Digital Planet

Digital Planet

By BBC World Service

Technological and digital news from around the world.


Can AI predict Arctic ice loss?

Arctic AI Have you checked the ice-cap forecast? Melting sea ice might be a well-known symptom of global warming, but how do scientists predict how quickly ice will recede? A new Artificial Intelligence tool does a better job than traditional prediction methods to forecast whether sea ice in the arctic will be present two months in advance. We hear from Tom Andresson, Data Scientist at the BAS AI Lab, who developed the algorithm. VR Cystoscopy Cystoscopy is vital for managing bladder cancer and something that those affected will need to undergo regularly for the rest of their life when their cancer has gone into remission. However the process can be very unpleasant which means some people choose not to keep up with their life saving visits. Dr Wojciech Krajewski has been studying how using VR goggles to create a more relaxed environment can help patients manage the pain cystoscopy causes. Immersing patients in an Icelandic waterfall meant patients reported lower pain scores and they tolerated the procedure better. 5G festival Working remotely has been a difficulty for many of us over the past year - but musicians have found it particularly hard, as slow connections make playing together almost impossible. Over the past two years Digital Catapult have been developing a way of using 5G networks to solve this problem. They will be running a virtual festival next year to highlight the technology. Claire Jordan visited the trials and reports for Digital Planet. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Studio Manager: Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image credit: British Antarctic Survey)
21/09/2143m 31s

Tech on the island of Jersey

Digital Planet is back in Jersey, the small English speaking island off the coast of France. We’re travelling around in an on-demand electric vehicle – all booked, paid for and locked and unlocked with an app from our smart phones. We’re finding out about agricultural tech on a dairy farm – how the famous Jersey Cows, that produce premium milk - are being managed by the latest innovations and we’re also out in the fields where a host of sensors and data analytics are helping with the Jersey potato harvest. And if that is not enough we visit the remote control tower at St. Helier airport and see how remote airfields around the world are beginning to embrace this technology, pioneered on Jersey, to make flying to seldom used airports safer. Guests include: Gavin Breeze, Director of Evie, Air traffic controllers Marc Hill and Richard Mayne, Jersey Cow Girl Becky Houzé and Mike Renouard, Business Unit Director at the Jersey Royal Company. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Bill Thompson has a pre-interview chat with guest on Digital Planet. Credit: Ania Lichtarowicz / BBC)
14/09/2144m 16s

The Children’s Code protecting kids online

The so-called Children’s Code has just come into force in the UK. The Age-appropriate design code aims to protect children online by making digital services accessed by children comply with standards that safeguard children from being tracked and profiled. This includes toys, games and edtech but also social media and video sharing platforms. Changes have already been made by the likes of FB, TikTok and Instagram that will be implemented worldwide. Professor Sonia Livingstone from the LSE, a specialist in children’s digital rights, is on live. The rise of telemedicine in China China adopted a digital health code earlier this year and has seen a massive increase in the use of tech for healthcare since the start of the COVID pandemic. Reporter Yuan Ren explains how this rise is taking the pressure off the heavily burdened public healthcare system, despite higher costs to the patient but it’s also driving a demand for online doctors and changing the way the Chinese look after their health. China’s online gaming limits Our games correspondent Chris Berrow reports on the highly restrictive online gaming clampdown on teenagers announced by the Chinese authorities and how it could bring bigger problems for young people in the future. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image credit: Getty Images)
07/09/2142m 37s

Digital us

This week’s Digital Planet is something of a celebration, it's 20 years since the BBC World Service launched the programme. Originally entitled ‘Go Digital’, the programme has always been innovative. It was the first radio programme to generate digital video, and also launched podcasting. We look back over two decades at how technological innovation has changed global society. The programme began in an era where smartphones didn’t exist and the social media we know today had yet to be invented. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Tracey Logan, Alfred Hermida, Ghislaine Boddington, and the programme’s longest-serving contributor Bill Thompson. Producer: Julian Siddle (Image: Bill and Gareth meet bloggers in Delhi. Credit: Julian Siddle/BBC)
31/08/2147m 22s

Why the Taliban love social media

While the stereotype of the Afghan Taliban is that they lack sophistication, that certainly isn’t true for their online presence, which is geared to influence across many languages within Afghanistan and around the world. Adam Rutland co-founder of the Centre for Information Resilience looks at the effectiveness of their campaign and how they have learnt from both ISIS and Hamas. We also look at computer guided initiatives for understanding the working of the human brain. Alex Frangi and Ali Sarrami Foroushani from Leeds University have a model which can be used to do research which would be dangerous in real people. And Fern Luham reports on the technology she and other blind people can use around the home from practical devices to those that help with her social life. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington Studio Manager: Nigel Dix Producer: Julian Siddle (Image: Getty Images)
24/08/2146m 16s

Uganda, too much surveillance?

Uganda introduced an extensive CCTV network ostensibly to cut down on crime. Now there are plans to place trackers on every vehicle for similar reasons. However, critics see both measures as ineffective and open to abuse. They are particularly concerned over the use of such surveillance to spy on opponents of the government says Dorothy Mukasa from Unwanted Witness. And schoolchildren in Uganda have been enrolled to pilot a new device for rapid Malaria testing. Developed with local partners and the University of Glasgow it uses locally made 3d printed test materials married to a mobile phone both to power the test and collect the results. There’s potential for its use in detecting and analysing many diseases say Jonathan Cooper and Julien Reboud. And can’t get to school? No problem you can now take your lessons and exams via WhatsApp. That is if you’re enrolled in Zimbabwe’s Dr. Maxx WhatsApp school - run with considerable success by Maxwell Chimedza The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Julian Siddle (Image credit: Julian Siddle/BBC)
17/08/2143m 19s

Brazil’s Data Protection Law comes into force

Brazil’s Data Protection Law Brazil has started to enforce its data protection law with companies facing fines of up to $10m USD if they fail to comply. We’re speaking to the Director of the recently formed National Data Protection Authority, Miriam Wimmer, about how the legislation will protect the data of individuals and the impact on companies in Brazil. Twitter Disaster Bot As the clean-up operation following the floods in Henan province in central China continues Yuan Ren reports on the tech that has or hasn’t worked in preventing and managing these floods. We also hear about a disaster alerting twitter bot that’s been developed in Indonesia. Jakarta produces 2% of all tweets globally, it is also hit by a huge number of disasters, from flooding to earthquakes. The information people are tweeting about these disasters can now be collected into a real time map, PetaBencana or Disaster Map, with the help of a twitter bot. This bot recognises certain words associated with disasters, such as “flood”, and will respond to the sender to ask if they’d like to add the info onto the map. This real time map can help local residents and emergency services know what is happening on the ground. Director Nashin Mahtani told us more. Bitclout Harrison Lewis reports on a brand new form of social media. Bitclout is not a company, but a proof of work blockchain designed for running social media. A platform where you can speculate, buy and sell creator coins associated with the social media user, this could be a friend, influencer or high profile celeb like Elon Musk. To do so, you need to hold a token for the website, this is called Bitclout and can be bought with Bitcoin. In itself Bitclout is a native cryptocurrency. Even if you do make money though, you can’t retrieve it. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari. (Image: A hand holding a padlock in front of html code to illustrate online data protection Credit: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) Studio Manager: Nigel Dix Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
10/08/2142m 45s

How Jersey is leading tech development

This week we’re reporting from Jersey, somewhere that’s at the forefront of development for digital technology. Known for its financial tech it’s also leading the way in ecological and medical technology too. This digital innovation is supported by a commitment to connectivity on the Island. Every home and almost every commercial property in Jersey has had fibre broadband installed, and its internet speeds are some of the highest in the world. On top of this it has total 4G LTE coverage, and it was the first nation globally to achieve this . We’re joined by Tony Moretta, CEO of Digital Jersey, which is dedicated to growing the digital sector in Jersey. Nick Ogden, founder of Worldpay, who is currently developing frictionless atomic settlements which can move trillions of dollars around the world in milliseconds and Rebecca Curtis, Monitoring and Impact Officer for Jersey Overseas Aid, who are using technology to enable effective aid projects including major conservation work in southern Rwanda. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Digital Planet/BBC)
03/08/2146m 4s

IoT saves driver after kidnapping in Mexico

After a fleet driver was kidnapped whilst driving in Mexico, the technology he had in his car alerted emergency services. Artificial vision and in-cabin video were used to flag the event in real-time. Combining Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things technology sent the driver's location and video to the company's control centre who alerted law enforcement, allowing them to track him down and return him safely the same day. To find out more we spoke to Romil Bahl CEO of KORE Wireless the company behind the technology and Niv Yarimi CEO of KABAT, the fleet company whose driver was kidnapped. Protecting the Amazon from deforestation with tech Providing indigenous communities in the Amazon with technology, including satellite images, maps, smart phones and GPS, can reduce deforestation. Data delivered to remote communities on USB by couriers navigating the Amazon river enabled communities to monitor for forest loss. Connecting deforestation alerts with indigenous communities means local patrols can guide themselves to areas thought to be undergoing unauthorised deforestation. In turn this allows communities to defend their land from deforestation. Jessica Webb from Global Forest Watch tells us more. Neurorights in Chile Brain altering technology is becoming more sophisticated. Mostly developed to try and treat conditions including Parkinson's and epilepsy, there are concerns however about what might be created in the future. Could future smart devices in our homes read our thoughts? Chile hopes to protect neurorights through modification of their constitution. Jane Chambers reports. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Concept of technology of the future in safe driving by car. Credit: Igor Borisenko / Getty Images)
27/07/2136m 2s

Internet shutdowns in Latin America

As protests continue in Cuba, so do its internet shutdowns. Anti-government protesters are demonstrating against food shortages, power cuts and coronavirus restrictions. In response Cuban authorities have been shutting down internet connections in an attempt to stop protests. Meanwhile Venezuela is becoming known for its frequent online restrictions. David Aragort from Latin American tech rights NGO RedesAyuda updates us on what has been going on. The world’s first 3D printed smart bridge The world's first 3D-printed steel bridge has been unveiled in Amsterdam. Pedestrians can now use it to cross over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal. Sensors will continuously monitor how the bridge is used and its ongoing safety. This data will influence how other 3D-printed structures could be built in the future. Professor Leroy Gardner and Dr. Craig Buchanan from Imperial College’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering tell us more. Ecosystem soundscape monitoring with AI One way to monitor the health of an ecosystem is through sound. Anthea Lacchia reports on how scientists are using machine learning to monitor these ecosystem sounds. From Okinawa to Borneo, they can listen to the sounds of the forest without having to be physically present. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson Studio Manager: Nigel Dix Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Getty Images)
20/07/2147m 52s

Fighting for the right to repair

US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order asking the Federal Trade Commission to “limit powerful equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops or do DIY repairs”. This could mean manufacturers can no longer require repairs only be offered by themselves or through authorised retailers. Gay Gordon-Byrne, CEO of The Repair Association in the US, has been speaking about the impact this could have. Are public-funded cultural institutions falling behind in creating digital content and in danger of becoming irrelevant? A new report from the Serpentine Galleries, “Future Art Ecosystems: Art x Metaverse”, suggests that might be the case. While the Games Industry is ploughing huge amounts of money into developing the spatial decentralised web (web 3.0), cultural institutions are lagging behind. Kay Watson, Head of the Arts Technologies team at the Serpentine Galleries, tells us more about the tech they are using to be part of this new metaverse. It’s the 30th anniversary of the first public website. Composer Kieran Brunt is back to tell us about his latest creation. This new work explores how the internet has dramatically reshaped our lives over the past 30 years. Woven around personal stories Kieran Brunt features electronic and vocal elements that explore the impact the internet has had on all our lives. The full Virtual Symphony can be heard on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 18th July 2021. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington Studio Manager: Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Getty Images)
13/07/2142m 26s

Big tech platforms to protect women online

Four of the world’s biggest tech platforms are adopting a new set of commitments to tackle online abuse and improve women’s safety online. This is the first time there has been cross-industry collaboration on ways companies can address the issue. Web Foundation Senior Policy manager Azmina Dhrodia is on the show to explain how, while Azerbaijani journalist Arzu Geybulla tells us about some of the abuse she has received online. Wireless pacemaker that dissolves in the body A wireless pacemaker that can dissolve in the body has been created for patients who need only temporary help to regulate their heartbeat. Pacemakers can be used for short periods, especially after open heart surgery, but are associated with quite a few issues such as infection from leads or the dislodging of the power supply and damaging heart tissue on removal. Professor John Rogers from Northwestern University, Illinois in the US, has developed a battery-free pacemaker that can be implanted directly onto the surface of the heart and it can then be absorbed by the body when no longer needed. He’s on the programme to discuss the tech that made the invention possible. Reducing car pollution from tyres Future car pollution will mainly come from tyres, not the exhaust. Even now tyre and road wear pollution is one of the leading causes of microplastics in the air. Our reporter Jason Hosken has been investigating how technology can be used to reduce the harmful impacts of tiny tyre particles, that are released from vehicles as they drive along. (Image: Internet troll sending comment to picture on imaginary social media website with smartphone Credit: Tero Vesalainen/Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: John Boland Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
06/07/2145m 46s

YouTube’s rules silencing human rights activists

Why did YouTube take down video testimonies from family members of people imprisoned in China’s internment camps? To ensure the credibility of these videos, people show proof of identity. Now, YouTube says it has concerns that these people may be harassed. Eileen Guo, who reported the story for MIT Tech Review is on the show. Matter connecting our devices With so many smart devices in the home its incredibly frustrating that setting them up and connecting them to your house is so complicated. Now a new standard has been agreed. It’s called ‘Matter’ and the first Matter certified products are to be released at the end of this year. Tech journalist and IoT expert Stacey Higginbotham explains why this new standard will make smart devices much easier to use and much more secure. Sonic the Hedgehog is 30! The cute blue spikey hedgehog Sonic has been on our screens for 30 years. Digital Planet’s gaming reporter Chris Berrow has been finding out about the tech that made his design possible. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Getty Images)
29/06/2142m 33s

Bias in AI – what next?

Our own bias is becoming engrained in computer code. There is a huge amount of evidence showing that human bias and ignorance is encoded into our digitally driven world. The impact of this is unsurprisingly impacting the most vulnerable communities the hardest – decisions on health care, employment and even police surveillance are now being made very often by machines. But can anything be done to stop this bias from getting any worse and can the current bias be removed? As part the WebSci 2021 conference Digital Planet looks at what can be done by public bodies and the private sector to improve AI ethics. Joining us are Professor Lucy Hooberman, Professor Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Dr. Rumman Chowdhury and Dr. Margaret Mitchell. (Image: Getty Images) The programme is presenter by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Bill Thompson Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
22/06/2141m 3s

Bitcoin’s environmental cost

El Salvador has voted to recognise bitcoin as legal tender, and there is a great deal of interest globally in digital currencies that provide an alternative to cash. However mining bitcoin, the intensive computation needed to claim ownership of new Bitcoins, uses vast amounts of electricity – more than many countries produce. Currently most of this energy is supplied from traditional fossil fuel sources rather than renewables. Larisa Yarovaya from Southampton Business school discusses whether Bitcoin is really worth the environmental cost. Drones for surveying disaster areas with cameras have been around for a while , but now researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing, and Ergonomics have revealed a drone based system that can listen to the environment and pinpoint people who may be in distress following floods or earthquakes. Researcher Macarena Varela describes the drone and its microphone array. And lidar, the survey method which used lasers to reveal topographic detail is now finding a use in mapping Rio De Janero’s Favelas. These areas of informal housing developed in largely unplanned ways, but a wider understanding of their geography might help those who live there access essential services. The lidar survey has the advantage of being conducted without revealing the inhabitants personal information say MIT researchers Arianna Salazar Miranda and Claire Gorman. (Image: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari Studio Manager: Sue Maillot Producer: Julian Siddle
15/06/2146m 54s

NFT? That’ll do nicely

‘Non-fungible tokens’ are a kind of digital asset that can be bought and sold. They have captured the imagination of many artists. Art pieces can be given a digital identity as an NFT. However, they have also been used to successfully sell viral videos. Musician Imogen Heap has released a number of works to be auctioned as NFTs Tim Shaw from Endlesss is working with artists who see NFTs as a useful way to market their work. And hyper-reality meets traditional art in the form of opera. A new immersive experience has been pioneered by London’s Royal Opera House, placing the audience firmly in the centre of the production as our reporter Hannah Fisher discovered. Which web browser do you use? Does it matter? Most browsers now rely on the same underlying technology, but Firefox is different. It's one of the favourites of computer engineers but has been losing market share. There are concerns that the growing sameness of browser technology could have a negative impact on the web. As Firefox relaunches we speak to their Senior Vice President Selena Deckelmann, (Image: First NFT. Credit ImogenHeapxEndlesss) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Producer: Julian Siddle
08/06/2137m 46s

WhatsApp v Indian government

India has brought in stringent new laws that WhatsApp says will force it to break its end-to-end encryption. In a social media chat that’s been forwarded by multiple users, the new rules require the person who originated and shared that message, to be traced. And that’s a big problem for WhatsApp, a service that’s built itself around privacy. Gareth talks to Mishi Choudhary of the Software Freedom Law Centre about the regulations and the potential impact beyond India. After the new zombie heist film, Army of the Dead, had wrapped, the lead actor, Chris D’Elia, who played the part of an all-action helicopter pilot, was digitally removed from the movie, after he found himself the subject of serious allegations, which he denies. Edited in was Tig Notaro, another actor. Maxim Thompson explains how this remarkable cut and paste job was done. There’s a new way of driving a games controller, answering a phone or reading a text, using the inside of your ear. It works because many of us, without even realising it, can control a tiny muscle in our ear called the tensor timpani. Roland Pease has been trying out this prototype technology with Nick Gompertz, director of Earswitch (Image: An advertisement from WhatsApp seen in a newspaper at a stall in New Delhi. Credit: Sajjad Hussain /AFP via Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Studio Manager: Nigel Dix Producer: Deborah Cohen
01/06/2139m 1s

The first African voice assistant

Speech smart assistants currently do not support any African language, but now Mozilla’s Common Voice project is building a dataset for Kiswahili which is spoken by more than a 100 million people in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. They have just been awarded almost $5m for the project. Remy the community lead at Common Voice Kinyarwanda and Chenai chair special adviser for Africa Innovation at the Mozilla Foundation tells us more about the work. Federated Learning As more of our data is processed through machine learning systems, Dr Nic Lane, of the Cambridge Computer Laboratory, explains a new way of processing and using our data without the need to send it through data centres. One solution to reduce the impact is federated learning – where data is processed on the edge, on your device, rather than being centralised. Not only does this reduce the environmental impact of computing, but it also has benefits for privacy and opens up opportunities for data sharing between companies. Electronic VR socks Reporter Claire Jordan has been investigating a novel approach to “walking” in a virtual reality. Existing ways are expensive and need considerable space to function, as well as having a less than satisfactory user experience. A new technology being developed by Professor Yusuke Matsuda of Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan could expand the reach of immersive VR movement to a much wider audience and deliver a better user experience than current solutions. The user wears electronic socks that create the feeling of walking in VR even though the user is sitting down. This could allow users to spend much longer in VR and also allow people with mobility issues to move around more freely, and possibly feel as though they are moving, in VR. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Mozilla’s Common Voice project. Credit: Mozilla) (Image: Mozilla’s Common Voice project. Credit: Mozilla)
25/05/2138m 43s

WhatsAppening with pandemic misinformation?

