The Digital Human

The Digital Human

By BBC Radio 4

Aleks Krotoski explores the digital world



There's a perception that it’s always daytime on the internet. What that misses is that it’s not always the case for us when we go there. We gravitate to different parts of the digital world during the night. We slow down without the bombardment of emails updates and notifications. We become explorers of soundscapes on meditation apps, we listen to soft, soothing mumblings on podcasts lulling us to sleep. For those digital night owls, it’s an Alice like experience falling through a labyrinth of interconnected internet rabbit holes discovering subjects you wouldn’t even have thought about when the sun is up. In this episode Aleks celebrates 'noctunality' on the internet whether for those seeking sleep or those for whom this is the time to wake up. Producer: Peter McManus
26/10/2029m 22s


If there’s one thing that makes the world go ‘round, it’s trust - trust in institutions, trust in science, trust in the economy, trust in each other. Trust is what protects our vulnerability; it’s behind the unspoken social contracts that keep us safe. Without trust, we’re done. And since the beginning of our love-hate relationship with the Web, we’ve been wondering: is computer-mediated communication eroding trust? Or, does it make trust stronger? Or, are we more likely to misplace it more now that we can’t see, touch and smell a person’s true intentions? Producer: Kate Bissell
19/10/2028m 34s


The digital world has given us the tools to support one another through the coming financial crisis in the wake of the pandemic. Aleks Krotoski asks if crowd funding is a magic bullet for giving to those whose livelihoods have suffered? And what makes us give in the first place if it’s, as many are reporting, a new form of economic survivor guilt do we risk that being manipulated? Producer: Peter McManus
12/10/2029m 14s


Aleks Krotoski asks if moving our lives online has given us a false sense of normality during these extraordinary times. For those of us lucky enough to be able to work, shop and socialise there our connections to the digital world have been a lifeline, keeping us in touch with what normality is or at least was. If lockdown had happened 15 years ago it might have been a very different story. Aleks explores the experiences of people who used technology to try and feel normal to see where it works and where it doesn't as well as investigating our whole concept of 'normal' and why we cling to it so desperately. Producer: Peter McManus Research: Elizabeth Ann Duffy and Anna Miles
29/06/2028m 55s

5 minutes

Aleks Krotoski explores how the mechanics of the digital environment allow misinformation to swamp digital platforms. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, they are all swamped with cheery, colourful ‘life hack’ and crafting videos, but if you watch for more than a few minutes you’ll see that actually trying to follow along would prove difficult, if not impossible. Much of the content isn’t even possible to do. And yet, it’s extraordinarily popular, and profitable content. Clickbait isn’t new, but this is potentially dangerous eye candy, and when you look beneath the surface, it’s possible to see that the same infrastructure and techniques have made life hacks go viral, can, in the wrong hands, be exploited for deliberately malicious ends. It only takes a few minutes to set up a system that can swamp the internet. Be it with unintentionally dangerous DIY suggestions aimed at children, or deliberate political machinations targeted at adults.
22/06/2028m 45s


We are stuck in a moment. Inside our homes, the days can feel like they’re stretching ahead. Aleks Krotoski explores how technologies can lift us out of the mundane and help us regain a sense of control. Jan Scheuermann is a quadriplegic. She's unable to use her arms and legs and controls her wheelchair with her chin. In 2011 she joined a research trial that would change the way she saw herself and her life. We hear from Tom Mast, a college student whose new independent life was put on hold by a pandemic; Tiu de Haan, an ideas doula who has worked with the UN, who explains how building a den or cocoon can trigger daydreaming and help birth new ideas; and psychologist Eli Somer, who is an expert on daydreaming. Produced by Caitlin Smith and Kate Bissell Sound Design by Eloise Whitmore
15/06/2028m 58s


Aleks explores whether the moment we're in is the internet’s greatest stress test. Can a network that was built to connect human beings through facts and figures support someone during their greatest hour of need? Philip Blackledge is a priest, who's been sitting with Covid-19 patients. He says the pain and separation he has witnessed has been heartbreaking but technology has offered a bridge between loved ones. Philip acknowledges, the grace the dying have shown in using technology to make peace with those they’re leaving behind, because of restrictions and separation, has been very moving. But he explains why we are asking technology to do a lot. Zainab Gulamali highlights how for the Muslim community mourning has been taken online, but there is much to navigate. Zainab tells how she accidentally ended up virtually attending a funeral of someone she didn’t know on instagram live. And Zainab describes how an online memorial for her Grandmother’s death allowed her for the first time to witness the emotion of older members of her family. She says that attending funerals online is a much more real and raw experience. Jay McGregor’s father, Jason Weatherman, a well known and respected DJ within the UK’s black community died during the pandemic and after an outpouring of grief from around the world, his family and friends decided to host the first ever customary Nine Nights celebration online. 25,000 people joined the live stream and Jay says this event gave her more comfort than anything following her father’s passing. This is not what the pioneers of the internet imagined - they thought they would build a global community to share information but what they did - and we didn’t believe it until now - was to create a technology that is a bridge for love. Produced by Kate Bissell
08/06/2029m 10s


