorough and balanced analysis of significant primary, indirect, and delayed interactions of a technological innovation with society, the environment, and the economy and the present and foreseen consequences and impacts of those interactions.

  • Portrait of Tim Persons, Ph.D
    • Tim Persons, Ph.D
    • Chief Scientist, U.S. Government Accountability Office
    • personst@gao.gov
    • 202-512-6412
  • Portrait of Nabajyoti Barkakati, Ph.D
    • Nabajyoti Barkakati, Ph.D
    • Chief Technologist, U.S. Government Accountability Office
    • barkakatin@gao.gov
    • 202-512-6412