More than 100 million people worldwide have interacted with Covid-19 misinformation since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a new study in PLOS One. We speak to Professor David Nemer, from the University of Virginia, to explain the impact of social media misinformation in Brazil – What’s App’s number one market. As he tells Gareth Mitchell, Covid myths and untruths are spread easily with no consequences to those behind the lies. Tracking your face online Dr Stephanie Hare joins live to discuss the implications of AI facial recognition site, PimEyes, affecting privacy and safety. The current lack of regulation allows such software to be used by anyone – and means we are likely to see more services like this emerge in the near future – but are there steps individuals can take to stop AIs recognising their face? Why PS5 is still out of stock The pandemic has had wide reaching impacts on the manufacture of computer chips, leading to a shortage of the component used in many devices. This means that 6 months since the release of the PS5 many consumers are still waiting for a device – but that is just one product – cars, mobile devices, and even the 5G roll out are also impacted, with their production delayed. (Image: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington Studio Manager: Nigel Dix Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
18/05/2142m 47s

Urgent calls for mandatory recycling of e-waste

Pascal Leroy, Director General of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Forum joins us live to discuss their report on a proposed recycling framework for critical raw materials – CEWASTE – and why recycling critical raw materials from circuit boards, neodymium magnets, fluorescent lights and batteries is essential for the long-term sustainability of electronic manufacture. Geek TV Stephen Cass, senior editor of IEEE spectrum, explains how he has repurposed an old CRT TV to display his favourite web pages using a Raspberry Pi and a bit of python code. We also discuss the importance of the maker movement and the right to repair laws coming into force later this summer. Apple vs. Epic Our Games Correspondent Chris Berrow, delves into the detail of the Apple vs Epic lawsuit, with Epic asking if Apple's control over the App Store is anti-competitive, by only allowing in-app purchases through the store and taking a 30% cut of the sales? If Epic wins, this could have huge implications for the games industry, and potentially make in-app purchases considerably cheaper. (Image: Electronic waste. Credit: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari Studio Managers: John Boland and Bob Nettles Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
11/05/2148m 11s

Tech does not impact teenage mental health

There is little association between tech use and mental health problems in teenagers, according to a new study by the Oxford Internet Institute. Lead author Dr Matti Vuorre explains how they analysed data from 430,000 UK and US teenagers and found little or no associations between adolescents’ tech use and mental health problems. But he says the data they were using is limited. Ideally, he wants to use the data that big tech companies hold on our tech use. The findings are published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science. Africa Teen Geeks and Africa Tech Week Founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, Lindiwe Matlali, discusses her work in technology education and improving access for African children. During the pandemic she set up online schooling for South Africa, reaching over 600,000 children, and is working with Unicef to improve access to coding and robotics education across the continent. She also runs the ‘Knit2Code’ scheme that teaches women python coding through knitting, empowering mothers and grandmothers to support their daughters’ technology education. AI colourisation of historical photos Gwen Katz, a historical novelist and games designer, explains the problems of colourising historical photos. To test the efficacy of colourisation AI she compared the artificial colourisation of black and white photos with their colour originals and found that the bright colours of the original images were lost when colourised by an algorithm. Marta Mrak from BBC R&D discusses how the problem of loss of colours is being solved, by providing the algorithms with reference images, as well as future challenges for designing neural networks to colourise film. Presenter: Gareth Mitchell With expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Two girls wearing face masks looking at their phone. Credit: Getty Images)
04/05/2135m 10s

Indians tweeting for oxygen

The latest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic affecting India has caused heart-breaking shortages of essential medical equipment across the country. As hospitals run out of beds and basic supplies like oxygen, citizens are turning to sites like Twitter and Instagram to source medicines, exchange knowledge and hold the government accountable. Ananya Bhattacharya from Quartz India explains how social media has influenced the response to the pandemic. Illegal Brick Kilns in Bangladesh In Bangladesh, the brick making industry provides thousands of jobs and supports the country’s rapid industrialisation – but the kilns used to make the bricks can be heavily polluting. Laws aim to mitigate the environmental and health impacts, but many brick factories have not implemented these changes. Dr Nina Brooks and her research team at Stanford University have developed an AI model that uses satellite imagery to identify which kilns are operating illegally, and hope that it can be used to encourage more factories to abide by the law. EU and AI regulation This week the EU Commission published proposals to ban “AI systems considered a clear threat to the safety, livelihoods, and rights of people” and to increase the legal regulations of biometric data, such as facial recognition software. Technology journalist and independent researcher Dr. Stephanie Hare joins the show live to explain the proposals and their likely impacts in Europe and across the world. (Image: Instagram) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
27/04/2146m 39s

Malware on mobiles

16% of mobile phones in emerging markets like Brazil Indonesia, South Africa and Thailand are infected with malware, compared to 2.6% globally, according to a new report by the mobile anti-fraud firm Upstream. The company looked at one billion mobile phone transactions in 23 emerging markets covering nearly 840 million users. One mobile device in Brazil tried to make almost 16000 purchases from an app in just one month. CEO of Upstream Dimitris Maniatis explains their findings. Tech under the ice sheet The cryoegg, is a small device that monitors the most extreme of environments, streams of ice-cold water flowing under glaciers. It's a rugged device that wirelessly transmits data back to the surface of a glacier from one and a half kilometres below the ice. Dr. Mike Prior-Jones and Dr. Liz Bagshaw from Cardiff University are using the device to monitor glaciers in Greenland. Indoor Solar Cells We live in a world with more and more smart devices in our homes and, of course, all of them need electricity. A potential way to supply that power is via the lights we use indoors. A recent paper shows that there are new, environmentally friendly, and safe materials that could help make this a reality. Digital Planet reporter Florian Bohr found out more. (Image: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington Studio Managers: Bob Nettles and Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
20/04/2147m 30s

Overcoming internet shutdowns in Myanmar

Internet shutdowns continue in Myanmar and now two new reports show the impact these have had. Top10VPN estimates these have cost the country’s economy more than $1bn, while cybersecurity firm Recorded Future Inc. has confirmed how people are still trying to connect with each other using Bluetooth and messaging apps like Bridgefy as well as accessing the dark web. Samuel Woodhams, Digital Rights Lead from Top10VPN, is on the show to tell us what they’ve observed. Vietnam water salinity app The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched an app in Vietnam to help rice farmers save their crops. High salt levels in the water channels between fields can now be monitored remotely and results sent to farmers’ mobile phones. High salt levels can destroy an entire annual rice crop so the app is significantly improving yields. Kisa Mfalila, Regional Climate and Environment Specialist for Asia and the Pacific region at IFAD, explains how the app works. Computer Modelling of the Canon of English Literature The Canon of English Literature – the books that are considered to be worthy of studying - are overwhelmingly written by white men, with books written by female novelists often considered less literary in comparison. Now, a new project “Novel Perceptions: Towards an Inclusive Canon” aims to use computer modelling to investigate the public’s reading preferences. It's led by Professor Sebastian Groes from the University of Wolverhampton, who has just launched a Reader Review survey asking for responses to 400 recent novels. The novels will also undergo computer analysis that will look at sentence length, vocabulary and grammar difficulty to see if an algorithm can identify a best seller. (Image: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Nigel Dix Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
13/04/2142m 16s

Phones sending data every 4.5 minutes

Our smartphones are sharing data every four and a half minutes according to research from Trinity College Dublin. Telemetry, automated recording and transmission of data, from Apple and Android devices back to these company’s servers is going on even if the phone is only used to make calls. Professor Douglas Leith is on the programme and explains that even when a user has logged out of sending telemetry or they are not logged on, data is still being transmitted. R.U.R. versus Q.U.R. The 1921 play Rossum’s Universal Robots (R.U.R.) by Karel C̆apek gave rise to the term “robot,” but the 1941 short story Quinby’s Usuform Robots (Q.U.R.) by Anthony Boucher more accurately reflects today’s robots says Professor Robin Murphy from Texas A&M University. Robin, herself a disaster robotics specialist, is on the show to discuss how these two different ideas developed in very different social and political climates and what we can learn from both these Sci-fi stories. Virtual Stadium Noise If you've been watching sport in the last few months you may have noticed that stadiums are almost empty. But when you watch the game, it's very likely that you will hear a crowd cheering the players on. So what's going on? It looks like broadcasters are turning to video games, for the sound of the crowd. Our reporter Chris Berrow has been finding out. (Image credit: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
06/04/2149m 11s

China’s online restrictions increase

The Chinese government’s highly restricted approach to online freedom of expression has intensified during the COVID pandemic – not surprising maybe, but the implication of this on Chinese citizens and countries across Asia is significant. That’s one of the findings of research published by Chatham House. Harriet Moynihan, from the International Law Programme at Chatham House, is one of the authors of the paper and joins us on the show. Cellulose Electronic Thread For electronic textiles to enter the market on a large scale they need to be sustainable. Now scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed thread made from conductive cellulose, which can be threaded through a sewing machine. The sewn garments can even be washed in a machine. Sustainable wearable tech would massively reduce electronic waste and could also lead to better healthcare monitoring eg blood pressure or heart rate of the person wearing the smart clothes. Sozan Darabi explains how they developed the thread and how she had to use her sewing skills to create the outfits. Evil Corp – the board game of tech giants Fancy becoming a tech billionaire who can save the world? Well you can by playing a new board game called “Evil Corp”. The game allows you to play as one of 6 Evil CEO billionaires intent on accruing billions of dollars and start-ups. The aim is to “Save the World, No Matter the Cost”. The games’ inventor Alfie Dennon says he wants us to think about the power tech tycoons have over our everyday lives online, in how we shop, work and play. Image: Chinese flag displayed on laptop screen, plus smartphone with block symbol displayed Credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producers: Emil Petrie and Ania Lichtarowicz
30/03/2153m 30s

AI chatbot takes witness statements

Court cases can collapse due to unreliable witness statements. These are often taken some time after the crime has happened – but what if it was possible to take a witness statement very quickly using AI chatbots? Dr Julia Shaw is on the programme discussing her latest research into using an AI chatbot in reporting harassment in the workplace. Not only are statements taken more quickly, they are done better by a machine than a person, as people can interrupt, misinterpret, judge or incorrectly record statements. The AI chatbot sticks to a script and allows the witness to do the same. Machine learning to understand Tinnitus AI is helping to advance research into tinnitus, a condition often described as a ringing, buzzing or hissing in the ears, which affects up to 1 in 5 adults. Clinicians currently have no objective means of diagnosing tinnitus and must rely on the accounts of people living with the condition. But machine learning algorithms, combined with brain imaging techniques, are allowing scientists to develop a clinical tool to measure tinnitus objectively. Anthea Lacchia reports. Women’s Engineering Society Prize Shrouk El-Attar describes herself as an Electronics Engineer, a bellydancer, an LGBTQ+ campaigner and refugee. She is the winner of the WES Prize IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award, to add to a multitude of prizes she has already received. She’s helped design a pelvic floor trainer - a treatment for incontinence - and is redesigning the breast pump to allow women to express their milk much more easily and quietly. Gareth finds out what inspires her and more about the tech she designs. The programme was presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Image: AI chatbot Credit: tadamichi/iStock Getty Images Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz and Emil Petrie
23/03/2144m 43s

Is Bitcoin energy use unsustainable?

It seems that the price of Bitcoin cannot stop increasing, but how sustainable is Bitcoin itself? With such huge energy demands to keep Bitcoin mined, are some countries risking the stability of their electricity supplies to take advantage of the Bitcoin boom? Financial economist and founder of the blog “Digiconomist”, Alex de Vries is on the show to answer these questions. He says, in his paper published in the journal Joule, that the entire Bitcoin blockchain network consumes as much energy per year as all data centres across the world. Access to the internet – affordability and lack of infrastructure still a major barrier It’s the web’s 32nd birthday, yet its creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned that too many young people cannot connect and that the digital gap has widened during the pandemic. His comments come just after the latest ITU/A4AI report into the affordability of the internet, which found that nearly half of people with 4G coverage are not online as it’s too expensive to connect. A4AI’s Executive Director Sonia Jorge returns to the show to discuss the latest figures. TBL also called for a global push to connect young people. The WebFoundation has announced a list of global web champions, and one of them, Ian Mangenga from South Africa, joins us on the show to talk about her project Digital Girl Africa. (Hi)Story of a Painting (Hi)Story of a Painting is a new animated VR series to be premiered at the SXSW Online festival. The five episodes take the viewer on a journey through iconic paintings and tell the stories behind them; the artist’s practice, struggles and successes. The series’ co-creator Gaëlle Mourre, is on the programme to discuss how she created this gaze tech-led immersive experience, and made it safe to view in our own homes during lockdown. Image: Mining rigs of super computer inside the bitcoin factory ‘Genesis Farming’ near Reykjavik, Iceland Credit: Photo by HALLDOR KOLBEINS/AFP via Getty Images The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
16/03/2143m 58s

The cost of bias in AI fintech

We’ve been discussing bias in AI on the programme for more than a year now but what is the actual cost of it? KPMG is publishing a report, commissioned by the fintech company Finastra, which examines the size of global consumer lending markets and the potential impact of algorithmic bias in money lending decisions. Amber Sappington, Head of Data & Analytics at Finastra, discusses the potential problems and why there’s an urgency for the industry to acknowledge the problem and act on it. Problematic Smartphone Use ‘Smartphone addiction’ has been in the news, following the publication of a new study by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience Library at King’s in London. However, ‘Smartphone addiction’ is not a recognised medical condition. Gareth speaks with Dr Nicky Kalk, one of the authors of the study, about problematic smartphone use, and if it will be recognised as an illness. Virtually Shakespeare The Royal Shakespeare Company, the Philharmonia and Epic Games are amongst 15 organisations who are premiering a new live performance of “Dream” (which was inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream) using motion capture to tell the story of Puck. The aim is to create a shared live experience between a remote audience and a group of physical performers where the live audience can directly influence the world of the actors. Unlike a regular live stream, audiences will play an active role in world-building and the wider storytelling experience, as they would in any gaming environment. Reporter Hannah Fisher has more. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary by Ghislaine Boddington. Studio Manager: John Boland Producers: Emil Petrie and Ania Lichtarowicz Image: Young woman uses digital tablet on virtual visual screen at night Credit: dowell/Moment/Getty Images
09/03/2139m 55s

Will algorithms always be biased?

Will there ever be equality in machine learning technology or will our cultural biases continue to be reflected in algorithms? Dr. Sandra Wachter from the Oxford Internet Institute argues in her latest research that data bias is unavoidable because of the current bias within western culture. How we now try and negate that bias in AI is critical if we are ever to ensure that this technology meets current legislation like EU non-discrimination law. She’s on the programme to discuss how we make real progress in AI equality. This research has come from the Oxford Internet Institute, whose Incoming Director is also on the show – Professor Victoria Nash tells us of her plans in the new role. EdTech in Malawi A programme which allows seven year olds to have three lessons a week on ipads in Malawi is narrowing the learning gap between girls and boys. With an average class size of around 60 pupils with one teacher, young girls are often left behind and drop out of formal education, but with this individual approach many more are staying on in school. The programme is so successful it is now being rolled out to hundreds of schools, with the hope of going nationwide. Director for Education, Youth and Sports Lucia Chidalengwa of Education, Youth and Sports in Malawi’s Ntcheu district explains why this approach is so successful. Online learning via your games console With COVID cases rising in many countries and some regions even facing a third wave of the pandemic, many children around the world will continue to learn remotely – but what if there is no computer or laptop for them to use at home? How about converting a games console into an online school workstation? Reporter Chris Berrow shows you how to do it by powering up his games console and getting online to learn. (Image: Getty images:) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producers: Emil Petrie and Ania Lichtarowicz
02/03/2141m 48s

Facebook reverses ban on news in Australia

Tech giant Facebook blocked news content across its Australian platform last Thursday on account of a proposed law which would enforce some firms to pay news publishers for use and distribution of their information. Nearly a week later the government has agreed to amend the law and negotiate the value of this content. Tech reporter Angharad Yeo in Australia returns to the show to discuss the new law and how it could be seen as a test case for online regulation across the globe. Can AI be a playwright? To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Czech playwright Karel Čapek’s production R.U.R. in which the word ‘robot was first used, Prague's Švanda Theatre, working alongside, are set to present a play written entirely by AI, exploring the everyday life of a robot. Reporter Hannah Fisher speaks to Tomáš Studeník, Czech radical innovator, computational linguist Rudolf Rosa and drama expert David Košťák about their upcoming project set to air on 26th February. Robo Squid and Jellyfish Engineers have developed a robotic squid that propels itself with pulses of water at the natural resonance of the robot. By using the resonance frequency that the robot naturally has they increased its speed without increasing energy consumption – a trick used by a number of animals in nature. Dr. Nicole Xu, who is researching and creating robotic jellyfish, is on the programme to explain how this technique could allow for much better exploration and monitoring of our oceans. (Image credit: European Pressphoto Agency) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
23/02/2150m 24s

Comparing the landscape of Mars to Earth

‘With every new view from the surface of Mars comes a reminder of just how fortunate we are to live on Earth.’ Acclaimed science writer and filmmaker Dr Chris Riley uses images from the landing sites on Mars to compare relative locations on Earth. Hear how you might be able to help. Old Tech Our Digital Planet social media community is a-buzz with stories of old technology, and the role you have had in technological history. Several listeners share their experiences with expert opinion from the curator of Technology and Engineering at the Science Museum Dr Rachel Boon. Wearable Thermoelectric Batteries Thermoelectric technologies are able to generate electricity by manipulating heat differences, but they are usually bulky and fragile. Dr Jianliang Xiao, and his team based in Colorado, discuss advancements in material composition that have led to the creation of a self-healing and recyclable battery with the potential to power wearable devices. (Image: NASA) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producers: Harrison Lewis and Hannah Fisher Editor: Deborah Cohen
16/02/2143m 38s

Wikipedia’s new universal code of conduct

Wikipedia introduces its first universal code of conduct in an attempt to combat aggressive behaviour towards marginalised and ethnic communities. Some editors believe this code will hinder the grassroots of the website. Dr. Jessica Wade of Imperial College London discusses her own experiences whilst attempting to promote awareness of women in science. Open Banking launches in Brazil Seven years into a recession, how will open banking in Brazil help to reboot the economy? This month changes in regulation will support open banking and encourage the growth of Fintech. We speak to Ricardo Taveira, CEO of Quanto, a platform that has received $15 million USD in funding to aid open banking and aims to connect digital and traditional banks by sharing user’s financial data. Cybersecurity and digital identity This week in our series on the cybersecurity threats of the future: digital identity. What does our digital identity consist of? How will our personal information be stored, protected and shared and why does it pose such a cybersecurity risk? Florian Bohr reports. (Image: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producers: Harrison Lewis and Deborah Cohen
09/02/2142m 8s

Internet shutdowns in Myanmar and India

Internet services are returning to normal in Myanmar following a partial shutdown after the military took power over the weekend following their accusations of election fraud. In India though, the internet remains down in New Delhi and some surrounding regions as farmer’s protests continue. Mishi Choudhary, founder of the Software Freedom Law Centre in New Delhi, updates us on the situation. Should Google pay for News content? Following the threat by Google Australia that it could pull out of the country if new conditions are imposed forcing it to pay for News published in Australia, we speak with Angharad Yeo, tech reporter and the voice behind the “Queens of the Drone Age” podcast on what the row is about, the latest developments and how it might impact users in Australia. Cybersecurity and Quantum Computing This week in our series on the cybersecurity threats of the future: Quantum Computing. These new types of computers use the laws of quantum physics and are fundamentally different from our current computers. They are powerful machines – perhaps too powerful for the way we currently protect our data. What can we do about it? Florian Bohr has been finding out more. (Image: A young woman reads her mobile phone in front of a poster proposing an access to Internet. Credit: Thierry Falise/LightRocket via Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Producers: Deborah Cohen and Ania Lichtarowicz
02/02/2144m 7s

Loon Balloon internet deflated

Loon Balloon internet deflated. Also Rabies vaccinations in Malawi – how tech is eliminating the disease in dogs and Cybersecurity and AI. Alphabet, Google’s parent company has announced it’s winding down Project Loon. Hundred’s of high altitude balloons carrying miniature mobile phone towers were to drift around the globe providing internet connectivity to very remote regions. Digital Planet has been following the project from its first trials in 2013 and even visited one of their base stations in Kenya. We discuss why it didn’t succeed. Rabies vaccinations in Malawi – how tech is eliminating the disease in dogs Vaccinating dogs is the best way of reducing human deaths from rabies, but getting a minimum of 70% of dogs vaccination in an area (the coverage needed to eliminate the disease in the dogs) is very time consuming and costly. Now a new app, along with detailed data-driven analysis, has led to halving the time it takes to vaccinate dogs as well as significantly reducing costs and the workload for vets. Dr. Stella Mazeri, from Edinburgh University, is on the show explaining how their data-based approach has been so successful in Malawi. Cybersecurity and AI In the second of his reports on cybersecurity threats of the future Florian Bohr looks at artificial intelligence. Apparently, hackers are starting to use machine learning to attack systems more effectively. On the flipside, cybersecurity professionals are depending on AI more and more to control and defend their systems but who will prevail? The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: A Google Project Loon internet balloon. Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam)
26/01/2148m 27s

Online manipulation on a global scale

Social media influence by governments and political parties is a growing threat to democracies according to the 2020 media manipulation survey from the Oxford Internet Institute. In the last year social media manipulation campaigns have been recorded in 81 countries, up from 70 countries in 2019 and most of the countries involved have deployed disinformation campaigns. The main author of the report, Dr. Samantha Bradshaw is on the show. GPS Grazing Collars How do you control where your animals graze if you can’t fit a fence to keep them contained to a certain area? Use a GPS grazing collar. This technology has been developed by Norwegian firm NoFence and uses GPS to track individual animals and stop them crossing boundaries that have been progammed using a mapping app on a smart phone. The collars emit a bleeping noise that gets louder as animals reach a virtual fence and will receive a small electric shock if they cross it (this is much smaller than one from an electric fence). Electric fences are expensive and difficult to fit in remote terrains and these GPS collars allow farmers to regularly change their grazing sites. We hear about the tech from UK manager of NoFence Synne Foss Budal and about the conservation benefits from Emma Wright from North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty who is trailing the collars in their upland pastures. Ubiquitous Connectivity and cybersecurity Late last year the World Economic Forum and the University of Oxford, released a report on the future of cybersecurity. They identified four emerging technology trends that could endanger security in the digital world within the next 5 to 10 years. In a series of reports Digital Planet’s Florian Bohr looks into each of these cybersecurity threats of the future. This week, we hear about how the sheer amount of digital connections between devices, services, and people is an inherent cybersecurity risk. (Image: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari Studio Manager: John Boland Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
19/01/2143m 49s

Has tech been compromised in the US Capitol?