For the entirety of human history, we have made tools and those tools have then shaped us. But in the digital age, that ancient feedback loop has become more complicated. We are fully conscious of the impact our tools can have on us, and we have the chance to guide our future symbiotic relationship with out technology, in a way that expands our cognitive capacity, creativity and skills that would make us fulfill our untapped potential as a species. But is that possible when the vast majority of us have become detached from the development of our technology? What happens to the ancient feedback loop when we are being shaped by obscure devices, in an age of digital blackboxes? Aleks Krotoski explores the history of how we have been shaped by tool development, and discovers how we can plug back into the process, and shape out symbiotic future.
01/06/2028m 55s


We’ve heard a lot about “disruption” over the last few years - companies upending, institutions and entrepreneurs revolutionising some of the things that we thought always were and always should be. Technology has been the poster child of these rapid social and economic changes. But disruption existed before Silicon Valley co-opted the word - it was change, that accelerated something, unexpected. It was something that exposed the cracks in our expectations and changed things, sometimes forever. Two big thinkers, James Burke and Pico Iyer join Aleks to explore whether the pandemic provides the opportunity to think about how we can restructure our lives and our societies. Whether it gives us the chance to embrace disruption, and to reflect on what new ways of being are available to us on the other side. Is what is important to each of us becoming clear... if we choose to listen to it? Produced by Kate Bissell and Mark Rickards
25/05/2028m 12s


Since Britain went into lock down, people in emotionally and physically abusive relationships are having to spend more time with their partners in a confined space. Police forces in England and Wales say they've seen a dramatic spike in reports of domestic abuse. The Digital Human speaks with survivors of these relationships and asks them how technology extended the reach of abusers. We hear how it is used as a tool to coerce, control and manipulate, but also how it can be used by the victim for advice and support. Producer: Kate Bissell Researcher: Juliet Conway Details of organisations offering information and support with domestic violence are available at, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 0800 888 809
30/03/2029m 7s


For decades, technologists, futurists and even our favourite science ficti has been predicting that technology will do away with the drudgery of work, take care of our basic day to day needs and create a world where scarcity will be a thing of the past. The media has been focused on the economic impact of these new tech advances, but we should be asking a different question. Who will we be in an age of plenty?
23/03/2029m 1s


Listen to the chimes of Big Ben stiking midnight at new year, on the stroke of 12 we cheer, embrace and kiss loved ones but when did that actually happen. Well it depends on what device you're listening to. If its over the web or digital radio it could be many seconds in the past; does that matter, what happens to those seconds in between? Aleks Krotoski mediatates on our urge to converge and how the digital era can throw us in and out of sync with the universe and each other. Producer: Peter McManus
16/03/2029m 34s

Lab Rats

When you go online, there is a 100% chance that you will be part of an experiment. We are constantly observed, and tested upon, in the digital space, and more often than not it’s done without our knowledge or explicit consent. Many experiments are simple and narrow, focused on how to keep our eyeballs on a particular page, to how to get us to click a particular button, or how to separate people into categories where we can be subjected to particular exploitation - did your hotel or plane tickets cost more or less than another person on the same site? But should we be afraid of every test in the digital world? Aleks finds out how a glitch in the World of Warcraft resulted in the first virtual plague, and it allowed epidemiologists to study human behaviour in a pandemic situation, without risk of anyone really being harmed but in ways that were startlingly analogous to real world behaviour. And she delves into the now infamous Facebook Emotional Contagion study, and finds out that the public outrage may not only have been displaced, but could have done far more, and longer lasting, harm than could have been predicted.
09/03/2029m 11s


For some time now Aleks has felt uncomfortable with the way friendships are performed online. There's something about the unspoken transactional expectation of a like for a like; the friend anniversary reminders; the laugh out loud-ness of it all. The online world – rich with the communities she once loved and learned from, connections forged, old schoolmates rediscovered – has become increasingly empty as a space to perform "friendship". So is there a tension between what we feel friendship is, and the way we’re doing friendships online? Aleks explores if the tech we use accurately represents the values we hold dear in our relationships. Producer: Caitlin Smith
02/03/2028m 32s


The Digital World is full of unintended consequences. Aleks finds out what happened when an influx of bitcoin miners descended like electricity devouring locusts on the snowy little town of Plattsburgh NY. Depending what day it is maintaining the bitcoin network can take the same amount of energy as consumed by the whole country of Switzerland. These crypto currencies quite literally turn electricity into money but electricity costs, so all over the globe there are itinerant bitcoin miners like the prospectors of old in search deep veins of cheap power to refine into digital gold And so when it became known that the little town of Plattsburgh on the US/Canadian border had just about the cheapest electricity on the continent the miners flocked there from as far away Puerto Rico. At its height you couldn’t walk down the street without feeling the heat and the din of servers churning away in hastily converted strip malls. But it was it a bonanza for the locals? Aleks finds out.
24/02/2028m 48s


Johnathan Hirshon works in PR and marketing and describes himself as ‘The Faceless man' because he’s managed to keep his face off the internet for over twenty years. This may seem extreme but Neda Soltani explains how one online photo of her face, meant she had to leave her family, country and profession. Artist and curator, Bogomir Doringer whose archived and curated thousands of faceless images off the internet talks about how technology is not only choreographing the way we use our faces but persuading us to hand over our biometric data with our use of apps that change the way we look. . Artist Zach Blas is interested in queer culture and has created masks using biometric data from minority groups, to push back on the possibility of people being categorised by biometrics. Zach uses masks to show that facial recognition technology can be disrupted. Stephen has been trying to do just that. Stephen is from Hong Kong and spent the summer protesting against the Extradition bill. He and his fellow protesters wore masks to evade identification from the police and Hong Kong's smart lamp posts. The remit of the protest grew when the wearing of masks by protesters was banned. Stephen believes that by using facial recognition technology on the streets of Hong Kong the authorities in Hong Kong and China are creating a sense of ‘white terror’. Stephen is now protesting in the UK but still feels this ‘white terror’. While protesting people from mainland China have been taking photos of him and other protesters. He knows that photos can go global and by using facial recognition tech he could be easily identified. Is it becoming impossible to escape recognition even when we would like to hide? Produced by Kate Bissell With special thanks to Bogomir Doringer
25/11/1928m 20s


Aleks Krotoski explores how the culture in Silicon Valley led to a growth in the cult of personality and asks if it's gone too far. This kind of worship has been hot housed in Silicon Valley ever since Steve Jobs burst out of his garage and onto the scene. Here, we take a look at how Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and others are now regarded as charismatic high priests in a new dark age. And when our need for meaning collides with our reverence for progress and technology, we end up putting these tech leaders on a pedestal. Have we finally found the messiahs we've been looking for? Producer: Caitlin Smith
18/11/1928m 28s


When a homeless man was accidentally killed by a train on the 11/08/18 in The Dalles, Oregon, no one realised how many people it would effect. The man was a computer programmer called Terry Davis and he was on a mission from God. He'd designed an entire operating system called Temple OS and according to Terry its creation had been a direct instruction from God himself. As a fellow programmer explained it, 'you can imagine how over time one man might build a house, but this is like building a sky scraper, on your own!' And this was all done while Terry battled a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Aleks Krotoski searches the emails, web posts and live streams to piece together the life of a remarkable individual who's work touched so many and is now celebrated not just as a technological achievement but an artistic one. Producer: Peter McManus Researcher: Elizabeth Ann Duffy
11/11/1928m 38s

Character Witness

Gangs are territorial, every street, every block is mapped out according to who’s in charge, where. It’s still true today. But now that the internet is where we do so much of our social lives, gangland has also gone online. Territory isn’t just where you physically operate, but where the mind wanders as well, but what happens when staking out territory online is then used as evidence to convict you in the real world? In this episode, we’re looking at what this means for the people caught up in gang warfare, how a social media profile can keep you safe but at the same time be used as a character witness against you. Featuring former gang members and gang mediators from Chicago Aleks finds out how social media along with poverty is trapping young people in fractured communities, into a cycle of violence and revenge. Produced by Kate Bissell With thanks to YBH Honcho for the use of his music
04/11/1928m 29s


The internet has facilitated an explosion in opinion. Some people's views you'll agree with, other's you'll find abhorrent. How do we manage that in a pluralistic world? Is reaching for the mute button the best way to get through the day? Or is it about calling people out and making an example of them online? Aleks Krotoski dips her toe into the world of microaggressions, safe spaces and asks if we’re really in the middle of a free speech crisis.
28/10/1928m 42s


Aleks Krotoski explores our anxieties around AI and automation. Comparing western philosophy to that of the east, she'll ask if some of fears around technology are cultural. Much of western thinking is still strongly influenced by Christian traditions which places humanity at the top of the tree of creation. We rebel against anything that challenges that. Whether it be Galileo telling us we're not the centre of the universe or Darwin telling us we're nothing more than shaved monkeys. It can be argued that the invention of AI is just that sort of challenge to our supremacy. But in Japan they see things very differently; Shintoism leads to a philosophy without the Christian hierarchy. In their 'creation' everything is alive and connected to everything else. Just like the modern digital world. What can we learn from looking at technology differently. Producer: Peter McManus
21/10/1939m 35s


Our personal space is like an invisible sphere around us, reaching from our bodies at the centre to the tips of our fingers. Ironically, this is also where many of us keep our phones - the windows that lets us see into the rest of the world - and the door that lets the rest of the world into our personal space. What’s the best way to control who comes in, and what do we need to do when we want to close it? Produced by Kate Bissell
08/07/1929m 3s


Violent content online has rightly been condemned. Yet while we criticise those facilitating the supply we rarely talk about the demand. Aleks Krotoski asks who views it and why.
01/07/1928m 52s


Social media is about stories, and what's more interesting - to you at least - than telling your own? When you post, you're building a narrative: this is who I am and this is what I like. You're creating your very own movie, pulling in a range of characters. Then you've got stage sets and let's not forget the bit parts; those people who dip in and out of your life and provide endless story fodder. But what happens when you discover that it's you who has in fact been cast in the cameo role in someone else's social media story? We hear from the unwitting extras: from the seat mates on a plane caught in a publicity storm after a woman posted about the apparent beginning of their great romance, to a man who helped his neighbour and ended the subject of her tweets. So what does this mean for personal autonomy, having a voice, and the limits of the stories we can or should tell online? Does the digital world blur the boundaries between what stories are yours to tell? Aleks Krotoski explores the tension between entitlement and a feeling of voicelessness. Producer: Caitlin Smith
24/06/1928m 35s