Following the events at the US Capitol this week, photos have emerged on social media showing protestors in offices where what appear to be emails can be seen on screen. Also with access to these offices, could protestors have downloaded sensitive data or compromised the tech in some way? Some cybersecurity experts are even questioning if the whole IT system should be replaced. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai from Vice Motherboard explains the possible risks. Internet shutdown costs in 2020 The website Top10VPN has released its annual report into the costs of internet shutdowns in 2020. They’ve found the economic cost of internet shutdowns in 2020 was $4.01bn, 50% lower than in 2019, however the total duration of disruptions around the world was up 49% from the previous year. One of the report’s authors, Samuel Woodhams, joins us live. The tech that helped bring back the first asteroid samples to Earth The first asteroid samples have reached Earth thanks to some amazing engineering and technology. Chris Edge, Digital Planet listener and IT and communications technician was one of the team that tracked the incoming capsule containing the samples from the asteroid Ryugu so that it could be recovered in the Australian desert. (Image: Pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol. Credit: Probal Rashid via Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Studio Manager: Donald MacDonald. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
12/01/2141m 47s

Blindness in the digital age

Smartphone apps and other digital technologies have completely changed the lives of visually impaired and blind people around the world. This special programme on blindness and digital technology takes us through some of the tech responsible. Motivational speaker Fern Lulham narrates her trip to the shops with her guide-dog Nancy, talking us through the different apps that she uses to help her find her keys, navigate there, and even colour match her clothes. She joins us live. Presenter Gareth speaks with an Ophthalmologist in Delhi, India who is helping to train visually impaired people about how smartphone apps like ‘Be My Eyes’ can improve their independence and quality of life. We meet Brian Mwenda, the Kenyan inventor of the Fourth Eye and the Sixth Sense, two inexpensive, touch-based echo-location technologies that will help to give cheap and high-quality help with mobility for people with visual impairments around the world. (Image: Brian Mwiti Mwenda - Hope Tech Plus) Presenter: Gareth MitchellStudio Expert: Bill Thompson Producer: Rory Galloway
05/01/2140m 19s

The best tech stories of 2020

This week Digital Planet looks back on some of the stories we’ve covered in 2020; electricity from Lake Kivu on the Rwandan/DRC border, internet shutdowns across the world, contact tracing apps during the pandemic and how technology has changed digital death rituals and allowed us to grieve. The programme is presenter by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington, Angelica Mari and Bill Thompson. (Image credit: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Bob Nettles Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
29/12/2043m 4s

Solar grid brings power to Yemen

A solar farm, set and run by women in the Abs district of Yemen is providing cleaner and cheaper electricity to families. Arvind Kumar is Project Manager in the Yemen Country Office of the United Nations Development Programme. He is overseeing the programme and joins us on the show. Tackling climate change with data A global initiative to satellite observations, sensors across land and sea, commercial data sets and even citizen observations from our mobile phones is gathering momentum. Now the UNEP is highlighting environmental data as essential combatting climate change. David Jensen, Head of Policy and Innovation, Crisis Management Branch, UN Environment explains their plans. Smelltech In the world of virtual reality, companies normally focus on images and sound to create the most immersive experience. But there is a new kid on the block: olfactory VR. Companies now seek to capture one of our more neglected senses and recreate smell in a virtual environment. Digital Planet reporter Florian Bohr has been finding out more. The programme is presenter by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. (Image: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Matilda Macari Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
22/12/2042m 1s

Dispelling COVID-19 vaccine myths online

Thousands of people in the UK have now received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinations have just started in Canada, yet despite promotion from the government, a recent survey shows many people are reluctant to have it. Part of this hesitation is due to misinformation and vaccine myths on social media. Anna-Sophie Harling Managing Director for Europe at NewsGuard– the trust tool web extension provider – talks about their special report on top COVID-19 vaccine myths online. Many of these myths have been circulating online for months so how can governments dispel these falsehoods and convince their populations to be vaccinated? God of Mars PKGE: Production has just started on the world’s first feature-length film to be shot with video game technology. “Gods of Mars” uses something called “the Unreal Engine”, which is normally used to make games like Fortnite and Gears of War. But this time it’s creating all the film’s special effects and virtual environments… from rocket ships to robots! It’s hoped that this kind of technology could save film-makers huge amounts of money. Chris Berrow has been taking a look for us. Data Action In her new book, “Data Action,” Associate Professor Sarah Williams from MIT issues a call for thinking ethically about data today. She’s on the programme to warn of the possibilities of using data for bias and segregation and how we need to learn to see the value behind the numbers. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. (Image: Getty Images) Studio Manager: John Boland Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
15/12/2043m 32s

Is the internet affordable where you live?

Malaysia, Rwanda and Columbia are amongst the countries where it is cheapest to get online, according to the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) 2020 Affordability Report. A4AI Director Sonia Jorge explains how despite broadband prices having fallen by half in five years, the cost to connect remains one of the biggest barriers to internet access - over one billion people live in countries where data is still not affordable. India sharing economy during COVID Just before the spring global lockdown our reporter Snezana Curcic travelled around India using only sharing economy platforms, for her transport, accommodation and eating out as she wanted to experience India first-hand. Her report somewhat changed from the original idea. Snezana catches up with the people she met to find out how they’ve adapted their use of the sharing economy during the pandemic. Prayer app data danger Over the last few weeks dedicated religious apps have had serious data breaches or have sold the data of their subscribers to other parties who have then sold them onto third parties like the US military. How concerned should users be – is this just another data privacy issue for app users or could it have more significant and dangerous implications for those concerned? Stephanie Hare joins us on the programme to unravel the many issues concerning these apps. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. (Image: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Tim Heffer Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
08/12/2041m 20s

Almost two-thirds of the world’s population now online

The Digital Intelligence Index (DII) has calculated that almost two-thirds of the world’s population is now online. The newly published report analyses 12 years of data to map 90 economies and over 95% of the world’s population to report on countries’ progress advancing their digital economies. Bhaskar Chakravorti, the dean of global business at Fletcher, The Graduate School of Global Affairs at Tufts University, led the research and is on the show. VR/AR personal data safety and identification Do you like playing video games in VR or perhaps take part in AR arts shows? Well if you do you may want to ask what is happening with your personal data – not your name or your age but the way you move. Research from Stanford University shows that it’s possible to identify someone from the way they walk in VR in just minutes. Professor Jeremy Bailenson has also looked at identifying medical conditions from our behaviour in VR – is it now possible to be anonymous in these environments and also to keep our very personal data safe? Keeping an eye on your waste The way we sort our recycling could be about to change, and all thanks to a sensor that mimics the relationship between the human eye and brain. Engineers at UK start-up RecyclEye have combined low-cost camera technology with a machine learning system to give waste sorting an intelligence boost. Digital Planet reporter Jack Monaghan finds out how this new technology might make rubbish a thing of the past, with sound engineering by Robert Moutrey. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. (Image: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
01/12/2049m 11s

Increase in stalkerware installations

New data shows an increase in stalkerware use. This is software that grants a remote user the ability to monitor the activity on another user’s device without their consent, and can be preloaded in technology given as gifts. It’s an increasing problem around the world according to the cybersecurity form Kaspersky. Tara Hairston from Kaspersky and Sachiko Hasumi, Manager of Information Security & Compliance at UN Women highlight the growing problem as part of the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women this week. Robots are not immune to bias and injustice An editorial in Science Robotics is calling on roboticists and AI developers to consider racial biases and inequalities when developing new technology. Professor Ayanna Howard who co-leads the organisation “Black in Robotics” wants the robotics community to welcome and employ a more racially diverse workforce as current developers do not reflect the global population and both robotics and AI are therefore being developed without many people in mind. Military tech adapted to find the blue whales of South Georgia Scientists who have discovered the return of critically endangered Antarctic blue whales to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia - 50 years after whaling all but wiped them out - used military sonobuoys to track the animals. This tech is usually deployed from aircraft into the sea to track submarines. The team looked at 30 years of data – reports of sightings, photographs and underwater sea recordings – to track the world’s largest mammal back to these waters. The new study follows recent research that humpback whales are also returning to the region. Lead author of the study, Susannah Calderan of the Scottish Association for Marine Science explains how they are using sonobuoys to track blue whales hundreds of miles away. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. (Image: Getty Images) Studio manager: John Boland Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
24/11/2043m 32s

Video games can be good for you

Playing video games is positively linked with wellbeing according research from the Oxford Internet Institute. The new study is the first of its kind as, instead of asking players how much they play, it uses industry data on actual play time for popular video games EA's Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The study suggests that experiences of competence and connecting with others through playing the games may contribute to people’s wellbeing – however if you already are in a bad mood, playing video games is not going to improve your mood! Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, explains the findings. Underwater navigation 'solved' GPS does not work underwater and powering location devices so they can emit sound with batteries is not practical in wet environments. This means that locating animals and robots underwater is not easy. Now though a team at MIT may have found a solution that uses sound for navigation and by reflecting signals from the underwater environment doesn't need batteries. Possible applications include marine conservation, climate data gathering and mapping the ocean itself. Brazilians on lower incomes are embracing digital services A new study by the Brazilian Network Information Center shows that Brazilians on lower incomes are turning to digital services - especially fintech - during the COVID19 pandemic. The unbanked population has fallen by about 70% in the country as more and more people use apps and computers to move money. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari. (Main Image: Still from Animal Crossing game Copyright: Nintendo) Studio Manager: Donald MacDonald Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
17/11/2045m 57s

Voyager 2 contacted after seven months

Voyager 2 contacted for the first time since March - says “hello” We reported back in February how scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory were working flat out repairing Voyager 2. The only antenna that can command the 43 year old spacecraft has been offline since March undergoing repairs and upgrades – but now the Voyager team have called the craft and Voyager 2 returned a signal confirming it had received the "call" and executed the commands without issue. Voyager’s Project Manager Suzanne Dodds explains how they did this and what happens next. Danielle George MBE – the new president of the IET Getting more women and young people engaged in tech and engineering is top of Professor Danielle George’s list as she takes over as the president of The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). She joins Gareth and Bill on the programme live to discuss digital poverty and what the IET is doing to reduce it Online recruitment scams during the pandemic What would you do if you realised the job you’d applied for online didn’t actually exist? You’d think it would be easy to tell if you were being scammed – but with the coronavirus pandemic forcing people out of jobs and to stay at home, police and cybercrime experts have been warning people how much easier it is to be lured in by recruitment fraud. Reporter Matt Murphy has been speaking to people who’ve been affected over the last few months. The programme is presenter by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. (Image: Voyager 2. Credit: NASA) Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
10/11/2045m 15s

Who is most susceptible to fake news?

A new study shows that twitter remains a platform with many conspiracy believers. The work also reveals that compared to the Dutch public, the British are not as good at judging false coronavirus stories to be untrue. The Covid-19 and the Rhetoric of Untruth project - an Anglo-Dutch research initiative – has focussed on the impact of fake news and conspiracy theories during the coronavirus pandemic. Professor Sebastian Groes from Wolverhampton University explains the findings so far. The Social Network of Game of Thrones What are the secrets behind the hugely successful fantasy series? New research into the George R.R. Martin book series “A Song of Fire and Ice” shows that very plausible and almost real life social network between characters is the key. Professor Colm Connaughton of the University of Warwick explains how physics, mathematics, psychology and computing, were all used to build a network map linking the two thousand characters and their thousands of interactions. AI that Can Identify Individual Birds Could machines be better ornithologists than humans? Deep learning systems are now able to distinguish between species of birds, but also individual animals. At the moment, the only way that conservationists can identify individual birds is by tagging them. That’s time consuming, costly and a bit of an inconvenience for the creatures themselves. Anthea Lacchia has been finding out more about how the algorithms are helping out. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Getty Images)
03/11/2043m 0s

Why do we vote with paper in the age of the smart phone?

Despite a pandemic, nearly everyone voting in the upcoming US election will do so with a tick in a box on a piece of paper. They may post their ballot, or go in person to a voting station, but the process is still physical. Why? Presenter Gareth Mitchell will be asking election voting advisor Susan Greenhalgh. Despite the prevalence of paper, there are some voting machines in the USA, Beatrice Atobatele tells us why she bought one online and how hacking into it could help to make the coming US election more secure. Also on the programme, data is central to nearly everything in computing today. It presents issues, but imagine if you could train your machines on clean, orderly, high quality data? Well a new technique to generate clean data artificially has been released, open source, by MIT. We explore what this could mean with Nicolai Baldin, the CEO of the London company ‘Synthesized’. (Image: Getty Images) Presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Bill Thompson Produced by Rory Galloway Studio Manager: Giles Aspen
27/10/2041m 18s

Go Viral! online game

Go Viral! is a browser based game where you have a go at being a spreader of misinformation. Along the way, you learn the tactics of the trolls and you come out the other end, better able to differentiate the facts from the alternative facts online. Gareth discusses why these games can change peoples’ minds with one of the game’s co-developers, Jon Roozenbeek of the Department of Psychology at Cambridge University in England. Human rights lawyer Flynn Coleman has just published a book called A Human Algorithm – how artificial intelligence is redefining who we are. She explains to Gareth why she’s concerned about the small group of individuals who are in charge of the digital world and what should be done to change that. In the pandemic choreographer Alexander Whitley has had to postpone his live shows. Hannah Fisher reports on how he’s moved his dance project online and invited others to collaborate. The music is ‘Memory Arc’ by Rival Consoles. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington (Image: Cambridge University) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Studio Producer: Deborah Cohen Studio Manager: Nigel Dix
20/10/2042m 47s

Predicting US elections results every hour

Can political forecasting be quicker? That’s a question posed by Thomas Miller from Northwestern University, who has created a model that simulates a million hypothetical US presidential election results every hour. The model does not use traditional data sources like polling surveys but betting data. Recycling Solar lamps in Zambia We hear from SolarAid who have started a repair, refurbishment and recycling project for their solar lights in Zambia. Some electronics built to serve the world’s poorest, are also built to be incredibly challenging to repair, which adds to an increasing amount of e-waste generated - a record of 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2019. SolarAid have developed a manual, an app, are training technicians and opening workshops to encourage people to have their lamps repaired. The Rising Sea Symphony How do you create a new music masterpiece during a pandemic – using technology in ways not used before. A new BBC Radio 3 commission (due to be broadcast on Sunday 18th October), entitled The Rising Sea Symphony, by composer Kieran Brunt, has been recorded by BBC Philharmonic players in isolation, individually, and then “painfully” pasted together to create the full orchestral sound over the last few months. The piece is inspired by the increasing dangers of the climate change crisis and mixes orchestral parts, vocals, electronics, and spoken contributions from inhabitants of different parts of the world which are being affected by sea level rising. We speak to the composer and to Studio Manager Donald MacDonald who faced the challenge of mixing the piece. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari. (Image: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
13/10/2048m 49s

Can AI predict criminal behaviour?

For at least two decades now police forces have been using crime data tech to analyse crime patterns and therefore reduce crime rates, but they have not been able to predict who may have carried out a crime. Now the Sheriff’s office in Pasco County, Florida is using what it calls ‘intelligence led policing’ to do just that. Could AI algorithms really identify offenders? Not according to Kathleen McGrory, Deputy Investigations Editor at the Tampa Bay Times who has been researching this mysterious tech that the local law enforcement agency has been using. Similar schemes have been scrapped in LA and Chicago but continue in Pasco County. We asked for an interview with the Pasco County Police Sheriff and one of the engineers behind the tech – but did not receive a response. The rise of the Honjok lifestyle in South Korea Honjok is the term used by those Koreans who decide to live, eat, drink, and undergo most activities on their own, and are happy when they are alone with themselves. This movement started in the first half of the 2010’s and has been growing in parallel with South Korea's rate of smartphone ownership and the emergence of on-demand shopping and social media. It would seem that tech adoption is one of the main factors that helped elevate Honjok into a national movement. Reporter Silvia Lazzaris has been delving into the online world of Honjok. Could data unions give you some control and gain from your personal data? Would you like to make money from your Google search history? A new platform to democratize our data by tech start up Streamr will allow individuals to take control of their personal data and even gain financially from it. Until now, most of the data we generate browsing the web and using smart devices is controlled by a few giant corporations. It’s also sold without us receiving any share of its value. The Streamr platform enables developers to create their own data unions (such as Swash, which has a growing user base, and allows people to earn money as they browse) to decentralize control of data away from big tech and back to the individual. These data unions can also significantly improve the quality and security of data sets. Shiv Malik, Head of Growth at Streamr, is on the programme to explain how data unions work. The programme was presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. (Image: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Tim Heffer Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
06/10/2050m 2s

Mapping Covid-19 to your phone

Google maps has a new feature - COVID19 maps. You can now filter onto your chosen area the current Covid-19 case rates. Launched in more than 200 countries the mapping feature could help people decide if they feel it is safe to travel to new areas – but as is often the case with new tech when it is launched it is not as informative as you may have hoped…yet. Charlotte Jee, MIT Technology review reporter, gives us a rundown of what’s good and what’s not so good about the new feature. The ethics of digital communication Can you remember the early days of the internet – how it was going to improve freedom of expression because of this amazing fast connectivity that we had never had before? Well obviously things haven’t quite panned out that way, says Prof (Baroness) Onora O’Neill form Cambridge Uni. In fact it’s done the opp as well as damaged our right to privacy. She speaks to Gareth about what can be done to reverse some of this damage. Hack a Sat Florian Blor reports from the first ever satellite hacking competition at DEF CON - the world's largest, longest continuously run underground hacking conference. The idea was to hack into a satellite, change it’s orientation in orbit and point it at the moon and take a photo. It wasn’t a real satellite in space but an earthbound stand in and part of hackasat – a cybersecurity completion aimed at ultimately protecting satellites from a cyberattack. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. (Image: Getty images) Studio Manager: Sarah Hockley Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
29/09/2045m 30s

Keeping the structure of the internet safe

The Internet Society has created a way of checking how new regulations could harm the structure of the internet. As the internet doesn’t respect borders, what happens in one country can impact the internet in another. The internet can sustain one or two attacks but many at the same time could even bring it down. Until now there has been no way of predicting how such changes could affect the internet’s architecture. The new toolkit also identifies the critical properties that must be protected to enable the Internet to reach its full potential. EEG that works with Black African American hair Measuring brain activity can be done using Electroencephalograms, or EEGs. These rely on a number of electrodes being attached to the scalp and the tests are used to diagnose diseases like epilepsy. However if the electrodes are not attached to the scalp properly then getting accurate readings is very hard. This is a problem for people with thick and very curly hair – with some patients having to shave their hair for the test. Now Arnelle Etienne, a student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, has designed electrodes that suit her hair type – she is African American and hopes her design will significantly improve test results for patients like her. Buddy PKGE – tech to monitor animal vital signs Harrison Lewis reports on a device capable of measuring animal vital signs that is being adapted to save human lives. The non-invasive tech could help sniffer dogs find people following natural disasters, alerting the handler as soon as dog detects a human heartbeat. The programme is presenter by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. (Image: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Sarah Hockley Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
22/09/2050m 27s

AI captain to sail the Atlantic

The Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) is due to set sail this week (scheduled for Wednesday) from Plymouth, England to Plymouth, Massachusetts with no crew on board. The AI captain will steer the trimaran across the Atlantic with the help of servers and cloud and edge computing, gathering data on global warming, micro-plastic pollution and marine mammal conservation. If successful, it will be one of the first self-navigating, full-sized vessels to cross the Atlantic Ocean and could herald a new era of autonomous research ships. Andy Stanford-Clark, Chief Technology Officer at IBM, tells Gareth about the tech on board. Farmbot - tech to ensure cattle have water Crop and livestock farming uses around 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply, and access to water is something every farmer in the world thinks about, every single day. Is there enough of it, is there too much or too little, and are there any problems that need fixing. Those problems get even bigger for farmers who don’t live on-site, or – as is the case in Australia – an issue with a water pipe or dam might be several hours’ drive away. Robotic devices are increasingly taking the strain, even now linking to satellites to help farmers keep their livestock healthy. Corinne Podger reports. Lie Machines Have you ever been lured to false political messaging online or been attracted to clickbait that has directed you to a conspiracy theories or false news? How and why this happens is the subject of a book “Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives”. Its author, Philip Howard, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute in the UK explains how to take these lie machines apart. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. (Image: The Mayflower Autonomous Ship. Credit: IBM) Studio Manager: Donald MacDonald Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
15/09/2044m 4s

Scammers scamming the scammers

(Dis)honour amongst thieves Cyber criminals use online forums to sell stolen identity information and other illicit goods. Alex Kigerl, a criminologist at Washington State University explains how a recent leak from two such forums allowed him to identify different types of criminals, with implications for online policing. Migrant money The pandemic has made it harder for migrants to send money home, forcing some to use criminal networks to avoid expensive bank fees. But new digital platforms are creating safer and cheaper options - as Digital Planet reporters Benjamin Breitegger and Katharina Kropshofer find out. Frictech Imagine being able to pay with nothing more than a smile – frictionless technology (frictech) aims to make financial transactions as smooth and easy as that. Anders Hartington from Sao Paulo based firm Unike Technologies gives listeners a vision of the future from this fast developing technology. The programmes is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary by Angelica Mari. (Image: Cyber crime. Credit: Getty images) Studio Manager: Jackie Margerum Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
08/09/2038m 52s

The fastest ever internet connection

The world’s fastest data transmission rate has been achieved by a team of UCL engineers who reached an internet speed a fifth faster than the previous record… Dr. Lidia Galdino achieved a data transmission rate of 178 terabits a second (178,000,000 megabits a second) – a speed at which it would be possible to download the entire Netflix library in less than a second. Flight simulator ridiculous skyscraper that does not exist Cam Wilson is an Australian journalist with Gizmodo, he saw the Twitter discussion about Microsoft Flight Simulator’s 2020 huge skyscraper in virtual Melbourne. If you are not a regular pilot, the scene you faced with was a massive building in Melbourne to navigate around – instead of two floors it was 212 floors. Cam wondered if he could find the person responsible – and he did – a snapshot of data with an error has created this unusual scene. Solar powered laser controlled tiny robots Scientists at Cornell University have invented a tiny micro robot which is solar powered and moved by laser light. Each bot consists of a simple circuit made from silicon photovoltaics – which essentially functions as the torso and brain – and four electrochemical actuators that function as legs. The researchers control the robots by flashing laser pulses at different photovoltaics, each of which charges up a separate set of legs. By toggling the laser back and forth between the front and back photovoltaics, the robot walks. Eventually the researchers hope to create swarms of microscopic robots crawling through and restructuring materials, or suturing blood vessels, or being dispatched en masse to probe large swaths of the human brain. The programme was presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Tim Heffer Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Image: Dr Lidia Galdino in her lab. Credit: James Tye / UCL.
01/09/2044m 28s