Zachary, Stina and Andrea do not suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder but they all became stuck in obsessional loops after being triggered by an event in their lives which left them looking for answers. Their obsessions left them all with compulsions to watch and research others online, to seek the certainty they craved to stop the hurt they felt,. But Andrea learnt that "You'll never find the answers you're looking for, but end up chipping away at yourself." For her she believed her obsession and compulsion became a form of self harm. Emma Stone is the Director of the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research at the University of Bedfordshire who explains how being engaged in a repetitive behaviour such as online stalking, in which the only reward is getting to look at someone online without getting any reciprocal energy back is not something that is going to raise your self-esteem. From her experience Andrea learnt that once you take something from online to offline you really are deciding who you are going to be and Zach discovered that if you really want to know who you are look at yourself online when no one is watching. Francesca Cwynar who suffers from Pure O, a form of Obsessive - Compulsive Disorder shares how invisible her obsessive intrusive thoughts are and how she thinks social media mimics the intrusive thoughts people with Pure O experience. Producer: Kate Bissell Researcher: Laurence Cook With thanks to Clea Skopeliti for consultation on OCD research.
17/06/1928m 50s

The Analogue Human

To celebrate the 100th episode of The Digital Human Aleks Krotoski explores how digital and analogue technologies make us think differently. And she'll do it by going 'old school' putting down the keyboard and mouse in favour of audio tape and razor blades. But this programme isn't about nostalgia, she'll be investigating the psychological experiences of using these different technologies. With the help of artists, musicians and photographers she asks if the endless possibilities we're offered by digital tools are as liberating as we think or paradoxically are they paralysing, making it impossible to choose one product, picture, tindr date over another? Are we more creative, and decisive when we're forced to be by constraints; as we used to be when camera's shot film with a limited number of shots and tippex was the only way to erase something we'd written? And are we too readily allowing our digital technologies to decide what's important. Whether in music or on the phone our digital devices strip out the 'noise'. Whether that's the background of where we're making a call, or the sound of fingertips on an instrument. When we lose some of that context what else are we sacrificing? Aleks will aim to find the right balance between the two domains, to make the most of each. Throughout the programme we'll also offer a glimpse behind the scenes of making a programme where the final assembly uses pre-digital techniques; and the scavenger hunt it required to find the long decommissioned tape machines and the people who remember how to operate them. Producer: Peter McManus
17/06/1929m 19s


Are we using tech as a digital sedative? And if so, what does that do to our ability to touch and feel? Aleks looks at why we turn to tech to render us emotionally numb…
03/06/1928m 42s


On New Year's Eve in 2015 Vicky Schaubert, a journalist from Norwegian broadcaster NRK heard a story that was to stay with her for many years prompting her to research and write an article about a young man called Mats Steen from Oslo. At the age of four he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a muscular disease which was to drastically shorten his life expectancy. His father, Robert introduced Mats to gaming hoping it would help substitute all the things he was not able to do. Mats spent the last ten years of his life before his death in 2014 rarely going out of the apartment he lived in. He spent the majority of his time gaming online. After Mats passed away his parents mourned what they thought was a very lonely and isolated life, that was until Robert decided he needed to reach out to the gaming community to tell them Mats would no longer be logging on. Robert was not prepared for what happened next. He received many, many emails from people around the world shining a new light on the life of his son. Mats' story had a profound effect on Vicky Schaubert who reached out to Mats’ family to tell his story. After learning about Mats she apologised to her sons for her attitude towards the time they have spent gaming. Vicky attached no value to gamming and shamed them for wasting their time until she learned about Mats. Exploring Mats' story, Aleks discovers how easy it is to make assumptions about something you can't see - whether it’s inside the mind of another person, or inside the computer where connections and community offer a new opportunity for someone to find their people. Produced by Kate Bissell Researched by Laurence Cook
22/04/1928m 25s


Aleks Krotoski takes a look at the way we use crutches, in both our offline and online lives. We all use crutches - from dummies to cigarettes, from computer games and snapchat filters to people or food. It’s distraction from whatever it is lying beneath the surface. But sometimes crutches stop being a short-term solution, and start being part of the problem. From here, life can get complex. How much do crutches help us, and how much does it hide the problems we need to tackle head-on? Producer: Caitlin Smith
16/04/1928m 31s


What is happening to us, now that we have access to all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips? If the headlines are to be believed, we are swimming upstream through relentless waves of alternative facts, drowning in an ocean of misinformation. And the internet? It’s the culprit. But here’s the thing: we are enthralled by what we think is online wisdom - the words of the sage, and the learned. Unfortunately, as we’ve discovered through a lot of mishaps, a lot of the information that’s out there isn’t particularly wise. Aleks Krotoski looks to traditional sources of wisdom to give us advice on what we should do with our library of knowledge.
15/04/1928m 36s


In November 2018 and LA based band Threatin landed in the UK to begin their first European tour. Their promoter had booked venues in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, new band members had been signed up with the promise of venues that could hold over 1000 people, the online audience was huge and passionately vocal on social media about their love of this brilliant upcoming band. But when they took to the stage, there was no audience to greet them. The illusion of rockstardom burst when it crossed over from online into the offline world. The reality was that the agency, the managers, the fan club, the youtube interviews - all had been manufactured by the band’s frontman Jered Threatin. When all was revealed the story went viral across the globe. Jered later claimed that the whole thing a deliberate performance that exposed the problems of fake news in the digital world, and that anyone who had participated was part of the ‘illusion’. Aleks digs into the strange story of a fake tour that ended up with real fame, or at least infamy - asking why we trust what we see online, where the line is drawn between performance, trolling or lies, and finds out the real life consequences for people swept up in an online illusion.
08/04/1928m 38s

Snake Oil

The internet began as a way for academics and researchers to share information and collaborate on projects - it was a boon for scientific discovery. But despite there being more scientific information online than ever, in the modern day the power of the internet has completely flipped. Verified science and medicine are crowded out by a plethora of misinformation and snake oil salesmen. From the relatively harmless quackery such as infrared light treatments or ‘wellness’ focused diets, to conspiracy theories around vaccinations that are influencing political policy, and have resulted in outbreaks of dangerous, preventable diseases across the world - what is happening online is having a tangible impact across the globe. Aleks Krotoski explores how the infrastructure of the internet allows medical misinformation to thrive, finds out how people can be drawn into communities centred around medical misinformation and conspiracy theory, and how both scientists and every day internet users can redress the balance online.
25/03/1929m 43s


Gentrification. It’s a constant cycle in the offline world. Run down areas with cheap rent attract a young arty crowd, business moves in when the area has a new hip image, and suddenly everyone wants to live there and the original residents find themselves priced out of the neighbourhood and so move on to a new place to start the cycle again. But, we don’t just live in cities in the digital age. The internet was once a haven for freaks, geeks and weirdos, but now that everyone has poured into the same digital space, has it too been gentrified? And if it has… where can people go? Aleks Krotoski explores how digital communities have shifted and evolved, through both the very human development of communities, and the technological changes of algorithms and automation that have like the highways and infrastructure of the physical world, have split communities and fundamentally changed how we live online. She discovers out how the cycle of progress has both helped and hurt us in the digital age, and finds out if the artists, the freaks, the geeks and the weirdos still have a place to call home.
18/03/1928m 35s


Aleks explores how technology can increase self -efficacy and therefore our belief that we can rescue others. Aleks discovers that sharing vulnerabilities online can turn a victim into a rescuer as others who need help will often seek you out giving you the opportunity to help them. Helping others can help detract from your own problems and help empower but as professional therapists know all too well there needs to be boundaries to prevent emotional burnout, but Aleks discovers that setting boundaries online is not easy.
29/10/1828m 3s


Digital Assistant bots are becoming ever more common - Alexa playing music on your countertop, Siri taking notes on your phone, a little voice bubbling out of your watch to rattle off the things you almost forgot you needed to buy during the big weekend shop. They are useful little servants But, barking orders at something that talks back, something that seems a little bit human but totally subservient… it can be a little uncomfortable. As with any new invention, domestic robots illuminate issues within human society that we may not have noticed before. Are we projecting old social norms of hierarchy and gender onto this new technology, and if we are, does how we choose to design and treat our subservient machines, impact how we treat our fellow humans?
22/10/1828m 19s


In world where we are constantly told we are all exceptional and unique, Aleks Krotoski explores the unexpected affordances of being average.
15/10/1828m 13s


Aleks Krotoski explores the social and psychological impact of a life lived online, where maintaining a perfectly curated life is key and real life flaws are hidden... Producer: Victoria McArthur
08/10/1828m 4s


Sarah from Ohio went online to escape bullies at her school but they followed her online and the abuse continued. She hoped someone would step in and help her but her attempt at a cry for help was ignored. We also hear from Vie Clerc Lusandu who was attacked, with her son on a train travelling from London to Leeds. Vie is still trying to comprehend why on a packed train it took ten minutes for someone to come to her aid. Dr Lasana Harris an experimental psychologist from University Collage London explains that people do not step forward because they are callous but because of the bystander effect. People may just not recognise when they are faced with a helping situation. If there is a large crowd this is exaggerated as people take their cues from other people. If there had been fewer people in Vie's carriage Lasana says it would have been more likely that someone would've stepped forward because the diffusion of responsibility would have been lower. Lasana acknowledges that because the conditions necessary for the bystander effect are magnified people online are even more unlikely to step in. Jackie Zammuto from Witness an organisation who teach people around the world how to bare witness to injustices using video explains how it is possible to turn from a bystander into a witness whose presence can then be of some use even if they don't step in. This may not have help Vie feel any less scared or vulnerable but it may have helped to deescalate and disrupt the attack. However documentary photographer, Lauren Pond's story warns us that we need to be careful we don't use our phones as a protective shield in helping situations where we should really put them away and step in or through observing videos online become bystanders ourselves. Produced by Kate Bissell Researched by Jac Phillimore
01/10/1828m 2s


Even if you are the most careful person in the world when it comes to your data, little pieces of your personal information are constantly being uploaded into the digital world without you being aware of it. How? Because of your connections to everyone around you. The idea of personal privacy might not even apply any more. Your family, friends, even a random guy you bought a couch from a decade ago all have information about you that is incredibly valuable to technology companies - from phone numbers and emails in a contact list, to new baby photos and even the code of your DNA - all of it is being harvested, sold and used without you having any way to know about it, let alone have any control. And Aleks Krotoski discovers that when those little pieces of the digital jigsaw are put together, they can have unexpected and sometimes shocking consequences in our real lives.
24/09/1828m 12s


Jane Charlton suffers from depersonalisation leaving her sense of self fragmented. In order to construct her sense of self she seeks the physical presence of people. For Jane social media means nothing. Dr Anna Ciaunica has studied Jane's experience of depersonalisation and what it tells us about the self, how we construct it and how important it is to maintain. Professor Manos Tsakiris says we need to feel embodiment in order to be fully in touch with our selves. But how does the use of tech influence this? Manos says that the feeling of dis embodied brains or 'brains in jars' doesn't help our sense of self because the body is as important as the brain in constructing the self, even through out adulthood. Aleks goes into a float tank in LA to experience sensory deprivation, no phones to see if she can connect to her body and explores the benefits of doing so. Brynn Duncan suffers from mast cell disease and can have an allergic reaction to almost anything at anytime. Her friends nick named her 'bubble girl' because she needs to constantly protect herself. For Brynn mentally detaching from a body which causes her great pain is critical and social media is one way she is able to do this. It enables her to live outside her body to escape and remove herself from the here and now. But Brynn says she has a hard time re attaching to herself once she has detached. Produced by Kate Bissell Researched by Jac Philllimore Music by Antfood.
25/06/1827m 53s