Hacking help for US Elections

As November's US presidential election approaches an army of volunteer 'hackers' are offering their expertise to local election offices to help prevent a wide range of cyber-attacks. There are many local digital vote tampering threats, from interfering with electoral roles to positing misinformation about polling stations. We speak with organiser Maya Worman from the Chicago Harris Cyber Policy initiative. Electrical chemistry is key to a new way of analysing sleep patterns. Chemists have built sensors into a face mask to measure eye movement. They combined this with a pyjama top loaded with respiratory and motion sensors. Trisha Andrew from the University of Massachusetts Amherst led the project. And which browser do you use and why? We all use them but perhaps don't give them much thought. Which Computing Editor Kate Bevan gives us her assessment. Producer: Julian Siddle Image: GOP Nominee Donald Trump Casts His Vote In The 2016 Presidential Election, November 8, 2016 in New York City. Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
25/08/2045m 31s

Algorithm apocalypse

The UK government used a statistical algorithm to alter children’s grades for exams missed in lockdown. But critics have argued that this algorithm, which used old data on school performance, unfairly stigmatised pupils from poorer backgrounds. Stian Westlake from Britain’s Royal Statistical Society speaks to Gareth and Bill about the challenges of creating such an algorithm and where the government went wrong. The Language of Trolls What is it like to work as a Twitter troll? Researcher Sergei Monakhov, from the Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, used this question to discover how the language used by trolls is different from that used by regular users. He discusses how these patterns can be used to spot troll’s social media posts much more quickly. Saving lives with data in Africa A digital tool-kit has been designed to help governments and health organisations in Africa tackle the spread of Covid-19. Dr. Sema Sgaier, executive director of the Surgo Foundation describes the Africa Covid-19 Community Vulnerability Index, which maps regional data on health, economic, and social robustness to find where Covid might hit hardest. (Photo: Student protesters hold up banners. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA) Producer: Julian Siddle
18/08/2043m 55s

A year without internet in Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir have faced an unprecedented communication blockade, with no or slow internet for 12 months. We hear voices from the region on what the impact has been on life there, with insight from technology lawyer and online freedoms activist Mishi Choudhary. Whiteness in AI Portrayals of artificial intelligence – from the faces of robots to the voices of virtual assistants – is overwhelmingly white and removes people of colour from the way humanity thinks about its technology-enhanced future. That’s according to a new paper by Dr. Kanta Dihal, researcher at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge, which suggests that current stereotypical representations of AI risk creating a “racially homogenous” tech workforce, building machines with bias baked into their algorithms. Hurricane Radio in the British Virgin Islands In 2017 Hurricane Irma caused catastrophic damage across the Caribbean. One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, 180mph winds battered the British Virgin Islands leaving a mammoth task for local search and rescue crews. Digital Planet reporter Jason Hosken investigates how, three years on, the territory now has emergency communication networks in place thanks to some pretty rudimentary broadcast technology. The programme is presenter by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary by Angelica Mari (Image: Getty Images) Producer: Jackie Margerum Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
11/08/2043m 37s

Why India can’t work from home

India came last out of 42 countries in a recent study of remote-working readiness. Bhaskar Chakravorti, Dean of Global Business for The Fletcher School at Tufts University, explains what his research means for the 1.3 billion people living in India, and what the future holds for the second largest internet market in the world. Saving lives with a hologram heart A holographic visualisation has been proven to help heart-surgeons operating on children. Jennifer Silva, an associate professor of Paediatric Surgery, and her husband Jon Silva, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, used a Microsoft HoloLens headset to give surgeons real-time information about the electrical signals passing through a patient’s hearts during surgery. Mapping earthquakes with localised EDGE computing Observing natural phenomena like earthquakes and volcanoes relies on data from the earth’s satellite network. As the volume of this satellite data grows it becomes harder for scientists to get it back to Earth. EDGE computing offers a solution. The opposite of cloud computing, it keeps data near the source by processing it on-site and only sending back relevant or interesting information. Digital Planet reporter Hannah Fisher finds out more. (Image: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Tim Heffer Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
04/08/2046m 20s

Tracking the trolls

How can we distinguish the online posts written by real people from those coming out of professional bot-farms intent on influencing elections? New research from Princeton University in America uses machine learning to identify malicious online trolls, even before they’ve sent a single tweet. Lead author Meysam Alizadeh explains the power of this work to protect voters in future elections. Gesture-controlled robots Robots can now be controlled by a simple wave of your arm. Professor Daniela Rus from MIT explains how new research has simplified robot controls by using human movement rather than complicated systems of buttons and gear-sticks. The aim is to allow anyone to pilot a robot without requiring any training. Augmented surgery Digital Planet’s Florian Bohr reports from Augmented World Expo USA to discover how the new field of spatial computing can be used in medicine. From doctors with x-ray spectacles to virtual reality surgery training, new visual technologies are promising a big impact on healthcare. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari. (Image:Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
28/07/2042m 8s

Covid 19: Mapping changing sentiment in tweets

Using machine learning, researchers analysed 30 million English language tweets from across the world to track the changing global sentiment as the Covid-19 pandemic spread. Lead author of the study, professor May Lwin at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore explains how machine learning found that sentiments of fear in the early months of the pandemic are now outnumbered by anger and hope. Researcher Aretha Mare, from The Next Einstein Forum in Rwanda says the pandemic has put a renewed focus on home grown African initiatives involving Artificial intelligence. Already some novel approaches to testing and tracing have been developed. These could have global impact. The pandemic has made weather forecasting less accurate. Aircraft help forecasters gather changes in data such as temperature, humidity and pressure during the course of a flight. Environmental researcher, Ying Chen explains how fewer commercial flights during the pandemic have affected the amount of data gathered by forecasters. (Image: Getty images) Producer: Julian Siddle
21/07/2042m 3s

Ethiopia’s continuing online censorship

The internet shutdown in Ethiopia has been in place for 2 weeks now. The Ethiopian Government cut internet connectivity following protests over the killing of singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa. The civil society group NetBlocks monitors connectivity around the world. Their Executive Director Alp Toker explains how by controlling mobile telecoms Ethiopian authorities are able to keep a tight grip on internet access. Researchers at Queen Mary University looked at the network traffic data generated by internet-connected home security cameras. Their work flagged up that hackers can get information about your daily routine without looking at any video content from the cameras. Dr Gareth Tyson, lead author of the study, explains how the rate at which cameras upload internet data can predict whether a house is occupied or not. BBC series Springwatch has been using automated wildlife cameras to record animals in areas of interest, such as Woodpecker nests across the UK. They have been training machine learning systems to only recognise when an activity is happening with a particular animal. Gareth speaks to senior BBC Research engineer, Robert Dawes to find out more. (Image:Getty Images) Producer: Julian Siddle
14/07/2047m 40s

Can we make the web a better space?

What is Web Science, and why does it matter? The internet is the most complex machine built by humans but it so much more than just the engineering behind it. The internet moves the data around, but the web is the space in which we humans have experiences, think of the web as a sort of super app. We're interested in the underlying technology, in that it facilitates the movement of data that makes the web possible. But from the human side, we're interested in our interaction with each other as made possible by the web, so how do we understand it in its totality rather than thinking about it as a collection of websites? Did the inventors of the internet foresee how it could be used now – as a force of good and change but also as a way of spreading hate and misinformation? By studying Web Science could the internet be made better for humanity in the future? Joining us from the WebSci 2020 Conference are: “Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf, Executive Director, Web Science Institute Wendy Hall, Director of the Ada Lovelace Institute in Cambridge Carly Kind and JP Rangaswami former Chief Data Officer and Head of Innovation of Deutsche Bank Chief Scientist at BT. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary by Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Main image credit: Getty Images
07/07/2043m 3s

Exploring digital death

This week Digital Planet explores digital death and how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to update our death rituals and move most of our grieving online. We hear from a listener whose mother passed away with her children by her side via Facetime and how they then moved their traditional American-Irish funeral practices online. In India people of all religions are facing huge disruptions to their traditional burials and are taking tech into their own hands to share their experiences. In some developed countries funeral businesses are using cutting edge tech including sophisticated recording set ups in places of worship to bring together mourners from across the world. People are moving more and more online not only with virtual memorials, RFID tags on gravestones and also ceremonies in gaming environments including Animal Crossing. And we find out more about the Reimagine Festival that’s about to start. The now virtual event explores death during COVID-19 and we see how people are determining their digital legacies after they die. Guests include Khyati Tripathi, a PhD student at the University of Delhi, who tells how the restrictions in the pandemic have changed funerals in the country, Candi Cann, Associate Professor of Religion at Baylor University, and co-creator of the Virtual Funeral Collective and Dr Stacey Pitsillides, a Senior Research Fellow at Northumbria University who is organising the virtual festival “Reimagine: Life, Loss, & Love”. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with studio commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. (Image: Mourners live stream a funeral to family back in Nepal and to those waiting just outside. Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds vis Getty Images) Studio Manager: Jackie Margerum Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
30/06/2047m 18s

Nigerian internet land rights costs fall

A major problem in laying internet cables in Nigeria is the phenomenal cost of right of way charges – these are local state imposed fees to broadband providers. Ekiti, one of Nigeria’s smallest states, has cut its right of way charges by 96%. It will now cost $374 to lay a kilometre of broadband cable down from $11,600. Tech reporter Yomi Kazeem joins us from Lagos and explains that Ekiti aims to have full broadband access by 2021. Superethics instead of superintelligence Artificial intelligence research is striving towards creating machines that could surpass the human mind, but shouldn’t we focus on technologies that make us wiser instead of smarter? This is the central question in philosopher Pim Haselager’s most recent paper. He explains how we might use technology as moral crutches for ethical behaviour. Solar Batteries storage Renewable technology accounted for a quarter of energy production globally in 2018. It’s expected to rise to 45% by 2040. At the end of last year, the Pavagada solar park, in Karnataka, India, became fully operational. Spanning 53 square kilometres, and with a capacity of over 2000 megawatts, this is the largest solar farm in the world. But basic limitations still exist - what can be done to supply electricity when there isn’t sufficient sunlight? Our reporter, Jason Hosken, has been finding out about some energy storage solutions. (Image: Nigeria network map. Credit: Getty Images) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Tim Heffer Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
23/06/2050m 23s

Is this the end of facial recognition tech?

Facial recognition – what’s the future for the tech with the big names pulling out? Most of the big tech companies have now declared they will not sell facial recognition tech to police, but will this mean that police forces will stop using this tech? There are many smaller companies that have so far not declared their intentions and others are clearly breaking the few regulations in place by using people’s images without consent. It’s widely known that facial recognition technology is racially and sexually biased, and there is little, if any, evidence that this tech does help to reduce crime levels. Dr.Stephanie Hare discusses what might now happen with this tech. Online gambling surge during COVID-19 Lockdowns are making many players and gamblers move to online gambling platforms, the big issue here is that they do not come under strict regulations like their real world counterparts. Silvia Lazzaris and Katie Kropshofer report on this growing problem. Can you protect a rising number of online gamblers, many of whom suffer from addiction and are bunkered in their homes, from targeted advertising and fraud? And how can regulation catch up with this sudden shift to the online world? Will gaze tech replace touch tech in times of the pandemic? As computer processing speeds continue to increase, so does the versatility and accuracy of gaze tech – using your eyes instead of a computer mouse or touchpad. Dr. David Souto, from the University of Leicester, explains that as our eye muscles do not tire this technology has untapped benefits. His work is part of the British Academy Virtual Summer Showcase which goes live online this week. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. (Image: Human face recognition scanning system illustration. Credit: Getty Images) Studio Manager: John Boland Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
16/06/2047m 49s

Algorithm activism – a new type of protest

Sophia Smith-Galer reports on algorithm activism – ways of boosting protests online. With many people forced to protest digitally because of the pandemic, digital protesting, especially by young people, is the most accessible form of demonstrating support and prompting change. Sophia looks at new ways this is being done during the Black Lives Matter protests around the world. The biggest robotics conference ever… …is now virtual, just like so many other events. But this has led to more people attending than ever before and from many more lower income countries too. We hear from one team in California who are using drones to take the bus when delivering packages. Fake news during Covid-19 Since the pandemic started, many of us have found ourselves interacting less with the outside world and spending more time online. A survey by British and Dutch researchers is now looking into whether this move online has caused us to be more susceptible to fake news and misinformation. What makes one person more likely to believe a conspiracy theory than another? Professor Bas Groes tells Gareth how they are trying to find out. The presenter is Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary by Bill Thompson. (Image: Social media apps on a mobile phone. Credit: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Matilda Macari Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
09/06/2048m 30s

Digital exclusion in Brazil

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Brazil, but access to digital services is getting harder for many of the country’s poorest residents. Emergency aid and state health advice about the virus are only available online, leaving those without internet access with no help at all. Digital Planet’s Angelica Mari explains the situation in Brazil’s favelas and talks about a number of community projects trying to bridge the technology gap. Mixed reality in Covid-19 wards Over recent months, some hospitals in London have radically reduced the amount of healthcare workers coming into contact with Covid-19. Thanks to mixed reality headsets, only one doctor needs to be at the patient’s bedside while the rest of the medical team sees the same field of view from a different location. Gareth speaks to Dr. James Kinross and Dr. Guy Martin from Imperial College London about how this tech has helped improve working conditions. 3D printing face masks Shortages of face masks are a common issue around the globe. Could 3D printing be the solution? A firm in Chile has developed an open source design using the natural antimicrobial properties of copper. Meanwhile, a shoe factory in the United States has switched to printing masks for healthcare workers. Digital Planet’s Jane Chambers reports. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with studio commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. (Image credit: Getty Images) Studio Manager: John Boland Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
02/06/2045m 2s

Hacking internet-enabled cars

Hacking internet-enabled cars About 40% of cars in the US are connected to the internet. While this enables many useful functions, it also makes them vulnerable to hacks. As all the electronics systems within the car are connected, hackers could take full control of the vehicle. Skanda Vivek tells Gareth how this is possible, and what would happen if a large number of cars were hacked at the same time. Covid-19 treatment trials in AI It is possible to do drug trials in vitro and in vivo – but what about simulating them? The Cambridge-based company AI VIVO uses machine learning and AI to model diseased cells and their potential treatments. For Covid-19, they screened 90,000 different compounds to find out which drugs could be effective against the virus. Could this be a new way to discover drug treatments? Gareth speaks to David Cleevely to find out how it works. Mobile phone rain forecast for farmers Farmers with small holdings in developing countries often do not benefit from new technologies, but a tech project in Pakistan has managed to help drastically reduce their water consumption. Farmers receive text messages about when it is going to rain and whether they should irrigate their crops, generating an average of 40% in water savings. Roland Pease has been finding out more. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. (Image: Traffic jam on multilane road. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus) Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant Producer: Alex Mansfield
26/05/2042m 34s

Testing EdTech

Across the globe, learning has been transformed over the last few months, often with the help of specialised tech. More and more educational technology, or EdTech for short, is entering the market. But how do governments, schools, and teachers know which tools and platforms to use? And how do countries with limited resources choose the best tech for their needs? Gareth is joined by Joysy John from NESTA and Susan Nicolai, from the Edtech Hub, to find out. Bot or not? With so many of us socialising and working online it becomes more important than ever to know whether we are talking to a real person or a computer-generated bot. A study from Carnegie Mellon University showed that 45.5% of users tweeting about coronavirus have bot characteristics. A new Mozilla-funded project called “Bot or Not” invites visitors to take part in a modern-day Turing test. One of the creators, Agnes Cameron, tells us about the project, bots online, and how to spot them. Lockdown views As many people are forced to stay at home we look at how some are using tech to keep looking out on the world. Many are flocking to online webcams to observe serene nature scenes or unusually empty streets in the tourist hot spots of the world. Jacqui Kenny has long used Google Street View to visit foreign places due to her fear of open spaces. She talks about her new photobook and how machine learning may help her find new images to capture. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with studio commentary by Ghislaine Boddington. (Image: Getty Images) Studio Manager: Donald McDonald Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
19/05/2043m 51s

Spain’s many COVID-19 apps

In Spain, there are a total of nine COVID-19 tracing apps, but is this too many? Which type is preferable and does there need to be a more coordinated technology across Europe to track COVID-19? Digital Planet reporter Jennifer O’Mahony ask these questions and more on the programme. Ovarian cancer and AI In the final of our reports from the Cambridge Science Festival, Gareth and Bill meet Dr. Mireia Crispin Ortuzar. She researches AI that analyses radiographic images to help choose and track treatment for ovarian cancer. In the long-term, this type of technology could lead to more personalised medicine in response to cancer and, perhaps, in other fields of medicine as well. Robotic Ventilators At MIT, a team of scientists and engineers have developed a low-cost, open-source robotic hand that can operate manual ventilators. It could help fill the shortage of mechanical ventilators for Covid-19 patients across the globe, particularly in developing countries. Professor Daniela Rus tells Gareth how this new tech works. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. Studio Manager: Jackie Margerum (Image: Covid-19 tracing. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
12/05/2040m 50s

Chinese mobile data predicts Covid-19 Spread

Using anonymous mobile data, researchers tracked the movement of people from Wuhan to other regions of China and showed that it was possible to predict the spread of the virus throughout the country. Professor Nicholas Christakis, a co-author of the study, shares how it was done and what other countries could learn from it. Malawi Solar-Powered Radios Malawi could be highly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In particular rural areas without access to electricity are in need of help. Brave Mhonie, the general manager for the charity Solar Aid in Malawi, tells Gareth about the plan to bring solar powered lights to remote clinics as well as radios to rural communities to spread information about COVID-19. Robot Zebra Fish In a laboratory in New York, scientists study zebra fish by having them interact with their robot counterparts. Reporter Anand Jagatia went to Tandon School of Engineering to find out how this is done and how robo-fish might be helpful in the future. (Photo: Chinese New Year celebrations. Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) The presenter is Gareth Mitchell with studio commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
05/05/2044m 51s

Privacy concerns over contact tracing apps

Contact tracing is an essential part of controlling the Coronavirus pandemic but how should this data be collected and shared? In previous pandemics the tech wasn’t advanced enough to be used widely, but now country by country new contact tracing apps are appearing. But what about our privacy, should our personal health information be so easily available and potentially be unsecure? Some of the tech giants have even developed new protocols to anonymise our data – but not all governments think this will work? Journalist Timandra Harkness tells us what types of apps are being used where and about the tech behind them. Making computers intuitive Is it possible to make computers intuitive like us? That’s a question that Professor Mateja Jamnik from Cambridge University is trying to answer by building computational models that capture human informal reasoning – essentially trying to humanise computer thinking. Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson visited Professor Jamnik in Cambridge before the lockdown. Tech to tackle locust storms update Gareth speaks to Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman to find out if any of the tech that was being deployed to try and control the locust storms in the Horn of Arica and the Indian Subcontinent is working. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson. The Studio Manager is Duncan Hannant. (Image: Covid-19 app on smartphone software in a crowd of people with Bluetooth. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
28/04/2044m 0s

Could fitness trackers track COVID-19?