Aleks Krotoski wonders if it's really possible to convey a sense of joyful abandon online... Producer: Victoria McArthur.
18/06/1827m 49s


Aleks Krotoski enters the world of the unwatched, the unread and the unnoticed, all the content posted online that no-one ever sees.
11/06/1828m 33s


It does not interject, it has endless patience and you gain empathy from shared experience. Aleks Krotoski explores how the online space has become our greatest confidante...
04/06/1827m 54s


Aleks is looking at regret, that sinking, nagging feeling when we realise we have made the wrong choice or when things have not gone the way we hoped or envisaged. Ethan Zuckerman was one of the early architects of user generated content on the internet in the mid nineties. He created the code that lead to the pop up advert which he still regrets today but Aleks finds out not for the reasons you would think. Denise Locke was on Flight 1549 which miraculously landed in the Hudson River in 2009. She had a choice to get on the flight that day because the weather delay meant she was texted by the airline to give her the option not to fly. She flew anyway and despite suffering post traumatic stress she does not regret the experience. It has changed her life, she now lives much more in the present. Professor Amy Summerville runs a regret lab at Miami University, Ohio, she talks about the importance of regret and why it helps us to understand the world around us. Amy thinks that in our modern world we experience more regret, because of what she refers to as counterfactual thinking and the abundance of choice we now have because of technology. Simon Yates one of the protagonists in the film and book Touching the Void, speaks about why he cut the rope his climbing partner was dangling on up a mountain in Peru and why he has no regrets about what he did. Mel Slater and Doron Friedman both push the boundaries of what' s possible in virtual reality. They're exploring the use of clones in VR which are able to go back in time and re live past experiences. They believe this technology will have great impacts not only on our how we perceive the self and on identity but also how we experience and deal with regret in the future. Produced by Kate Bissell.
28/05/1827m 58s


It's the life we're told we want, where we just shout at a device and our needs are met as quickly as the supply chain allows. Aleks Krotoski explores frictionless digital living. But is there value in friction? Aleks hears from someone who's life depends on it, mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick. He has a reputation for stacking the odds against himself as much as possible; long routes, often climbed alone in the worst of conditions. Back on the ground Andy also needs friction to not get complacent, accept others views without question, to keep moving forward. Without friction we risk falling prey to what economist Umair Haque describes as the infantilisation economy. One where we are diminished by being able to have our every need met by Amazon's Alexa. And the cost isn't just to us but also to the army of digital serfs peddling about in all weathers with those trademark boxes on their backs. Its a future that was foreseen as far back as the late 19th century by the likes of Nietzsche in his descriptions of the 'last men' a humanity living the most vanilla of existences without challenge or ambition to change. Nothing sums this up better than the food replacement industry. No time to shop, cook, chew? Get everything you need nutritionally in a drink like Soylent or Huel - all in the name of efficiency. Its a world that fascinates anthropologist Jan English-Luek who for over 20 years has been observing trends in silicon valley. Ultimately Aleks will ask what we're saving all this time and effort for and do we ever reap the benefits? Or does it just keep us where the digital world wants us, consuming in ever more efficient ways. Producer: Peter McManus.
21/05/1828m 9s


From the dawn of the civilisation, human beings have yearned to predict the future. In the past you might have consulted the Oracle at Delphi or sat down for a tarot reading to steer you through life. Today, the internet offers amazing potential for predictive technology. There isn't a part of the natural world or human existence that isn't recorded and quantified, even the most mundane aspects of our lives are broadcasted into the universe thanks to our prolific use of social media. By analysing the cornucopia of data we can detect patterns, understand behaviour... but can we really predict the future? Developers claim yes we can, from what movie will be a breakout hit, to when there will be a run on cold and flu medicine, even to the outcome of a child's' entire life - all we need is the right data. But do we want that? In today's Digital Human Aleks Krotoski explores why it is we feel the need to predict the future to find out place in the present world, and discovers that prediction could end up being a cursed crystal ball if handled incorrectly.
27/03/1828m 21s


Aleks Krotoski asks if blaming social media for recent political upheaval misses the point and we end up giving too much power to the technology and not enough to ourselves in how opinions become formed.
19/03/1828m 16s


If we look hard enough, we have access to information online about other people, and about issues we may think we need to know. But is this always a good thing? Are there some things that we'd be better off not knowing? Producer: Kate Bissell.
12/03/1828m 3s


The human face is quintessential part of our identity - crucial for communication, expressing emotion and understanding our place in the world. So what happens when that most human of interfaces is placed over what boils down to a cluster of motors and a few lines of code? Aleks Krotoski explores how we will be psychologically affected by machines that can look us in the eye and smile back at us. Producer: Elizabeth Ann Duffy.
05/03/1828m 31s