Could your smart fitness device detect if you were coming down with respiratory symptoms? A project collecting data from smart wearable devices to see if they can plot outbreaks of disease symptoms by reporting data in real time and giving it a geographical tag has been launched. This would allow local authorities to mount responses quickly before any virus spreads further. The study is called DETECT and one of those involved is Dr. Jennifer Radin an epidemiologist at Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego California and she joins us on the programme. COVID-19 Cybercrime Why are we more susceptible to cybercrime during lockdown? A new report just published by The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime entitled “Cybercrime – Threats during the COVID-19 pandemic” is trying to answer that question. From attacks on hospitals, to a massive rise in the registration of websites with coronavirus, pandemic and COVID-19 in their addresses, the report looks at how our behaviour, our tech and the criminals, have changed in the last few months making cybercrime an even greater threat than before. How safe are sex robots? Sex robots are increasing in popularity. But as more people around the world bring these increasingly sophisticated androids into their homes, what new risks do they bring with them? As countries across the globe enforce strict lockdowns, many of us have felt the power of technology to counter loneliness and isolation, but how close should we let our tech get? And when technology is so taboo, do important discussions about safety ever see the light of day? Luckily, roboticists and regulators are beginning to grapple with some of these issues. Geoff Marsh has been finding out more… (Image: Smartwatch. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
21/04/2052m 39s

Supercomputers seeking solutions for Covid-19

Supercomputing power for Covid-19 solutions The world’s most powerful supercomputers are being used for urgent investigations into the Sars-Cov-2 virus. Professor Peter Coveney from the UCL Centre for Computational Science is part of this consortium of hundreds of scientists across the globe, and tells Gareth how this phenomenal amount of computer power is already trying to identify potential treatments and vaccine candidates for Covid-19. Hot and Cold Cognition Gareth and Bill meet Professor Barbara Sahakian at Cambridge University to discuss her work on hot and cold cognition. Cold cognition is the mechanics of AI. Hot cognition is what humans do so well – being able to empathise. So if we are to take AI to the next stage eg. interactive care robots, it is the hot cognition that needs to be developed – the social and emotional side of AI. Digital Radio Mondiale DRM is the sister standard to DAB. DAB has taken off in the UK and other developed countries, but it is DRM that is becoming more popular in the developing world – India, Pakistan, China are all using it. Recently Brazil added their support for DRM. The key with DRM is that it digitises everything so we don’t need a new infrastructure for it and it can even act as a backup in disasters when other forms of communication fail. Presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Bill Thompson. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Supercomputer. Credit: Getty Images)
14/04/2044m 8s

Internet and journalist reporting freedom curtailed

Bolsonaro’s tweets deleted Our South America reporter Angelica Mari tells us about the daily pot banging protests against the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, but it’s now not only the people trying to silence him. Social Media platforms have removed some of his posts as they have been, according to them, spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. Internet and journalistic freedoms restricted The Index on Censorship, the global freedom of expression organisation has been charting restrictions on the internet and on journalists, via an interactive map online. Rachael Jolley is editor-in-chief at Index and joins us on the programme. Ubongo – remote learning the African way As many schools around the world close their doors, more and more learning is shifting from the classroom to the home. 17 million households in twelve countries across sub-Saharan Africa are now benefitting from Ubongo – the TV, radio, online and mobile learning platform. Iman Lipumba of Ubongo explains how it works. Culture in Quarantine; sacred music at Easter Twenty musicians in the famous Tenebrae vocal ensemble have recorded an Easter recital for television, despite socially isolating all over the world. Quite a challenge for the singers, their conductor Nigel Short and the production company Livewire Pictures. Jan Younghusband BBC Music Head of Music TV Commissioning explains how it all happened. (Image: Index on Censorship. Credit: Maps ) The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Ghislaine Boddington. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
07/04/2042m 15s

Covid-19 cyber attacks rise

Cyber criminals are exploiting the pandemic to send fraudulent emails and deploy all kinds of tools to steal our money, our contacts or our identities. Armen Najarian, the chief identity officer at email security firm Agari, updates us on the latest coronavirus driven cyber-attacks including scammers pretending they are emailing from the WHO or CDC. Can the internet cope with the massive increase in demand? Jane Coffin, SVP, Internet Growth from the Internet Society is an expert on internet access across the world. We ask how is the network holding up with so many more people now working remotely and what is its resilience for the future? 3D Printing cochlear implants Gareth and Bill visit Dr Yan Yan Shery Huang at the biointerface group at the University of Cambridge. During the interview in her lab her team prints a 3D cochlear implant. It’s part of a growing field using 3D printing to improve medical care and aims to ultimately personalise cochlear implants allowing the patient to hear much more naturally than current implants allow. (Image: Malware Detected Warning Screen. Credit: Getty images) Presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Bill Thompson. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
31/03/2040m 44s

A digital tracker that monitors new surveillance

Tracking our digital rights From the moment governments around the world realised the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, many have implemented digital tracking, physical surveillance and censorship measures in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus. We hear about a digital tracker which will monitor new surveillance and if it is having an effect Working from home when your work is in Space Most people in countries experiencing a Coronavirus lockdown are working remotely, but what happens when your work is based in Space? The European Space Agency has sent most of it's staff home, we hear from Professor Mark McCaughrean, Senior Science Advisor at ESA, about how this is going. SETI has gone home SETI@home is a scientific experiment, based at UC Berkeley, that uses internet connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You could take part by running a free programme that downloads and analyses radio telescope data. But no more, the experiment is ending on March 31st. US Science reporter Molly Bentley tells the story of searching for ET from home. (Image: Digital tracking. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
24/03/2035m 25s

Coronovirus tech handbook online

In these unprecedented times of a global pandemic many people are working or studying from home, doctors are facing new challenges, so medical equipment is in short supply – how do deal with this? Perhaps check the coronavirus tech as a shared open source online document where anyone can post their experiences or advice. Open source tech for COVID-19 A 3d printed ventilator that could be used for COVID-19 patients could be ready by the end of the week. An open source project has led to a collaboration of IT professionals and engineers to work on the project. Developing responsible AI Cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell joins us on the programme to talk about developing AI safely and responsibly. She’s cofounded an innovation institute - the 3Ai Institute at the Australian National University and is looking for new students from around the world to apply. (Image: Coronavirus tech handbook. Credit: Newspeak House) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
17/03/2036m 20s

Covid-19 makes tech events go virtual

Major events around the world are being cancelled as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the globe. Despite significant falls in new cases in China and South Korea many tech conferences and meetings are being moved to virtual space instead. We hear from the International Communication Association who have cancelled their annual conference in the physical world and are now moving it online. Regulating the internet As Covid-19 spreads so does misinformation about the virus online. Dr.Jennifer Cobbe from Cambridge University joins us in studio to discuss how to combat this. Fashion and AI Clothes online and on the high street are increasingly being ‘designed’ by AI, according to Alentina Vardanyan from the Judge Business School in Cambridge. She is speaking at the Cambridge Science Festival about how machines could be taking the creativity out of the latest fashion trends. Banana disease app A new app is helping banana plantation owners and workers treat and manage diseases. Now farmers in Africa and South America are using an app to diagnose disease, scientists are using this data to monitor and map the spread of the infection. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image credit:Getty Images)
10/03/2043m 27s

Will digital sobriety help reduce energy use?

ITU emissions standard The UN ICT agency, the ITU, wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half in the next decade. It’s the only way that the ICT industry is to stay in line with the Paris Agreement and its target of limiting global warming to one and a half degrees. The new technical standard announced by the ITU says renewable energy and digital sobriety are the best way of achieving these cuts. Domestic violence AI AI could help police forces determine who might be the most at risk of domestic abuse. A new study from the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE in London, suggests that by using already available data about individuals AI could help police decide which emergency calls they need to prioritise. Circulo safety app A safety app that is used only in dangerous situations is helping female journalists stay safe in Mexico. The Circulo app allows users to check in and tell up to six contacts at a time that you’re safe OR raise the alarm if you’re in danger. (Photo: Wind turbines. Credit: Getty Images)
03/03/2035m 30s

Ethiopia’s new law banning online hate speech

Ethiopia’s online hate speech law Disseminating hate speech online in Ethiopia could now land you with a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of $3000US, but the new law has proved controversial. Julie Owonp, Excutive Director of Internet without borders explains their concerns. Kivuwatt Rwanda has an ambitious plan to go from half of the population having electricity at the moment to everyone within the next four years. Digital Planet has been given access to one project that aims to be a key part of that expansion. In the depths of Lake Kivu – one of East Africa’s great lakes – there’s methane and they’re burning the methane to generate electricity. Kivu is one of Africa’s so-called ‘killer lakes’, because the gases it harbours could be deadly for the thousands who live on shore. Burning some of the gas could help make it safer. Gareth Mitchell reports from the floating barge that is supplying 30% of the country’s electricity. Carnival 4.0 It’s Carnival week in Rio and this year for the first time celebrations have gone fully hi-tech with augmented reality floats, QR Codes and RFID tags tracking costumes and smart bands monitoring the health of performers. But there have also been warnings about facial recognition. Brazil-based journalist Angelica Mari has been following proceedings. And joins us on the programme. (Image: Vector illustration of a set of emoticons. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
25/02/2038m 19s

Feminist chatbots

Why the tone of chatbots matters and how a feminist perspective can help use them to address online problems such as bullying and trolling. We look at some of the methods used to try and scam you, particularly the increasingly sophisticated emails sent to businesses to try and get them to part with their money. We have a drive in a LIDAR enabled electric car, a new development in Autonomous vehicles And the perils of misleading data, why clear and accurate data is so important to a huge variety of global issues such as adequate clean water or food supplies. (Image: Chatbot female robot holding a speech bubble symbol. Credit: Getty Creative Stock) Producer: Julian Siddle
18/02/2046m 48s

Repairing Voyager 2

Scientists at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been working flat out over the last week repairing Voyager 2. The spacecraft is about 18 billion kilometres from Earth, so sending a command to it takes 17 hours. Alexa: save my life please Could personal assistants like Alexa and Siri save your life? Research in the journal BMJ innovations has assessed how good the top four voice assistants are at giving sound medical advice – the results were mixed. Drones mesh it up in Vietnam Managing a natural disaster like a flood is so difficult because often there are many unknowns - responders urgently need real time information on water levels in the swollen rivers for instance. Installing monitoring kit across long stretches of river is expensive and the sensors need replacing regularly. So how about deploying a squadron of drones to pick up the data instead? That has been happening in a trial in Vietnam. Dr Trung Duong, at Queen’s University Belfast tells us more. Purrfect robots Do you need a robot that can work in the dark or a dangerous environment? Give it whiskers! After all, some bristles and a snout work well for the likes of dogs, mice and shrews. So researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK have spent hours watching whiskers in the wild and are now switching the twitching to robots in the lab. (Photo: Voyager spacecraft. Credit: Nasa) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
11/02/2044m 45s

Drones dealing with locust swarms

Trials are taking place to manage the massive locust swarms in the Horn of Africa and the Indian subcontinent with drones. Using them to collect real time data allows scientists to predict where the insects might fly to next. Irish data centre power problem Amazon has just announced plans to build another data centre in Ireland. It’s just one of about 60 data centres that are putting a huge demand on electricity. According to a report by the Irish Academy of Engineering 30% more electricity will be needed by 2030 to keep these data centres running. But where will it come from if Ireland is to meet its carbon emission targets? More data leaks in India A new data privacy bill has been passed in India, but with hundreds of millions of individuals having their data leaked last year alone, will this new bill ensure data privacy? BBC data journalist Shadab Nazmi has exposed a number of information security blunders in India and explains what has been happening. Acoustic camera Imagine that you could only hear specific sounds in certain parts of a room. So an intensive care nurse would only hear the beeps from the medical bay of their patient? This might be possible as scientists at the University of Sussex in England are splitting sounds, focusing them into beams and even bending them. Our reporter Hannah Fisher has been there to explore. (Photo: Large swarms of desert locusts threatens Kenya"s food security. Credit: Dai Kurokawa/EPA) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
04/02/2043m 13s

Internet partially restored in Kashmir

Internet in Kashmir partially back on Following a court ruling in India, the internet has been partially restored in Kashmir. There is still no access to social media but the Indian government was forced to allow some access. Mishi Choudhary, founder of the Software Freedom Law Centre in New Delhi updates us on the situation. Pigeonbot Imagine a robot that’s as graceful as a swooping and gliding bird. It could get into crowded environments where drones currently can’t be used. The latest research, published in Science Robotics, into flying robots delivers just that. Laura Matloff from Stanford University in USA is one of the team who designed PigeonBot and joins us on the programme. Will Brazil become a data colony? Brazilians are neither happy with the way in which companies handle their personal data or trust them, according to a new survey by IBM. Sau Paulo based Technology Writer Angelica Mari explains why there are growing concerns that soon private companies may control most citizen’s data. (Photo: Kashmiri youth hold placards during a protest against an Internet, SMS and prepaid mobile services blockade. Credit: EPA/Farooq/Khan) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
28/01/2033m 33s

Internet shutdowns cost $8bn in 2019

The cost of the major internet shutdowns in 2019 has been estimated as $8bn according to a report by the Top10VPN website, with WhatsApp being the platform that is blocked most often. Twitter bots and trolls on bush fires Could the latest orchestrated social media disinformation campaign be unfolding in Australia. Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have been analysing thousands of tweets and found some concerning activity. Could paid for trolls be behind tweets suggesting that arsonists are responsible for this year’s bush fires? Indigenous language keyboards The United Nations has just declared an International Decade of Indigenous Languages. It is to begin in 2022, so we have been finding out about getting indigenous languages onto a device – and it isn’t always as hard as you think. Worm robots Robotic worms might be soon being used to sniff out people as part of search and rescue operations. Our reporter Jason Hosken has been to the lab where they’re developing chemical sensors that could help trace people who have perhaps been trapped under rubble following a natural disaster. The robotic worm could end up assisting, or reducing the need for, specially trained sniffer dogs. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Internet shut down in India. Credit: AFP)
21/01/2045m 32s

Tech tracking Australian fires

An app is helping Australian’s stay safe during the Bush fires. Fires Near Me was created by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and we hear how it works from journalist Corinne Podger. Also the WICEN HAM Radio operators who are providing emergency communications when mobile masts and internet connections are disrupted and measuring air quality using low power networks. Safer motorbike taxis in Rwanda and the DRC How do you ensure that the motorbike taxi you are hailing in Kigali or Kinshasa will get you home safely? Using an app that has data on the driver is one big step to having a safer journey. Gareth Mitchell finds out about Cango who collect data about their drivers to rate how safely they ride. Digitising Natural History The famous Natural History Museum in London has only a fraction of its collection on show. To ensure all their specimens are correctly catalogued, the museum is now digitising their collections. Harry Lampert has been finding out how technologies like machine learning are helping to get more and more specimens online. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Fires Near Me app. Credit: New South Wales Rural Fire Service)
14/01/2043m 9s

South Africa power cuts

South Africa Power Cuts Is South Africa facing a blackout? Power cuts across the country are now happening regularly as the country struggles with demand for electricity. There’s even an app that tells you if your lights are going to stay on today, or tomorrow. Professor Keith Bell from Strathclyde University explains why this is happening. Plasmonics - computing with light Fancy computing with the speed of light? Well for the first time this is possible thanks to research at Oxford University. Scientists have managed use light to store, access and now process data on chip. The research could significantly increase processing speeds at data centres, not only making computing faster but saving significant amounts of energy. Land of Iron A National Park is usually synonymous with nature and wildlife. Perhaps not the obvious place to find a technology story, but in North Yorkshire in the UK a project is underway that is using technology in many different forms to bring a forgotten history back to life. Our reporter Jack Meegan has been time-travelling for us. Jack finds out how the park’s industrial past can now be seen thanks to technology. World Wise Web Digital Planet gets a sneak preview of a brand BBC new tech podcast. On World Wise Web, teenagers from around the world get the chance to talk to the technology pioneers who have shaped our digital world. (Photo: Township Homes, South Africa. Credit: Getty Images)
07/01/2043m 18s

Why is AI so far from perfect?

A special episode looking at AI – why it still is far from perfect? We discuss what would happen if you took a driverless car from the streets of California and put it on roads in a developing country, why deep fakes are so difficult to detect and how the images that are used to teach machines to recognise things are biased against women and ethnic minorities. Picture: Driverless Cars, Getty Images
31/12/1938m 7s

Digital Planet’s 18th Birthday Show

A special edition of Digital Planet recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre in London to celebrate the programmes 18th birthday. The team look back on the first show and look forward to the tech that is now also coming of age and what we might be seeing in the future. With 3D holographic phone calls, musical performances where the musicians are hundreds of kilometres apart, and the Gravity Synth detecting gravitational waves and turning them into music. Picture: Digital Planet recording, Credit: BBC
24/12/1929m 27s

Improving crop yields with mobile phones

Mobile phones are improving lives and yields for millions of farmers around the world. Michael Kremer, a 2019 Economics Nobel Prize winner developed Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) to give farmers in developing countries advice on how to improve their yields. He and Owen Barder, CEO of PAD, tell Digital Planet how it works. To reduce failures on surveillance or delivery missions, drones need to be monitored effectively. Karen Willcox at the Oden Institute of the University of Texas in Austin explains how her team has found a way to send back real time data using sensors that create a digital twin of the drone, which can show where fatigue and stress may cause damage during the flight. Racist and sexist biases within algorithms are causing concern, especially considering they are making many decisions in our lives. Noel Sharkey, Professor of Robotics and AI at the University of Sheffield in the UK, and he thinks it’s time to halt this decision making until it can be properly regulated, or it will have major, real-life effects on all of us. (Photo: Farmer carrying silage and talking on phone. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Rory Galloway
17/12/1946m 59s

New Phone in China? Scan your face…

Mobile phone users in China will have to submit to 3D face scans to get a sim card. Technology ethicist Dr Stephanie Hare and New York Times Asia correspondent, Paul Mozur, discuss how this will affect citizens’ privacy, and whether China is alone in making this decision. Petr Plecháč from the Institute of Czech Literature uses a piece of software that can identify people by the pattern of their written language. Gareth speaks with him about Shakespeare’s Henry VIII and the likelihood of John Fletcher co-authoring this key text. Reporter William Park takes a go at being a virtual burglar. He investigates a game that is allowing researchers to understand what thieves do during a break-in, with the aim of understanding their moves and decision making. A technique that allows people to check how computer neural networks make decisions about image classification may help to reduce mistakes by AI in medical imaging. Dr Cynthia Rudin explains why bird identification was the perfect model to test the computers’ abilities – and check them. (Image: Facial recognition with smartphone. Credit: Getty Images) Presenters: Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson Producer: Rory Galloway
10/12/1942m 42s

Humanitarian drone corridor in Africa

Humanitarian drone corridor in Africa Sierra Leone has just launched West Africa’s first drone corridor – it’s a dedicated channel of airspace for medical delivery drones. UNICEF is part of the project and already has three other humanitarian corridors open globally. Wikipedia untagging of women Dr. Jess Wade from Imperial College London is continuing her mission of getting more female scientists onto Wikipedia, however a few days ago many of her entries were marked as not notable enough to be included. This was done anonymously by another Wiki editor. We hear from Jess and Wikipedia’s Katherine Maher. Cats detecting earthquakes Could cats detect earthquakes? Yes says Celeste Labedz a seismologist at Caltech – if they are fitted with a motion tracker device. It’s purely a theoretical idea as she explains on the programme. Smart tattoos Smart ink that changes colour could lead to medical smart tattoos that monito conditions like diabetes. Harrison Lewis has been finding out more. (Image: Drones for good. Credit:UNICEF) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
03/12/1946m 26s

Google bug bounty hunters

Google’s offering up to $1.5m to anyone who can identify bugs in its new chip for Android smartphones. This is a especially high reward but Google’s just one of a host of big well-known companies running bug hunting programmes. But is this the best way for big business to protect its new tech? AI in Africa Does Africa need a different approach to AI – yes according to Professor Alan Blackwell of the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University in England. He’s just started a sabbatical year across Africa working with AI experts – we spoke to him on the first leg of his trip at the Bahir Institute of Technology (BIT) in the North West of Ethiopia. Wi-fi on the bus Being online when travelling on the bus in parts of Kenya and Rwanda is not new, but now it is also possible in parts of South Africa as BRCK launch their public internet service there. Nanotech tracing stolen cars Around 143,000 vehicles worldwide were reported as stolen in 2018 according to Interpol. In the UK, only half are recovered. Now nanosatellites could be a new tool in retrieving stolen cars. Digital Planet’s Izzie Clarke has more. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Google webpage. Credit: Getty Images)
26/11/1940m 7s

Iran internet shutdown continues

Iran internet shutdown Iran is now almost entirely offline as authorities try to stem the spread of protests that started last week. The government increased fuel prices by as much as 300% and since people took to the streets online access has been restricted. We find out the latest from online monitoring group NetBlocks. US Election emails unsafe Agari was the company that uncovered and confirmed that the webserver the email that ‘hacked’ Hilary Clinton’s campaign came from Russia. They have now conducted a poll and found that only Elizabeth Warren out of all the potential presidential candidates has secure emails. This matters not only from a data security point of view but also from a voter and donor point – the company has found that voters are less likely to vote for a candidate with a data breach and that donors are less likely to give money. Hate speech control using tech Hate speech that incites violence or hate against vulnerable groups has long been a problem in human societies but has more recently been weaponised by social media. The current system means the direct or indirect recipient needs to complain. The alternative approach is to develop artificial intelligence to identify potential hate speech and put the post in quarantine until either the direct recipient has agreed it should be deleted or has read it and agreed it should be allowed. Cargo Ship tech Our reporter Snezana Curcic has travelled across the North Atlantic Ocean in a bit of an unusual and adventurous way – on a cargo ship. With only eight hours of Wi-Fi allowance per week, Snezana filed this story on her journey from Liverpool to New York on the Atlantic Star. She looks at the tech on board and how this hugely competitive and complex industry is adapting to the digital age to survive. Even e-commerce leaders, like Ali Baba and Amazon, are heavily investing in ocean cargo services and stepping up their game. Picture: Protests in Iran over increasing fuel price, Credit: European Photopress Agency
19/11/1938m 46s

The digital gender divide

The UN reports a widening digital gender gap The UN's International Telecommunications Unit has published a report showing that over 4 billion people are now online worldwide. Despite this, the proportion of women using the internet is still much lower than men, especially in the developing world. Susan Teltscher, Head of the Human Capacity Building Division, describes the significance of this growing divide. Mookh opens up e-commerce opportunities in Kenya Mookh is a Nairobi-based company that allows users to sell their products online. Founder Eric Thimba describes how the platform has allowed many Kenyan creatives to monetize their products and the boon of mobile money to the African economy. The platform has recently launched in Uganda and Rwanda. Curiosity photographs dunes on Mars The Curiosity rover has been exploring Mars since its landing in 2011. Professor Sanjeev Gupta of Imperial College London explains how planners and software engineers work together to conduct experiments remotely, and muses on the potential of sending a real human to the red planet. Reflecting on humanity and data through dance Hannah Fisher reports on Overflow at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Presented by the Alexander Whitley Dance Company, the piece merges movement and technology to contemplate the nature of being human in an era of big data. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Photo: Young Somali refugee women look at a smartphone Credit: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images
12/11/1930m 35s

Facebook Live on crime tech

Digital Planet looks at crime tech in a special Facebook live edition. Gareth Mitchell and Ghislaine Boddington are joined by facial recognition expert Dr Stephanie Hare and Dr Sarah Morris, the director of the Digital Forensics Unit at Cranfield University in the UK. The unit helped convict a criminal using the data on the motherboard of his washing machine! (Photo: Binary numbers on a finger tip. Credit: Getty Images)
05/11/1936m 24s

BBC News on the ‘dark web’

In an attempt to thwart censorship, BBC News is now available through the privacy-focused browser Tor also known as the gateway to the ‘dark web’. Facebook’s ambitions to launch cryptocurrency Last week, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, addressed critical questions about the company’s ambition to launch their own cryptocurrency ‘Libra’. Dr Catherine Mulligan of Imperial College London’s Centre for Cryptocurrency Research explains why some companies are leaving the Libra association. UNICEF start crypto-currency fund UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, will now be able to receive donations in crypto-currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Christopher Fabian, co-founder of UNICEF’s innovation unit, explains how this will allow the organisation to buy data directly from suppliers for schools that are currently offline. New spy technology uses wi-fi signals Wi-fi signals are distorted as they bounce off objects. Dr Yasamin Mostofi from the University of California has created a way to use these distortions to ‘see’ and possibly identify a person moving behind a wall. (Image credit: BBC) Producer: Louisa Field
29/10/1940m 4s

Health of the Internet report

Health of the Internet Solana Larsen, leader of the team at Mozilla that compiled the recent Health of the Internet report talks about the highlights, including openness, privacy and security, digital inclusion, web literacy and centralisation. Multi-purpose drones A drone in Malawi in one flight dropped off medical supplies by parachute, was used by game rangers to monitor animal poaching and created a high resolution 3D mapping of an area. Daniel Ronen, co-founder of UAVAid explains how they have developed their multi-purpose drones. Nam June Paik Nam June Paik embraced technology and digital developments in his art. Born in South Korea in 1932 his work has always been collaborative with musicians, poets and other artists using TV and sound in his often playful art. The Tate Modern gallery in London has brought together 50 years of his most innovative and influential art. Reporter Hannah Fisher, and regular studio commentator, Ghislaine Boddington, went along to explore. Image credit: Mozilla, Internet Health Report 2019 Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
22/10/1939m 19s

First all African smartphone factory

The first African smartphone factory, where phones are made from scratch, opened this week in Rwanda. The smartphones are designed for the African market, so they are being made as affordable as possible, while being accessible and secure. Tunabot Professor Hilary Bart-Smith at the University of Virginia, USA went back to basics to develop a fast swimming robotic tuna - the tunabot. They took detailed anatomical data from the Yellow-finned tuna and Atlantic mackerel and 3D printed the fast tunabot. The tunabot swims faster than existing tunabots by increasing the frequency with which its tail beats. Tech to help deal with dementia An estimated 130 million of us could have dementia by 2050, but technology could help people live with the condition. Videos that pop up on your phone to help you perform everyday tasks like boiling the kettle or QR codes on your clothes that help others identify you and contact your family if you get lost are just some of the advances that Jason Hosken reports on. Ushahidi Ushahidi is Swahili for witness and it’s also the name of an open source software. It was originally created ten years ago to report reprisals and violence around elections. Since then it’s widened out into all kinds of crisis mapping – everything from monitoring natural disasters to illegal deforestation. Angela Odour Lungati is the recently appointed Executive Director at Ushahidi. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: MaraPhone factory. Credit: MaraPhone)
15/10/1940m 51s

Iraq shuts down internet

In response to anti-government protests the Iraq government shut down the internet six days ago. Coverage returned briefly before the president was due to give a televised address on Sunday allowing social media reports of violence at the demonstrations to be posted. Currently 75% of Iraq is covered by the ban. Kurdistan is unaffected. Mismatch There’s no such thing as normal—so why are we all made to use devices, live in cities or travel in vehicles that are so uniform? Whether it’s a computer accessory that only works for right-handed people or airline seats that are unusable for taller people, we need more inclusive design. We discuss Kat Holmes’ new book Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design. Beatie at the Barbican Singer-songwriter and innovator Beatie Wolfe is showing a “teaser” of her new work at London’s Barbican gallery alongside the launch of a film about her. This environmental protest piece distils 800,000 years of historic data of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. It will become an interactive visualisation and soundtrack using gaming software. The Lightyear One: a self-charging electric car The Lightyear One is a prototype solar-powered electric car. There are plans to take it into production by 2021. The manufacturer claims a range of 720km in sunny climates and even 400 km in cloudy, wet UK winter. Tom Stephens reports. (Photo: Iraq protests. Credit:Reuters) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
08/10/1943m 10s

Mobile data costs falling globally

Mobile data costs falling globally New data shows that the cost of mobile data has fallen over the last year and low and middle income countries have generally seen the biggest falls. Research from the Alliance for Affordable Internet shows that despite the drop mobile data is only affordable in 37 out of 100 countries. Blue Broccoli and Nanobots, Qubits and Quiver Trees How do you convince young girls and boys they can have a career in science and technology? In fact the author of a new book, which illustrates possible jobs of the future,, Bryony Mathew is on the programme to explain why she wants children to think differently about their future careers. Qubits and Quiver Trees is the follow up to Bryony’s first book Blue Broccoli and Nanobots Bidding for government business in Kenya A new, simpler and fairer way of bidding for government contracts is in its final stages of development in Kenya. It’s hoped the new online system will encourage women and small businesses to apply for public spending contracts. 3D printed gun conviction A 26-year-old student from London has become the first person in the UK to be convicted of using a 3D printer to make a gun, after police found a machine in his home being fabricating gun parts. It’s a unique case that’s raised questions about how much the law is keeping up with technology as Bobbie Lakera reports (Photo by Chris Jung/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
01/10/1942m 49s

Investigating marine accidents – sea tech latest

Digital Planet visits the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch for learn more about the technology used to investigate incidents at sea. Gareth Mitchell and Dr. Leigh Marsh look at voyage data recorders recovered from ship wrecks, location beacons, CCTV footage through to simulators that can recreate incidents at sea. Picture: Yeoman Bontrup, Credit: Marine Accident Investigation Branch
24/09/1937m 16s

The latest in disability tech

From fitting prosthetic limbs in a few hours to teaching blind children to code how technology is making a difference to everyday lives. Technology is changing disabled people’s lives, but is it being used as much as it could be? Gareth Mitchell and Ghislaine Boddington are joined by Dr. Giulia Barbareschi, Ben Mustill-Rose and Professor Tim Adlam on the show. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Prosthetic technician in Kenya controlling the shape of one of the socket fabricated during the trial. Credit: Giulia Barbareschi,GDI Hub)
17/09/1948m 7s

Brain implant regulation calls

iHuman: Blurring lines between mind and machine One of the UK’s top scientific institutions is calling for investigations into brain implants as brain-reading technology advances. Tech entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have outlined their visions of brain tech, but in reality hundreds of people with neurological conditions are already benefitting from implants positioned in their brains. But how can this be regulated and developed? The UK’s Royal Society has just published their report “iHuman: Blurring lines between mind and machine”. Professor Tim Denison of the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering is one of the authors and joins us in the studio. Biometric legislation – is it keeping up with new developments? Would you want your child’s school attendance registered using facial recognition software? That was a step too far for Swedish regulators, who recently fined a high school $20, 000 for doing just that. Despite a few token control measures there seems to be very little regulation in this field. The UK Biometrics Commissioner Professor Paul Wiles explains his concerns. Privatisation of national assets – what happens to your data? In Brazil, President Bolsonaro is in the midst of a $300bn dollar privatisation drive including selling off the post and tax offices. These organisations hold huge amounts of people’s personal data and as tech reporter Angelica Mari explains it’s not clear what will happen to the personal information of millions of citizens once privatisation happens. Computer memory power save According to UK researchers our ever increasing creation and storing of data will consume a fifth of the world’s energy by 2025. Scientists at the University of Lancaster may have come up with a way of reducing energy use in computer memory. Reporter Hannah fisher has been finding out more. (Picture: Brain implants for Parkinson"s disease. Credit:Science Photo Library) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
10/09/1940m 9s

Digital Planet’s 18th birthday show

An hour long Digital Planet from the BBC Radio Theatre in London to celebrate the programmes 18th birthday. The team look back on the first show and look forward to the tech that is now also coming of age and what we might be seeing in the future. With 3D holographic phone calls, musical performances where the musicians are hundreds of kilometres apart, and the Gravity Synth detecting gravitational waves and turning them into music. (Photo: Binary Gift. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
03/09/1957m 48s

Brazilian fire monitoring in real time

Brazilian fires in real time monitored from space The Head of Remote Sensing at the National Institute of Space Research Brazil Dr. Luiz Aragao joins us on the programme. He explains how optical and thermal satellite images are delivering real time data about the Amazon rainforest fires. This means he and his team can calculate not only what is one fire but how much biodiversity has been lost and carbon released into the atmosphere. They are also analysing date from the ISS and the NASA GEDI mission and are able to recreate 3D images of the surface of the Earth before and after the fires. The Rwandan tech scene Gareth Mitchell visits a tech start-up hub in Kigali. He meets developers from Awesomity Lab who are currently creating e-government websites as well as apps and websites for major international companies. The company was created by a group of young IT specialists and looks just like any other start-up - creative spaces, high tables with designer chairs, blackboards covered with ambitious and 'out there' ideas. Just a few doors down Code of Africa is another tech company that is recruiting young coders and IT engineers - but not for Rwandan companies - Code of Africa is outsourcing their skills to businesses in Europe. 3D printing a moon base 50 years after man first landed on the moon, the race to return seems to be hotting up. India, Russia, USA, China and Europe all have big plans – including setting up a moon base. Reporter Jack Meegan has been to the European Space Agency in the Netherlands to find out if it would be possible to 3D print it. (Photo: Amazon fires Brazil. Credit: Victor Moriyama/Greenpeace/AFP)) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
27/08/1938m 15s

Harnessing tech during conflict

Harnessing tech during conflict Twitter and Facebook have removed accounts that originated in mainland China that it says undermines the “legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement”. Evronia Azer knows all about the double-edged sword when it comes to technology in the midst of conflict. On one side there are tools to mobilise protest, on the other are tools of state control and surveillance. She is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business and Law at Coventry University in the UK where her research interests include data privacy and governance. She joins us on the programme Map Kibera Ten years ago Digital Planet reported on the Map Kibera project, which was just an idea to provide information to OpenStreetMap about the Nairobi slum. This quickly turned into the Map Kibera Organisation which makes sure that Kibera is connected and is focussed on improving people’s lives in the slum. Digital Planet has been back to Kibera to see how the project has changed. First ever plant selfie Hannah Fisher reports on a plant called Pete which could revolutionise field conservation by powering a camera to take selfies as he grows. London Zoo scientists have laid the groundwork for the world’s first plant selfie – a pioneering scientific trial in the Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit which will try out how microbial fuel cells power a plant to take its own picture. This they hope will lead to using plants to power camera traps and sensors in the wild allowing conservationists to monitor habitats remotely. (Protesters in Hong Kong are seen wearing helmets and gas mask while looking at their phone. Credit Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
20/08/1940m 57s

Millions of Instagram users’ activity tracked

Instagram has removed US marketing company Hyp3r from its service after it was accused of grabbing users' data. Hyp3r was scraping profiles, copying photos and siphoning off data supposed to be deleted after 24 hours, according to Business Insider investigation. As Stephanie Hare explains, millions of users have been targeted. Breaking Silences – Rwanda’s first podcast On DP’s recent trip to Rwanda Gareth met two young women who have created the first ever podcast in the country. “Breaking Silences” is a podcast that brings you conversation around things happening in African Society particularly in Rwanda. It’s a really lively show and the hosts are not afraid to tackle subjects that no one else has spoken about publically before... Fire Hackathon package Our reporter Tom Stephens has been to a hackathon aimed at radically rethinking the way that fire safety is incorporated into the construction of buildings. The idea for the event came about in the summer of 2017 following the Grenfell Tower fire. (Photo: Instagram application seen on a phone screen. Credit: Thomas White/Reuters) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
13/08/1939m 38s

Jakarta power cut - millions without electricity

Jakarta power cut The lights are finally back on for most of Jakarta’s ten million people, who suffered a nine-hour outage over the weekend. Taking into account surrounding regions, the power cut could have affected more than a hundred million people. Just a few weeks ago, there was a power outage on a similar scale across much of Argentina and Uruguay. The lights went out recently across the west of Manhattan too. Professor Keith Bell from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland joins us live to explain why these types of cuts happen. Project Loon Loon’s mission is to provide internet connectivity to areas that are typically underserved, using high-altitude balloons with solar-powered cellular network gear on board, replacing the need for permanent tower infrastructure in environments where that kind of option either isn’t practical or affordable. Gareth and Bill have visited Loon’s ground station in Nairobi to find out more. Penguin tech The British Antarctic Survey is using satellites to track wildlife in some extremely remote regions. Their surveillance recently revealed that emperor penguins are fleeing some of their biggest colonies as the ice becomes less stable. Satellites are also tracking whale populations in the remote ocean, but the tech doesn’t stop there, as Jason Hosken reports Art or Not app? The power of the neural net has is rendering your handset your friendly art critic in your pocket. You take a quick pic on your phone: is it a masterpiece, or could a young child have done that? The app called ‘Art or Not?’ is fun but for its creators at Monash University in Australia there’s a serious research question about machines and creativity behind it. The application hits the app store within the next week. Dilpreet Singh and Jon McCormack at Monash University’s SensiLab explain how it works. (Photo: Impact Of Electricity Shut Down In Jakarta And Surrounding Areas. Credit: Photo by Donal Husni/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
06/08/1943m 52s

Not-so anonymised data

Could so-called anonymised data not be quite so opaque? A recent paper in Nature Communications suggests that information regulators around the world might need to reassess what constitutes anonymised data by showing that for any American, just 15 data points could identify an individual person. Insurers, health providers, even media providers should take note of just what can be harvested from these growing numbers of publicly available sets. Smells and Taste A look at sensing. Recently IBM Research demonstrated a new device called Hypertaste which uses AI to learn to identify compounds in water, comparing the unique electrical fingerprint of different molecules. It’s the sort of sensor that just might be included one day on a smartphone. We also look at applications of artificial smell production. Could VR experiences of the near future include convincing smells? Reporter Madeleine Finlay reports on efforts to include synthetic smells in immersive storytelling - AKA smellovision. And Jack Meegan meets musicians in northern England who are deploying some digital musical archaeological techniques in efforts to recreate some early Brian Eno. Presenter Gareth Mitchell Comments from Ghislaine Boddington Producer Alex Mansfield (Photo: New research shows how easy it can be to piece together clues in anonymised data sets. Credit: Getty Images)
30/07/1936m 50s

Chandrayaan-2: India’s moon landing

The Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, succeeded this week in getting its latest lunar lander into earth orbit. A new mobile money platform mGurush launches in South Sudan. In London young developers compete for a prestigious award, and in New Zealand a simple app offers security for lonely situations. (Photo: Indian Space Research Organisation orbiter vehicle Chandrayaan-2 launch. Credit: ISRO HANDOUT © European Photopress Agency) Producer: Alex Mansfield
23/07/1936m 39s

Kenya Special: A decade on

Digital Planet re-visits the technology scene in Kenya, 10 years after the submarine broadband cable was connected. Presenter Gareth Mitchell and regular studio commentator Bill Thompson are in Nairobi to find out what has changed in the last decade and what can be expected in the future. High-speed broadband 10 years on; Tonny Tugee from SEACOM discusses the impact of the submarine communications cable, which was switched on in July 2009. Investment in African tech talent; Amrote Abdella from Microsoft 4 Afrika explains why Microsoft has launched its first Africa Development Centres in Kenya and Nigeria, investing in African tech talent to ensure global relevance. Nekewa Were, Managing Director of iHub is also on the programme. The techspace has helped more than 350 startups and raised $40m in investment since it opened in 2010. Future-proofing Kenya in the technological revolution; technologist Juliana Rotich explains why Kenya must learn from past mistakes in other countries when adopting emerging technologies and is working to ensure that data can benefit all elements of society. Photo: Ania and Gareth Credit: BBC
16/07/1941m 41s

Chinese surveillance app analysed by researchers

Travellers to China through Kyrgyzstan are being forced to install a surveillance app on their phones. Professor Thorsten Holt is on the programme to explain, with the help of investigative journalists, how he has hacked into and analysed this surveillance app. He says the app compiles a report on your phone contacts, text messages and even your social media accounts, as well as searching for over 73,000 specific files. Atmospheric Memory A breath-taking new art environment where you can see, hear and even touch sound, has opened in Manchester. The exhibit is inspired by Charles Babbage, a pioneer of computing technology from 180 years ago. He once proposed that if all spoken words remain recorded in the air, a powerful computer could potentially ‘rewind’ the movement of all air molecules. So how has the ground-breaking ideas of Charles Babbage influenced art and technology today?. Robotic Endoscopy Endoscopies are medical procedures that involve threading a camera through the body to see inside. Anyone who has had one will know how uncomfortable they can be. But, they are also challenging for the doctor - taking on average 100 to 250 procedures to be able to perform well. Reporter Madeleine Finlay met Dr Joe Norton, who is part of an international team developing an intelligent robotic system that could make it a lot less painful for both the patient and clinician. Game Designing: Mentoring the Next Generation Mathew Applegate works with over 300 young people in Suffolk on game design, and has just won the BAFTA Young Game Designers Mentor Award. Having been a hacker and spent time working for the government, Mathew then set up his Creative Computing Club in 2012, which delivers courses on game design, robotics, AI, VR and much more. He spoke to us on why he believes game design is so beneficial for the young people of Suffolk. (Photo caption: “Analysing the App’s binary software code” credit: © Mareen Meyer ) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
09/07/1940m 34s

Declaration of digital independence

Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger is on the programme to explain why he wants us to go on strike and boycott big social media platforms for two days. He’s drafted a Declaration of Digital Independence because he says these internet companies have been abusing their political power, optimising our feeds for controversy rather than civilised debate and gathering masses of our personal information along the way. Irina Bolychevsky, founder and director of gives her opinion on the idea. Multi-use Drones Currently drones tend to have one function; mapping, filming or delivering packages to name but a few. Now a UK company is about to start trials in Malawi of a universal multiuse drone which could perform a number of these roles. The aim of UAVAid is to be able to complete a number of tasks at the same time, significantly reducing running costs. AI Art: Not Quite Smart Enough Mario Klingemann talks about his latest installation at the Barbican in London “Circuit training” explaining some of the tech behind this AI inspired artwork. He invites viewers to teach a neural network how to create an artwork by allowing the AI to capture their image. Their input means that installation is a constantly evolving piece of live art – but it has not been without its teething problems. Weightless – The ‘Most Relaxing Song Ever’ The song ‘weightless’, by the British band Marconi Union, is regularly called ‘the most relaxing song ever’. The eight-minute track was made in collaboration with a sound therapist, to use in an experiment investigating whether music could help reduce stress. Weightless has gone on to have millions of listens on Youtube, but how did science theory and music technology come together to create the relaxation hit? Bobbie Lakhera went into the recording studio to find out. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Picture: Hands holding speech bubbles with social issue concept. Credit: Getty Images)
03/07/1941m 57s

Tax on connectivity in Africa

Tax on Connectivity Taxes on internet and mobile access are on the rise across Africa, according to the Alliance for Affordable Internet. After a daily levy was introduced on social media services in Uganda for example, internet subscriptions fell by 2.5 million. Eleanor Sarpong, Deputy Director at the Alliance for Affordable Internet explains how it’s the poorest and women who are being hardest hit. Kibera Stories Brian Otieno has been using photography to redefine his hometown’s visual narrative, looking beyond the poverty, crime and hardship of Kibera on the outskirts of Narirobi. One day, Brian was scrolling through pictures of his area on his phone and all he saw was deep poverty, whereas he would look around Kibera and see beautiful scenery and aimed to do photography that would “leave a lasting impression on people’s minds”. Green Monkeys Scientists have found that green monkeys in Senegal make the same alarm calls when they see drones as another population of green monkeys across the continent make to eagles – seeing them as a flying threat. Professor Julia Fischer from the German Primate Centre in Gottingen led the study. She says that technology is making some primates behave differently – for instance hiding until drones disappear. How fit if your fitbit? Zoe Klienman has been to Loughborough University to find out how fit our fittech actually is. (Picture: Tax sign. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
25/06/1941m 15s

Fleeing Saudi women tracked by mobiles

Cell phones used to track runaway Saudi women Saudi Arabia is hunting down women who flee the country by tracking the IMEI number on their cellphones, according to an article on the website Business Insider. Reporter Bill Bostock is in the studio to explain how he was told by runaway women that the authorities IMEI numbers on mobile phones to try and find the. Sir Dermot Turing - who really did invent the first computer? Alan Turing is often credited as being the father of modern computing after designing the Bombe, an electromechanical machine used to speed up the decoding effort at Bletchley Park in WW2. His nephew, Dermot, in his book "x, y, z; The Real Story of How Enigma Was Broken” tells Digital Planet that his uncle’s efforts were significantly helped by the Polish mathematicians who broke the Enigma code and a little known Englishman, whose work paved the way for the technology of today. Poland's IT development forging So is Poland still pushing the boundaries in maths and engineering? Polish Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology Jadwiga Emilewicz says the country has always shown strength in these areas. With a booming gaming industry - last week saw Keanu Reeves launch a new Polish game in LA - the country has now set its sights on AI. But with a missed target of delivering faster broadband, the road to top tech is not always easy. Can the promises of AI be delivered safely? Another week and another shiny promotional event to stage the latest technology on the market. Last week it was the turn of the London Tech Summit and reporter Tom Stephens went to see how businesses are developing AI – the main theme of the event – but can the fears about AI be allayed by companies? (Photo: IMEI. Credit: Barnaby Perkins) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
18/06/1941m 18s

Sagrada Família: Can tech complete the build of the basilica?