One of the major criticisms of social media is that it's disconnecting us, as individuals, from society and from real physical interactions. But if a key element of 'tribe' is communication and connectivity then the digital world arguably holds unlimited bounds for tribes. Mumsnet for instance has changed how we view mums as a social group. While marketers and advertisers may have seen them as a target market, they probably never thought they would be an ever-connected all-powerful tribe who could even make politicians quiver in their boots. In this weeks' episode of The Digital Human, Aleks Krotoski asks if rather than separating us, the digital world is helping us revive old tribal connections. If the internet has heralded the death of distance, what do these new kind of tribes look like? And do we relate to each other in different ways now that so much of our lives are lived online? Contributors: zoologist Desmond Morris; author of The Patter Michael Munro; academic and journalist Meredith Clark; internet activist Ethan Zuckerman and digital anthropologists Daniel Miller and Elisabetta Costa. Producer: Caitlin Smith.
26/02/1827m 57s


There's nothing more human that adapting a tool to make your life better, it's the rationale behind every innovation. Aleks Krotoski explores how our digital tools can be reinvented in powerful ways by individuals seeking a better life. Whether it's how smuggled USB sticks filled with content from the outside world inspire North Koreans to defect to the south, or the way a single photo of woman running with her hair flowing inspires a campaign against compulsory Islamic dress in Iran. What ties these stories together is hope. And it's the hope that the world can be made better that makes us look to the tools we have and how they might be re-purposed to make that a reality.
19/02/1829m 0s


In this episode of The Digital Human Aleks Krotoski asks if social media is creating a new era of shame. Psychotherapist Aaron Balick explains how shame needs a witness in order to be felt, we need to be able to see our selves through the eyes of another. If we break a social norm we are made to feel shame. Shame is a powerful emotion that can control our behaviour and infiltrate every aspect of our lives, influencing the way we live. Seraphina Ferraro's experience of shame went further, she found herself trapped in an abusive relationship by shame. Even after leaving Seraphina felt too ashamed to speak about what had happened. However, she discovered that the antidote to shame is empathy, others sharing their own experiences of shame has helped her in her recovery. Aleks explores the cost of shaming someone offline and online and the price of that shaming by those who have been shamed. Is technology increasing our ability to shame and how does this online shaming impact lives offline? Produced by Kate Bissell.
06/11/1727m 55s


For many of us the modern world is thankfully one of abundance, where we can indulge ourselves at every turn. But why is it so difficult to say when we've had enough; of foods we know aren't good for us, of TV programmes that play the next episode automatically, of the fleeting social connections we get through online platforms? As advanced as our technological world has become our brains haven't evolved much since we lived on the African Savannah. And all the things that we sought out to survive there remain hardwired into us today. And it's the consequences of that Aleks will explore. Some of the tricks nature plays on us go even further back in evolution. Take the humble if duplicitous Cuckoo, laying eggs in another bird's nest. When hatched the cuckoo chick's mouth is that bit wider, that bit redder than those it's sharing the nest with (should any other chicks have survived). The result is the deceived parents will feed it preferentially as the best bet for survival. That extra redness and wider gape is an example of a phenomena in animal behaviour called super normal stimuli. We encounter something we like but with its attributes boosted and we go mad for it, there numerous examples across the animal kingdom. The difference with humans is we've learnt to super-normally stimulate ourselves; with foods with more sugar and fat than occur in nature, with images of the opposite sex carefully manipulated to make them even more arousing. We've mastered how to push our buttons and we do it, or have it done to us repeatedly. Aleks sees how this plays out across a range of experiences from the playing of slot machines to competitive eating, to learn the tricks being played on us and how we might outsmart the tricksters. Producer: Peter McManus.
30/10/1728m 37s


Aleks Krotoski explores living in a digital world.
23/10/1727m 38s


Spam and its prevention have been a driving force in the history of the internet. It's changed laws and communities, language and culture. It comes in all shapes and forms, the most popular of which is advance fee scams. You know the drill: an agent for the widow of charitable billionaire wants to give you a share of a multi million-dollar 'inheritance'... in return for your help in getting access to it by posing as a cousin or a niece. But this type of spam isn't just a feature of digital living; it's been around a lot longer than that. The Digital Human traces the roots of the longest running spam scam in human history, before casting ahead to a world of intelligent spambots. Aleks Krotoski asks if scams are symptomatic of their time, what do they tell us about now and what do they say about us? Producer: Caitlin Smith.
16/10/1727m 44s


From funerals to the Burning the Circle festival held every year on the Isle of Aran to surgeon's scrubbing up before an operation, Aleks explores the very human experience of rites of passage and ritual and why this very human experience can help make sense of ourselves online. A modern day rite of passage could be getting your first mobile or social media account but do we have rituals to accompany these new keys to the adult world? And why should we need them? Produced by Kate Bissell.
09/10/1727m 52s


Sin eating was an age old British practice carried out by those on the fringes of their communities. When someone died the sin eater would consume a ritualistic meal over the corpse and in doing so they would take on their sins. Whether they were outcasts because of this, or to start with folklorists can't say. What is known for certain though is that they were among the poorest - who else would do it? While the practice may have died out over a hundred years ago there is a digital equivalent. Content moderators working in huge numbers across the world are fighting a losing battle both to keep horrible images from slipping into our social media feeds but also against the harm they suffer from witnessing so much gruesomeness. Aleks Krotoski will hear about what happens when you stare into the abyss for too long. Producer: Peter McManus.
02/10/1728m 39s