A work permit for the unfinished church designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi, 137 years after construction started has been issued. Tristam Carfrae, deputy chair of engineering and design company ARUP tells us how technology will help complete the original design of the Sagrada Família basilica. Africa Tech – Increasing African IT Skills A new report shows that the demand for digital skills in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at a faster rate than in other markets. Entitled Digital Skills in sub-Saharan Africa: Spotlight on Ghana, it estimates that 230 million jobs in sub-Saharan Africa will require digital skills by 2030. One of the authors of the report – Maryanna Abdo – explains how most workers will need to retrain across their careers in the future. Oluwatobi Otokiti, technology product manager from, joins us in the studio to tell us how they are promoting African IT talent across the continent. They have offices in seven countries and they run training courses for software engineers - especially encouraging women. Most companies in Africa look outside the continent for IT workers, but Andela is working to change that. Property Tech: How it’s Changing the Way we Buy, Sell and Rent Property Brazilian tech journalist Angelica Mari on how tech is transforming the housing market. In the US open days for house selling are becoming a thing of the past as online companies are taking over. Sellers can change their ad’s online and arrange viewings, while buyers don’t have to wait long to see a potential new home. In Brazil, renters now don’t need a guarantor to vouch for them when renting property. These guarantors needed to own property themselves. This, coupled with a more mobile population, meant renters were finding it was sometimes impossible to rent a property. Now everything is done online giving many more people access to a home of their own. (Photo: Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona. Credit:Getty images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
11/06/1938m 42s

Marine accident investigation technology

Marine accident investigation technology On Sunday on the Giudecca Canal in Venice a giant cruise ship crashed into a docked tourist boat. Mike Travis, of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch in the UK, explains how technology will help accident investigators determine what happened Cancer data and AI Scientists have been gathering petabytes of data from cancer patients in a bid to find new treatments. To be able to analyse some of this massive volume of data, they are harnessing machine learning and AI. Dr. Shamith Samara-Jiwa of the MRC Cancer Unit in Cambridge in England tells us about the difference AI is making in cancer research. Human and AI smart speakers A project that combines AI with human researchers is being trailed in India. Smart speakers, positioned in the street, allow people to ask questions, pick up a ticket and return later for the answer. Some speakers have human intelligence behind them, while others have algorithms. Dr. Jennifer Pearson from Swansea University is behind the work. Saving film projection technology Films are made to be shown – but how you project them can have a significant impact on the quality of the viewers experience. Most cinemas now no longer employ a projectionist and use digital technology to play the film. But as Lauren Hutchinson has been finding out some enthusiasts in New York are finding it harder to keep the old film tech working. (Photo: Cruise ship MSC Opera is seen after the collision with a tourist boat, in Venice, Italy.Credit: EPA/ANDREA MEROLA) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
04/06/1941m 30s

Genderless voice assistants

The world’s first genderless voice assistant has been unveiled to the public, and it goes by the name Q. Reporter Tom Stephens met with Emil Asmussen, associate creative director of VICE Media’s creative agency VIRTUE, who was involved in Q’s creation to discuss the voice of the future. Detecting bladder problems Dr Elfed Lewis from the University of Limerick and his team has created an optical sensor that can be inserted into the bladder, during other procedures, that monitors pressure in the urinary tract. Internet of Bats Professor Kate Jones from UCL has put up sensors in the Queen Elizabeth Park in East London to record the activities of bats. She talks to Gareth about how this information will in the future help to manage the ecosystem for the benefit of wildlife, including the bat populations. Cocktail party hearing aid One of the most impressive properties of the human auditory system is the way most of us can overhear or eavesdrop on specific voices in an otherwise crowded room. Most hearing aids can’t help with that: they can sometimes filter out noises that are not human voices, but cannot do the very human trick of sorting one voice from a sea of others. Nima Mesgarani from Columbia University reports in the journal Science Advances a proof of principle for a device that might be able to do just that. (Photo: Man and woman talking to a smart speaker. Credit: iStock /Getty Images Plus) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
28/05/1936m 12s

Is facial recognition violating people's privacy?

Facial recognition software concerns San Francisco has banned it, while other cities are trailing it...facial recognition software is becoming more commonplace. Perhaps there is little you can do to avoid it but would you be keen to help create it? Stephanie Hare is on the programme to discuss if users of the Ever app knew about the use of their photos to create technology that is being sold elsewhere. AI - friend or foe? In western culture machine learning and AI is viewed with some apprehension but in eastern societies it's seen much more as a partnership between human and robot or algorithm. Gareth and Ghislaine discuss these and other differences in our attitudes towards the tech with Suzanne Livingston and Maholo Uchida, the co-curators of the Barbican Centre's new exhibition; AI More than Human. Microchip fashion Why have some four thousand ordinary Swedes had micro-chips inserted in their hands? The practice is part of a much broader, global and diverse biohacking movement outside of traditional institutions that modifies bodies with novel technologies in order to improve life. Snezana Curcic has been finding out more. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Main Image: A technician tests the face recognition function of intelligent patrol robot 'Meibao' in Beijing, China 20 March 2019. Credit: VCG / VCG via Getty Images.
21/05/1942m 50s

Personal alarms hackable using phone numbers

Personal alarms with GPS can be hacked An investigation by Fidus Information Security has found that over 10,000 people are using personal alarms with GPS and phone data which can be hacked using the owner’s phone number. Andrew Mabbitt describes how these devices are at risk of being hacked and the danger this could pose to the wearer. Smart buildings can increase efficiency Dr Wendy Belluomini is the Director of IBM Research. She explains how IBM are developing AI and IoT to make our built environment respond to our physical and psychological needs – one day your office could even tell what mood you are in… The Internet of Plants might help your garden Louisa Field has just attended a workshop at the tech event republica 19 in Berlin where she helped build and program hardware which can check on your plants and their progress from anywhere and any device. Theoretical currency could prevent large scale fraud Professor Adrian Kent describes a theoretical framework, dubbed ‘S-money’, and how it could ensure completely unforgeable and secure authentication, and allow faster and more flexible responses than any existing financial technology by harnessing the combined power of quantum theory and relativity. (Photo: Personal alarm GPS.Credit: Fidus Information Security) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
14/05/1939m 21s

Ham radio aids cyclone relief effort

Ham Radio in Disaster Relief Efforts Ham Radio operators have been drafted in to keep communications open after Cyclone Fani devastated parts of India. HF and VHF will be used to communicate with the main disaster control room in Delhi. Operators have been deployed to areas where all other forms of communication have failed. Soft Robotics Recent advances in 3D printing have led to significant progress in the field of soft robotics. Katia Bertoldi, professor of applied mechanics at Harvard, describes her work with soft robots - compliant robots, made from soft materials, usually rubber, which are suitable to interact with humans in a non-intrusive way. As these robots need to move in a complex way new materials are being developed to allow them to do that. Fighting Back Against Online Trolls in Colombia In Colombia, an organisation called Fundacion Karisma is helping victims of online abuse fight back against misogynistic internet trolls by educating them on data security. The organisation recently won an award from the Index on Censorship, for their digital activism and work for freedom of expression on the internet. Our reporter Tom Stephens speaks to the head of the organisation about their work. (Photo: People ride a motorbike through debris on a road after Cyclone Fani hit Puri. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
07/05/1937m 14s

The latest in health and fintech

Digital Planet looks at the future of health tech and money. Gareth Mitchell, with studio expert Bill Thompson, present a special Facebook live programme of the BBC’s world technology programme. Halima Khan, executive director, health, people and impact at Nesta, discusses how technology is being used in healthcare and what we can expect in the future for health technology. Angelica Mari, a Brazilian business tech and innovation journalist, explains how the financial technology scene is booming in Brazil and how developing countries can learn from the successes and failures in the developed world. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: 3D illustration of mobile phone over blue background with binary cubes and bank card. Credit: Stock/Getty Images Plus)
30/04/1944m 11s

Can tech help rebuild Notre-Dame?

Can tech help rebuild Notre-Dame? Professor Paul Chapman discusses how Glasgow School of Art has used laser scanned 3D models to try to rebuild their historic Mackintosh building after two damaging fires. Will this technology prove to be vital in the redesign and rebuild of Notre-Dame? Gesture Computing Technology Presenter Gareth Mitchell and studio expert Ghislaine Boddington talk to Per Nohlert from Noenode at the IEEE fifth World Forum on IoT in Limerick, Republic of Ireland. They find out about the latest gesture technology in gaming and medicine, like feeling the air respond to the user’s movements controlling hardware. Dame Steve Shirley The early IT female pioneer Dame Steve Shirley tells the programme about her IT career, what she thinks of the tech scene now and why she has donated millions of her fortune to charity. Should the World Wide Web become feminist? Thursday 25 April marks the ITU Girls in ICT Day. Nora Lindstrom from Plan International - the global child rights organisation - explains why they believe that the World Wide Web must become feminist. (Photo: Laser scan of Notre-Dame de Paris. Credit: Andrew Tallon/Vassar College/AFP) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
23/04/1946m 5s

Internet of Things - what can we expect?

Internet of Things encompasses all devices connected to the internet, which can be further connected. This means that all of our “things” can talk to each other to provide an autonomous action. Imagine a system where your fridge decides when to order your groceries, or your dishwasher decides when to wash your dishes. Outside of your smart home, Internet of Things promises even more, such as smart cities, where traffic lights are connected to millions of sensors that can direct your self-driving car down a congestion-free street. This week, Click are in Limerick, Republic of Ireland, reporting from the IEEE 5th World Forum on Internet of Things. The event explores Internet of Things technology, providing the next steps in the Digital Revolution; covering potential applications in agriculture, transportation, healthcare, smart cities and green tech. Presenter Gareth Mitchell, accompanied by Ghislaine Boddington, discusses emerging Internet of Things utilisation with academics and experts to discover what can be expected from this technology in the near-future. (Picture: Illustration depicting the internet of things. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
16/04/1942m 46s

Shut down of Google’s Ethics Panel

Shut down of Google’s Ethics Panel Google announces an advisory artificial intelligence ethics board and then closes it down within a fortnight, following a row over the choice of its members. BBC Technology reporter Jane Wakefield explains why the now ex-Advanced Technology External Advisory Council has been disbanded. Do robots have morals? Who is responsible for incidents involving autonomous machines? A paper considering the moral responsibilities of robots has been published, prompting these big questions. Yochanan Bigman, a postdoc at the University of North Carolina, discusses what they found. The Music Memory Box for dementia patients A small box combining objects that are precious to a person with dementia and music from their past has reached its crowdfunding target. The ‘Music Memory Box’ includes a miniature Raspberry Pi computer and RFID sensors and is based on the idea that a sense of music often endures in a dementia patient long after many of their other faculties have diminished. Reporter Madeleine Finlay finds out more. GDPR a year on - success or failure? Almost a year after Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation came into effect, Josephine Wolff, Assistant Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, explains why the policy can be regarded as both a success and a failure. (Photo: Google search engine web page. Credit: Getty Images)
09/04/1940m 19s


#ShareNoEvil A new Chrome browser extension aimed at blocking terrorist content following the mosque shooting in Christchurch in New Zealand has been launched. It blocks the alleged Christchurch shooter’s name from appearing in any search on Chrome and replaces any mention of the blocked name with the words Share No Evil. Simon Morton explains how internet service providers and mobile telecom companies in New Zealand have been blocking videos of the Christchurch attack. Digital diplomacy Snezana Curcic reports on how the traditionally secretive world of diplomacy is now being acted out on social media. The governments of 169 countries (88 per cent of all UN members) are now on Facebook, and Denmark even has an Ambassador to Silicon Valley. Wifi on the metro How is the mobile broadband on your city’s metro system? Great if you commute in Moscow, Rome, Tokyo, Barcelona, Hong Kong or Melbourne. However other cities don’t fare so well. In London WiFi is available at stations but there is no connectivity in the tunnels. Wired’s Business Editor Katia Moskvitch has been finding out why there are such differences. Building Information Modelling How can tech make building quicker and more economical? Using a system called BIM! It stands for Building Information Modelling and works by constructing a building twice – firstly digitally and then physically. But it’s much more complicated than just creating a virtual model as Thayla Zomer from the Centre for Digital Built Britain at the University of Cambridge explains. (Picture: Share No Evil. Credit: Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
02/04/1940m 19s

Tech help after Cyclone Idai

As the death toll across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi rises following Cyclone Idai, families are desperately trying to find missing loved ones. To help reunite families, the International Committee of the Red Cross has launched a dedicated digital website in English and Portuguese. We hear about the difficulties of gathering this data when there is no electricity in some places, let alone connectivity. Decentralising the Web Following 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web we look at how the web may change in the future. A network where so much data, money and control resides in a handful of huge tech companies seems at odds with that original vision of a ‘distributed hypertext system'. Given that much of the world is on one social media platform, uses one search engine and shops at one online store – the world wide web of today looks remarkably ‘centralised’. But could it be decentralised? Bee Virus Music Imagine a music track that keeps glitching, but the faults are intentional and the sound files have deliberately been corrupted. The track itself is based on a virus that is threatening some populations of bees and it is now part of an installation just outside London. Visitors are kitted out with wearable technology that transmits the corrupted WAV between themselves, which simulates the spread of the virus and raises awareness of the increasing threat to bees. Social Media President Hashtag #Bolsonaro Persona Non Grata has been trending on social media in Chile in recent days during the visit of Brazil’s far-right leader. This time controversy came following a lunch where the dress code for women was 'short skirts'. The social media response to this request spread quickly, with some delegates refusing to go and is just one of many controversial posts on social media linked to the Brazilian President's account. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Tropical Cyclone Idai lashed Mozambique. Credit: Getty Images)
26/03/1941m 41s

Technology from the Cambridge Science Festival

Cambridge Science Festival This week we have a special programme recorded at the Cambridge Science Festival. Gareth and Bill have been running around the University to talk about holograms, quantum computing, finding out what our data is really used for by tech companies and social media sites and trying to find out if tech makes us happy – or not! (Photo: Cambridge Science Festival, University of Cambridge) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
19/03/1933m 41s

Aviation technology - are we in control?

As more airlines ground their Boeing 737 aircraft we look at Aviation technology and how much control a pilot now has over his or her plane? Internet cameras easily hackable An Austrian security researcher has accessed millions of IP addresses in the country and looked at what's connected to them. His work has flagged up unsecured web cameras, printers and web servers. Christian Hascheck passed on his findings to the relevant security authorities. Squawk squad Every year in New Zealand, 25 million native birds are killed by predators like rats, stoats and possums. Now a local social enterprise and a pest trap manufacturer have got together to use technology to trap these pests more effectively. Meshminds More than 20 multi-sensory experiences have gone on show at the Meshminds 2.0: ArtxTechforGood in Singapore. The exhibition is part of a call to action towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development goals. Presenter: Gareth Mitchell Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: A Boeing 737 Max 8 prepares to land on 11 March 2019. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
12/03/1939m 44s

Missing crypto-currency mystery deepens

Missing crypto-currency mystery deepens $137m worth of crypto-cash is missing, despite the efforts of auditors to find the virtual currency. The mysterious case of Gerald Cotton, founder of the QuadrigaCX exchange, who died in India last December, has taken a new turn as auditors have found his e-wallets empty. Media censorship in Thailand In the run up to the country’s general election later this month, Thailand’s military-appointed parliament has been accused of clamping down on internet freedoms and even tv stations with a controversial cybersecurity law and a temporary ban of the opposition TC channel. Off grid fridges Researchers have been evaluating off-grid fridges in Uganda to see what difference they’d make to business owners like shopkeepers in areas lacking reliable electricity supplies. The fridges can also be used to store medicines and vaccines that need to kept cool. Those behind the Global LEAP Off-Grid Refrigerator Competition reckon they’re the first to field test these solar powered appliances and have just released their findings. Women’s health apps – how safe and secure are they?. In the past three years, 3 billion of investment has gone into women’s health technology and there has been a huge growth in health tracking apps. There have been major concerns surrounding the sharing of this intimate data when it comes to commercial menstrual apps for women. But could scientists use this data in research into diseases like endometriosis? (Photo: Quadriga CX CEO Gerald Cotton. Credit: Stephen Hui) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
05/03/1936m 0s

Global tech threat report

The Cyber protection firm CrowdStrike has released its annual report on global cyber-attacks. CTO and co-founder of CrowdStrike Dmitri Alperovitch explains how long companies take to discover and deal with an attack. CERN 30th anniversary browser reboot Scientists at CERN have recreated the first ever web browser, 30 years after developing the first ever one at the site. The Bach Test Can you tell which is the real music of J S Bach and which is AI generated? Reporter Madeleine Finlay has been trying to decipher which is which before a performance at London’s Barbican Arts Centre as part of its Life Rewired season. Smart Krishi farming app in Nepal Farmers in Nepal are using an award winning app “Smart Krishi” to help grow and sell their crops. Founder Anil Regmi explains how it works. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Skull on blue digital screen. Credit: Getty Images)
26/02/1939m 14s

Farming of the Future

The Future of farming As the human population continues to grow can ag-tech developments create a more sustainable and efficient way of farming that will increase yields to cope with demand for food? Click looks at what farms of the future could look like; from fitbits for cows and robotic milking and growing crops without a human setting foot in a field. Are we looking at a digital agricultural revolution with highly technically skilled farm labourers needed to manage some of these automated systems? (Picture: iot smart industry robot 4.0 agriculture concept,industrial agronomist,farmer using autonomous tractor with self driving technology , augmented mixed virtual reality to collect, access, analyze soil. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz/ Jack Meegan
19/02/1942m 1s

Using AI to predict heart attacks

Can beeps from hospital machines save lives? In hospitals across the world, machines attached to patients bleep away, flash across a screen and then disappear. But since 2013 Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children has been collecting this data from patients in intensive care. It now has more than two trillion data points in its virtual vault from forty two intensive care beds. It's just appointed Dr. Anna Goldenberg as its first chair in biomedical informatics and artificial intelligence to try and create early warning system for cardiac arrests and other life threatening events from this data. Can tech help the homeless? Can technology help charities helping the homeless in Brighton? That’s the question that the city’s Tech for Good group are asking by bringing local digital businesses and charities together to see how they can support homeless people with tech. Why start-ups are setting up in Mumbai According to a newly published KPMG report, Mumbai, India's financial capital, is now also a hot spot for start-ups. 14% of the 50,000 start-ups in the country are based there now. Quartz reporter and tech journalist Ananya Bhattacharya, explains why the city is attracting the companies because of money, a highly IT literate workforce and a large, and relatively wealthy, consumer base. Saving podcasts from digital oblivion In recent years we have seen a huge growth in the popularity of podcasts. However in light of digital decay, even twenty years from now, will the podcasts we listen to be lost? The Metropolitan New York Library council is aiming to help independent podcast producers protect their work against the threats of digital decay. Lauren Hutchinson reports. (Photo: Intensive care unit. Credit: Getty images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
12/02/1939m 29s

Facebook’s Ad Transparency Questioned

Facebook ad blocker Facebook has blocked parts of plug ins used by research groups who are analysing political adverts. Some of these organisations claim it’s now harder to see how ads are being targeted, Facebook argues its restrictions are about privacy of data of its users. Which is it? Melbourne Conservatorium goes digital The first music degree to be awarded in Australia was in 1879 by the University of Melbourne. Now the University's music school - the Conservatorium - in going interactive. Kenny McAlpine starts a new job there this week as its first ever Fellow in Interactive Composition. WIRED – learn about electricity through gaming Educational games are usually pretty basic – they just need to be slightly more fun than a normal lesson. Now researchers at Cambridge University have developed a platform game called WIRED that is available on gaming websites and can compete with commercial games. As well as being lots of fun it teaches teenagers about electricity – wiring circuits, creating energy by connecting fuel cells up and solving a whole host of other engineering problems VR at the National The Young Vic theatre in London was taken over by VR this week, with a performance of "Draw me Close" by award winning Canadian writer Jordan Tannahill. It tells the story of Jordan as he deals with his mother's terminal cancer diagnosis. Jordan’s mother is played by an actress whose movements are translated into the virtual world using motion capture while she engages with the audience member in the physical world. (Photo: Thumbs up and down. Credit: Getty) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
05/02/1932m 43s

Technology Use in Brazil Dam Disaster

Can mobile data help in finding survivors of Brazil’s burst dam? Technology is being used to try and find the hundreds of people still missing following the country’s worst environment disaster. But is it too late? Turning Thoughts Into Speech For the first time neuroengineers have created a system that translates thought into intelligible, recognizable speech. By monitoring someone's brain activity, the technology can reconstruct the words a person hears. Eventually this technology could help people who cannot speak due to illness, communicate again. Social Media Knows You Even If You’ve Never Signed Up A new study shows that privacy on social media is like second-hand smoke. It is controlled by the people around you and even if you have not signed up to social media, your friends who have may be unknowingly giving away information about you. Writing Your Own Story Broadcast media is always changing - the way we consume it; how we watch it; where we can watch it. But what we have is linear media, the order is set and we just choose a slightly different way to watch it. But a new technology is on the horizon which allows you to change a story live during the programme. Our reporter Jack Meegan has been finding out more. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Brazil dam collapse. Credit: Getty Images)
29/01/1936m 24s

Zimbabwe Internet Back Up

The internet is coming back up in Zimbabwe following a court ruling against the government, which had ordered telecoms companies to shut it down. Julie Owono, the executive director of Internet without Borders updates us on this and other internet shutdowns across the continent. Chess Against the (AI) Machine Natasha Regan, women’s international master and co-author of Game Changer: Alphazero’s Ground Breaking Chess Strategies and the Promise of AI, is live in the Click studio to tell us how this chess playing AI could create new medicines and even tackle climate change. Are Smart Buildings Safe From Hacks? This is a question that one major tech security firm has been testing. Elisa Costante, Senior Director of Industrial and OT Technology Innovation at Forescout, explains how our increasing integrations of technology in the building we work and live in could leave the structures and us vulnerable to hacking. Smart Cities for All Technology is improving city life, making it easier to get permits, pay fines, even catch buses, but can everyone use these innovations? The organisations Smart Cities for All is helping city developers across the world ensure that when they implement a new bit of tech that it can be used by everyone, no matter what their age or physical ability. James Thurston from Smart Cities for All wants to ensure that our ever growing urban spaces are adopting inclusive tech. (Photo: A wave of protest erupted in Zimbabwe prompting a security crackdown. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
22/01/1938m 55s

US Shutdown Effect on Tech

US Shutdown effect on tech As the stand-off between President Trump and the Senate continues life goes on – but with so many services relying on IT how are everyday activities being affected? And what about cybersecurity, according to reports, this is one area that’s been hard hit Anthony Zurcher the BBC’S Senior North America Reporter tells us more. Ageism in Tech So is your mid-thirties too old to start a start-up? According to a new survey of 500 US start-up founders, the age at which age bias kicks in by investors is 36! Leah Fessler writes for the tech news website Quartz on work, gender and relationships and tells Click how surprised she was about the findings. Sans Forgetica - a font to remember Today there are hundreds of thousands of typefaces and fonts in the open market. The latest addition to this rich typography collection is Sans Forgetica, the typeface that was designed and recently launched by the researchers at the Melbourne's Royal Institute of Technology (RMIT University). Still in its infancy, and with promising results, the project aims to help with memory retention. Snezana Curcic reports. The Big Issue adds AR How does a print magazine develop if it can’t have an online presence? The UK based magazine “The Big Issue” aims to support homeless people by allowing them to sell the magazine on the streets, having an online presence would significantly impact their returns, so the magazine has just published its first AR issue. As Ben Sullivan, Digital Editor at The Big Issue, explains they can add exclusive content without having a negative impact on their vendors. (Photo: US websites shutdown. Credit: Getty)) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
15/01/1938m 32s

Congo Internet Shutdown

Congo Internet Shutdown Last week, following the Presidential Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the internet was shutdown. Reports claim this was under instruction from the government, the government in turn denies this. BBC Africa Business Editor Larry Madowo explains why this is happening. Screen Time for Kids New guidelines for the amount of time children should use electronic screens everyday have been issued by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK. The doctors advise that screens are put away an hour before bedtime. Professor Russell Viner, President of the RCPCH joins us in the studio to explain their new advice. Companies Paying Cyber Ransoms One of the authors of a new book “Solving Cyber Risk: Protecting Your Company and Society” says that well-known businesses, whose products and services many of us consume, are paying huge ransoms to cyber-criminals having been breached by malware. Andrew Coburn, chief scientist at the Centre for Risk Studies at the University of Cambridge tells Click more. Raising Chicks in West Africa A new incubator for chicks which is operated by a smart phone app, could significantly increase the number of chicks farmers in Benin can produce. As part of drive to import less food into the west African country, developers say their new electronic incubator could help farmers increase the numbers of chicks born from thirty a year to three hundred a month. (Photo: Woman voting. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
08/01/1936m 55s

Our Changing Relationship with Tech

As the new year begins Click looks at our changing relationship with technology and how it might evolve in the coming year. We've moved from tech worship to tech fear. Can we learn how to manage our technology and learn to evolve with it? Click discusses how much time we spend with technology and what some organisations know about us - should we all consider a data detox programme in the New Year? Biometrics and AI are beginning to develop into everyday tech - are we ready to deal with the benefits and the potential problems these may bring? Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Image: Digital detox data tunnel Credit: alexskopje/Getty Images
01/01/1943m 5s

The Mouse at 50

Fifty years ago Doug Engelbart, engineer and inventor from the Augmentation Research Center Lab, gave what has become known as the “mother of all demos” – a demonstration of many computing concepts - such as the mouse, text links, and videoconferencing, that today we take for granted. Yet despite this landmark showcase it took another twenty years for the mouse to come into our homes and offices. Click looks back the development of the mouse and how interfaces may change in the future. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Image: Prototype of the first mouse computer presented in 1968 (invented in 1963 by Douglas C. Engelbart) Credit: Apic/Getty Images
25/12/1835m 26s

Global Printer Hacker Strikes Again

The hacker who hijacked printers around the world a month ago has done it again. The so called “PewDiePie” printer hacker says he’s been trying to show that "'hacking' isn't a game or toy; it can have serious real-life consequences." We find out how he did it… AI narratives – why Hollywood is leading the industry So why is it when it comes to writing up an AI story and finding a suitable image it often ends up being the same one used over and over again...? It's a problem that Dr Kanta Dihal has noticed and reports in her latest findings. It seems as though AI is being designed in a way that we in the west imagine it to be from Hollywood movies, and we're thrusting that idea onto other countries, where their AI perceptions and stories are often completely different. Will Twi survive in a tech world? Although English is the official language in Ghana, Twi is the most widely spoken. But has the rise of the internet and technology affected Twi? Family Harm App Simon Morton has been on shift with police in Auckland trying out their new family harm app. It allows them to record incidents of domestic violence quickly electronically, and therefore spend more time with the victims of domestic violence. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Image: PewDiePie printer hackers message Credit: BBC
18/12/1841m 38s

Cyber Attack Risk Up By 9%

The impact of cyber attacks on the economies of the world’s largest cities is up by 9% this year. Researchers from the Centre for Risk Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School say they do not want to be alarmist but hope their work will help governments, councils, companies and organisations to use their findings modelling like they would for instance flood modelling and then be able to plan for potential cyber attacks or data breaches. Cyber Sex Can tech make our emotional and sexual experiences better? Author and academic Dr Kate Devlin, who has just published her book Turned on; Science, Sex and Robots, believes it can. She recently organised two sex-tech hackathons to see if we can get away from the current image that we have of pornographic sex robots that satisfy the needs of computer geeky men. Security flaws in widely used data storage devices Researchers at Radboud University in the Netherlands have discovered that widely used data storage devices with self-encrypting drives do not provide the expected level of data protection. A malicious expert with direct physical access to widely sold storage devices can bypass existing protection mechanisms and access the data without knowing the user-chosen password. Beam me up Roland Lecturers at Imperial College, London have a new star quality - they are getting the Michael Jackson treatment - being turned into holograms. The school has decided this will help connect their students around the world. Wanting a taste of the glory Roland Pease went to the college while they were testing out the system. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Cyber attack. Credit: Getty Images)
11/12/1832m 49s

Bloom App is 10!

“The first great iPhone app” – Bloom celebrates its 10th birthday Ten years ago Brian Eno and musician and software designer Peter Chilvers launched the Bloom app on the iPhone. It revolutionised app development and was called “The First Great iPhone App” by Gizmodo. Requiring no musical or technical ability, the Bloom app enabled anyone to create music, simply by touching the screen. Now Brian and Peter are launching Bloom 10 Worlds - it adds 10 new worlds to the original app using enhanced visuals and music generation software. It will also be available on Android for the first time. Click went to meet Brian and Peter at Brian's studio in west London to learn how they came to create the original app and how technological developments have allowed them to update it. (Photo: Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers. Credit: Microsoft) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
04/12/1847m 0s

Mars Landing

Mars landing Kate Arkless Gray tells Click about the technology on the latest Nasa Mars lander InSight and how this will work now that it is safely on the Red Planet’s surface. Detecting unknown drones Aviation and drone experts have been carrying out drone trials near a major airport in the UK to trial new software designed to detect unauthorised drones and see if it can alert planes to potential danger. Gareth Mitchell went along to see how the technology works. Wikipiano Imagine if you went to a concert and perhaps thought the music that was being played there wasn't quite to your taste, or that the performance could be improved - would you want to change it? Well if the piece being performed is a webpage - one which anyone can access - you can make changes and see them implemented at the next show. Jack Meegan reports on his experience of Wikipiano. Reading a book millions of times Would you read the same story over a million times? New technology developed by the BBC will allow you to listen to a story in millions of combinations - the chapters are the same, just played in a different order. We hear more about B.S. Johnson’s “The Unfortunates.” (Photo: NASA engineer and InSight project manager Tom Hoffman points to the first image upon a successful landing by the InSight spacecraft on the planet Mars. .Credit: Getty images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
27/11/1840m 14s

Data Ethics Monitoring

The world’s first Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation has been launched today by the UK government. We discuss why one is needed and what its aims are. Jean-Michel Jarre Global music technology star Jean Michel Jarre has been to the BBC Click studios to talk about his latest album “Equinoxe Infinity” which explores the use of AI. Jean-Michel talks about bridging the gap between technology and humans to strive to save the planet. Tony Sale Award The 2018 Tony Sale Award for computer conservation has been won by a project to restore three generations of flight simulators. The Center for Technology and Innovation (Techworks) in Binghamton, New York, has restored a Second World War analogue flight simulator, a 1960s solid-state hardware version and a digital simulator from the 1980s. We speak to the woman behind the project Susan Sherwood, executive director of Techworks. The awards were organised by the Computer Conservation Society. Quantum Compass The UK’s first quantum accelerometer for navigation has been demonstrated by a team from Imperial College London and M Squared. Most navigation today relies on a global navigation satellite system like GPS, which sends and receives signals from satellites. These signals though can be blocked. The quantum accelerometer is a self-contained system that does not rely on any external signals. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: Computer graphic of numbers and data Credit: Getty Images)
20/11/1840m 0s

Using AI to Monitor Crowd Emotions

A Vision of Women and VR After the walkout at Google of the way women and ethnic minorities are treated can other tech industries do better? A new project entitled “A vision of Women and VR” has bought together twenty leading women in VR in the UK to help create an equal future of the virtual reality industry; its workforce, content and audiences. Agoraphobic traveller Why does National Geographic website publish a story about a woman who is agoraphobic, yet is about to have an exhibition of global images? How can she take these pictures if she struggles to leave her home? She does it with the help of Google Streetview. (Photo: Basketball fans at basketball arena. Credit: Getty images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
14/11/1839m 14s

A Million Processor Supercomputer

Largest neuromorphic supercomputer The world’s largest neuromorphic supercomputer has just been switched on. Called the Spiking Neural Network Architecture or SpinNNaker, it’s built to work like the human brain and can complete more that 200 million million actions per second, making it the fastest of its kind in the world. First AI medical app in Swahili Ada, an AI powered health platform, is launching in Swahili, making its health assessment technology available to more than 100 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa. The app uses data from real medical cases as well as knowledge from doctors and scientists. But how useful will it be if access to the internet or a decent smart phone is limited? Coding with the Flying Scotsman The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineers in Europe. To increase these figures the UK government has embarked on a “Year of Engineering” campaign. Our reporter Jack Meegan has travelled to the National Railway Museum in York – the home of the world famous Flying Scotsman locomotive - to find out more about the Future Engineers event designed to get girls into technology and engineering. Is Uber in the US? Is the question that Yinka Adegoke was asked once when he hailed an Uber in Nairobi. Yinka is the Africa Editor for the Quatrz news website and he's just published a piece about how the gig economy, pushed on by technology like Uber, AirBnB and other apps, is becoming increasingly vital to many African economies. (Photo: The world’s largest neuromorphic supercomputer. Credit: The University of Manchester) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
06/11/1838m 14s

Is VR Dying?

The promise of a new virtual world where we could escape and become someone completely different may never become a reality, according to tech journalist Joshua Topolsky. On Click, BAFTA award winning immersive artist Catherine Allen argues that VR is not dying, but it will not be the experience we thought it would be. Managing Social Media After a Terrorist Attack How should police and other authorities manage social media during and after a terrorist attack? A new report, entitled From Minutes to Months, give guidance on how best to do this. One of the authors, Martin Innes, Director of the Crime and Security Research Institute at Cardiff University explains more. A New Physiotherapy App to Improve Treatment Simon Morton reports about a new app in New Zealand that allows you to play games while exercising on a wobble board. This piece of kit is used by physiotherapists to treat injuries, but they find that patients do not always do as their told. Could this app increase prescribed exercise? Japan’s Emperor Computer Bug Could the planned abdication of Japan’s Emperor lead to a country wide computer crash? Dr Ansgar Koene from the University of Nottingham explains why a change in royal leadership might cause some computer glitches. (Photo caption: A woman having fun using VR in her home - credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
30/10/1837m 37s

Migrant Caravan Communications

Three thousand migrants from Latin America are attempting to enter the US en masse. How are they organising it - is it just word of mouth or does technology play a part? Digital forensics, why an online washing machine could land you in hot water. Robot flies become real but they won’t be landing in your drinks any time soon. The role of fake news in starting World War II. How the Nazis conned the allies into allowing them to invade Czechoslovakia, with a very modern sounding deception. (Photo caption: Thousands of Honduran migrants resumed their march toward the United States from the southern Mexican city of Ciudad Hidalgo – credit: AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Julian Siddle
23/10/1838m 32s

Keeping Internet Traffic Within Africa

The Internet Society has partnered with Facebook to expand internet connectivity in Africa using internet exchange points (IXP). IXPs could allow data to stay within the continent instead of being sent outside and then back again. Our attitudes towards technology appear to have changed completely – from tech worship to tech fear. Will we be able to find a healthy balance? Jess Tyrell, author of a new discussion paper about our approach to tech and Julian Blake, editor at DigitalAgenda, who organised a Power & Responsibility Summit in London, discuss what can be done. Do you repair your old tech or do you buy new as soon as there is a better model? Reporter Hannah Fisher has been to the Festival of Maintenance, ahead of International Repair Day, to find out if she would be able to fix her old gadgets. Helen Leigh is teaching children how to sew circuits. Her new book, The Crafty Kid’s Guide to DIY Electronics, is all about learning to make your own technology and the first steps in being able to fix electronic kit. (Image caption: Blue glass globe showing Africa and Europe map on a computer keyboard – credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
16/10/1838m 40s

Apple and Amazon Deny China Hack Claims

Apple and Amazon have strongly denied they have been subject to a Chinese cyber-attack, following a report by Bloomberg Businessweek. BBC Technology Correspondent Mark Ward tells Click more and if such a spy chip attack could even be possible. Scientists at Drexel University in the US have created spray on antennas that perform as well as current antennas found in phones, routers and other gadgets. They have used a 2D metallic material called MXene which they say can be painted onto everyday objects, widening the scope of the Internet of things considerably. Would you like to have a top of the range sound system in your living room without the hefty price tag? A new project by a number of UK universities and the BBC allows our mobiles, laptops and tablets to enhance our listening experience. The UK’s first ever interactive film will be broadcast live in cinemas and online across Europe this weekend. Reporter Madeleine Finlay has had a sneak preview. (Photo caption: Workers prepare for the opening of an Apple store in Hangzhou – credit: Reuters) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
09/10/1838m 46s

Could Tech Warn of Future Tsunami?

Could a complex prototype system of sensors and cables on the sea floor in Indonesia warn scientists of future tsunamis? Professor Louise Comfort from the University of Pittsburgh explains how this might work. What could be the consequences of hidden messages encoded into audio that voice recognition systems can hear, but we can’t? Professor Dorothea Kolossa from the University of Bochum has been hacking into these systems to find out. Is the age of tech fibre really upon us? Professor Yoel Fink from MIT says his team is on the verge of developing true tech clothes that will be able to warn us that a car is approaching. The power and the value of water is explored in a new art installation in Liverpool in the UK. Housed in the Toxteth Reservoir – a huge and empty space which was at the cutting edge of design and engineering in Victorian times – the exhibition uses sensors and hydrophones to track visitors and enhance their experience. (Photo credit: A bridge sits destroyed after being hit by an earthquake and tsunami – credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
02/10/1834m 22s

Digital v Analogue

The digital era gives us everything to own, but nothing to touch. At the same time there is an increasing craving for tactile, physical analogue experiences. In recent years there has been a return to vinyl with record shops opening up across the world; in Berlin alone there are more than 100. It is not just nostalgia. Many new sales are coming from young people who have been brought up in a digital age. Perhaps for a heathy life we need an analogue ying to our digital yang. In the BBC Radio Theatre, London, Click brings together innovators and musicians to perform and to explore how we balance out analogue and digital lives. Rachel Chinouriri is a young performer of Zimbabwean origin in London, and a recent graduate of BRIT School famed for such alumni as Adele. Chinouriri has embraced new technological tools to produce an EP in a day. She is joined by the artist/musician, Stephen Mallinder from Cabaret Voltaire, who has specialised in working in both digital and analogue. And from Finland, Gemma Paintin from Oh Europa: Action Hero, proxies in from her mobile home which doubles as a DIY recording studio. Producer: Colin Grant (Photo: Video cassettes, audio cassettes, and USB, flash drive. Credit: Getty Images)
25/09/1849m 34s

Atomic Radio

Using a laser to detect the effect of radio waves on certain atoms is the basis for a new kind of antenna that resists interference and can receive a wider range of signals. Click talks to David Anderson who has reinvented the antenna from scratch. 4D printing allows 3D objects to can change shape reacting to external inputs such as pressure, temperature, light or other environmental stimuli, making 4D printed creations interactive. Researchers in Wellington, New Zealand are using biology as inspiration for their 4D designs. Click’s Simon Morton reports. Dan Hett’s “The Loss Levels” appears as part of the Alternate Realities tour at the Brighton Digital Festival. “The Loss Levels” is a deeply personal and experimental arcade game that narrates the artist’s experience in 2017 when he lost his brother in the Manchester Arena terror attack. Click talks to Dan Hett. The digital era gives us everything to own, but nothing to touch. In recent years there has been a return to vinyl with record shops opening up across the world: in Berlin alone there are more than 100. As a preview to Click’s special Radio Theatre programme next week, Snezana Curcic examines the relationship between analogue and digital. (Image caption: Vacuum tube, radio – credit: Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant
18/09/1842m 24s

Music Tech Fest in Stockholm

Music Tech Fest is a three-day arts festival and creative space where participants share and "develop new formats of musical performance and expression”. Click hears from Michela Magas about the highlights including a musical collaboration that helps a disabled DJ (Tim Palm) whose work with technology includes adjusting the controls on his iPad with his nose. A new display at London’s V&A Museum explores what design for music can mean in the digital age – from a musical jacket woven with Beatie Wolfe's music to the world’s first "anti-stream" from the quietest room on Earth. Beatie Wolfe joins Click to discuss the new work. Ken Kocienda spent fifteen years at Apple as part of a creative team making innovative software and is one of the key people behind why the iPhone touchscreen keyboard turned out the way it did, and why Apple’s product culture was so special. Kocienda joins Click to discuss his work in a new book, Creative Selection. Drones will transform cities, revolutionising how people travel, how goods are delivered and how buildings look and are constructed, according to a documentary by Dezeen. Click talks to the director of the film, Marcus Fairs. (Photo caption: Michela Magas © Music Tech Fest) Producer: Colin Grant
11/09/1837m 36s

'Neuropolitics' Consultants and Hacking

Click talks to Maria Pocovi, the founder of Emotion Research Lab in Valencia, Spain, and the science writer Elizabeth Svoboda about the rise of 'neuropolitics': the use of technology to gauge the concerns of voters and to influence the direction in which they will vote. Facebook has been accused of not doing enough to halt the rise of hate speech directed at the Rohingya people on its platform. Click talks to reporter Aela Callan about her research in Myanmar on this subject and how she tried to alert Facebook. The curator of a new exhibition at the V&A in London joins Click to explore the design and culture of contemporary videogames. Marie Foulston discusses how the show charts design in games and its remarkable innovations. Image: Businessman holding brain and light bulb with global networking connection (Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant
04/09/1837m 43s

The Dark Web

Recent news reports of the German couple jailed for selling their child to paedophiles via the dark web have highlighted the growing pernicious use of the dark web and its growing impact on aspects of modern life. Jamie Bartlett joins Click to discuss just how dark the dark web has now become. No Shame is the name of a website that aims to take the stigma out of sex education in Kazakhstan. Click talks to Karlygash Kabatova, the website’s founder. Raspberry Pi is a little computer that looks like a little circuit board with some USB ports and an HDMI socket. The latest instalment in the ‘Life of Pi’ is that the machine is now dabbling with AI thanks to a link up with Google’s TensorFlow. Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi joins Click to discuss this development. Click is given a sneak preview of a new Braille e-reader. It is a working prototype right now but its inventors tell Click when they hope it will be ready for the market. Ed Rogers of Bristol Braille joins Click with the latest news. (Image caption: Hooded computer user – credit: Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant
28/08/1835m 4s

Kerala Floods

Following the disastrous floods in Kerala, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Kerala government’s IT department has partnered with volunteer developers to design and run, a website working to connect all stakeholders. Click reports. New Zealand researchers wants to make the world a safer place, from bad weather and floods, to an unmarked mine shaft, a chemical spill or even an aggressive stray dog - by using the crowd as well as the Internet of Things to log millions of hazards and other health and safety information around the world. Simon Morton reports. With 3D printers, manufacturing a gun becomes simple and untraceable. A user might locate a template online for a firearm online, plug it into a 3D printer and with the right materials, a gun is created on the spot. The battle to stop the proliferation of 3D printed guns is heating up in the USA. Click talks to Cassandra Crifasi. Oh Europa is a 30,000km journey collecting love songs over six months by the arts collective Action Hero. Click talks to Gemma Pantin who is travelling with James Stenhouse across Europe in a motorhome, recording songs sung by the people they meet. (Photo caption: Indian volunteers and rescue personal evacuate local residents in a boat in a residential area at Aluva in Ernakulam district, in the Indian state of Kerala – credit: AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant
22/08/1836m 33s

Nasa's Parker Solar Probe Mission

Kate Arkless Gray joins Click to discuss the origins of the world-first solar probe which is en route to "touch the Sun". The mass-surveillance activities of security agencies exposed in recent years ago have given all of us a jolt into our lack of privacy. How do we ensure that governments are held accountable for such infringements in the future? AUDIT uses several key cryptographic methods to ensure transparency. Click talks to the researcher Jonathan Frankle. A new study by the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford suggests that while the flexibility and autonomy of remote gig work may be initially appealing and benefit some people, there may be some unforeseen consequences to their well-being. Click talks to Alex Wood. In India, two million professional astrologers regularly offer readings to a range of people from manual labourers to stock brokers. Increasingly astrology is relying on artificial intelligence to provide the number crunching that underpins astrology. Snezana Curcic’s report begins with Chandan Tiwari, a founder of Vedic Rishi, an astrology-technology services global provider. (Image caption: Illustration showing Nasa's Parker Solar probe © EPA/APL/Nasa/GSFC) Producer: Colin Grant
14/08/1840m 27s
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