Aleks goes in search of silence. In our digital world has silence become harder to find, or are we looking for it in all the wrong places? Leif Haugen is a Fire watcher who spends six months of a year stationed at Toma lookout, on a mountain in Montana. He says only fire watchers who are at peace with themselves are able to stick it out. Living in silence makes you look inwards at who you really are. Silence is the absence of something but the presence of everything. Isobel Anderson suffers from tinnitus and at its peak felt like she was being tortured or stalked. The culprit wasn't an external sound that she could switch off; it was inside her brain. Her mind tuned into the inner electrical currents and motions that we all experience but hers never fade away. She knows there’s no such thing as silence but what she misses is being able to control her sound environment. Jessica Vitak is a writer who lives in London and uses technology to control her sound environment. She wears noise cancelling headphones to drown out the distractions of the city but she admits it does make her shut down a little. Dr Helen Lees is an Associate Research fellow at York St John University and she argues that being distracted by our screens means we miss out on the silent experience between people, the language of silence spoken. Produced by Kate Bissell.
15/05/1727m 55s


Aleks Krotoski tells the story of a film that doesn't exist and the online community convinced that it does. We hear from people who have come together on the online site Reddit to share their memories of the film, including a former video shop worker called Don. Many of them have very clear memories of watching Shazaam and are convinced it's disappearance is related to a strange phenomenon called The Mandela Effect, so named after the late South African activist Nelson Mandela. We follow Don on an epic journey as he tries to uncover proof. Along the way we'll encounter conspiracy theories, alternate worlds, computer simulations and a recently deceased Australian inventor called Henry Hoke. It's going to get weird. But what does this willingness to believe in something despite all evidence to the contrary tell us about the online world and the way communities form in the digital sphere? Aleks speaks with anthropologist Genevieve Bell about the stories we tell; cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman and Professor of Philosophy at Oxford University Nick Bostrom. Amelia Tait of the New Statesman explains how the story of Shazaam has evolved online. Producer: Caitlin Smith.
09/05/1727m 56s


There is an old joke that talking to yourself is first sign of madness but we now know its an essential mental tool . So how much of what we do online is that same inner speech?
01/05/1728m 10s


Geoff Lean was in a coma for a month, during this time he could hear and feel everything but it wasn't until he woke up from the coma that he realised he had also unconsciously absorbed visual information through his eyes. Aleks investigates Blindsight, one of the most curious phenomenon's in cognitive neuroscience and helps to explain how Geoff was able to see without seeing. Milena Cunning went into hospital a sighted person but when she awoke from a coma her world was completely black. A stroke had destroyed the part of the brain that allowed her to see, she later discovered that she had Blindsight. A condition which results in a loss of visual experience yet allows information unconsciously to reach the brain. It suggests there is a great deal that we are doing independently of consciousness awareness. We are able to automatically perform without conscious sight or thought. This is highlighted when we become familiar with a piece of technology it becomes automatic, we need little conscious input to use it. Aleks discovers we are able to steer our way through the world on auto pilot especially if we are performing a habit, an automatic behaviour stored in our unconscious. We all experience a form of Blindsight, like driving and having a conversation , our attention is on the conversation, so we are not conscious of actually driving. Our automatic use of the technology, the car, is stored in our unconscious mind. Professor Nillie Lavie from UCL says that what Blindsight shows us about our ability to unconsciously see coupled with how we are presented with information online influences not only how much we are subliminally influenced in a digital world but the type of information we unconsciously pick up on and absorb. Produced by Kate Bissell.
24/04/1727m 59s


Technology has always allowed us to push the boundaries of what's real and not real. From filters on our holiday snaps to recreating life in a laboratory. Is it any wonder then that amidst all this 21st century noise we're searching for an authentic voice? But what authenticity actually is can be difficult to define, particularly in the digital sphere where filters, artifice and simulation are part of the fabric of how we engage on social media. From Aristotle to Frankenstein, to politicians tweeting from the bathroom, Aleks Krotoski goes in search of the authentic, taking a look at the drivers behind our preoccupation with allowing others to see 'the real self'. Contributors include: science writer Philip Ball, Stephen Lussier of DeBeers, sociologist Ruth Penfold-Mounce, author Professor Andrew Potter, Dr Suzy Jagger and Instagrammer Stina Sanders. Producer: Caitlin Smith.
17/04/1727m 48s


We seem to be living in a world of polarised opinions giving rise to increasingly angry exchanges on television, print and of course social media. Aleks Krotoski asks how online anger works and is it a symptom or the cause of the problem. An enormous Chinese study demonstrated that angry content is the most shared across the web while US researchers have asserted that while we might not be any angrier than in the past we encounter much more angering content than ever before and that anger lingers priming us for the net encounter. Aleks makes the comparison with another increasingly congested space that of our roads; an environment where similar mechanisms of anonymity and depersonalisation are at play. She concludes by discussing the social role of anger and why so many groups have begun to rely on it to get their way.
10/04/1729m 19s


Aleks Krotoski explores life in the digital world. What makes us laugh and why? And when so much of the web is there to tickle our funny bone, does anyone ever laugh out loud?
14/11/1628m 49s


The world we experience through screen based technology is two dimensional which some argue creates distance between the viewer and the viewed but can modern day virtual reality story telling using a three dimensional perspective go further than any other medium of technology to enable us to really experience the lives of others, to walk in another man's shoes? Vicky Sutherland is mum to eight year old Arron who suffers from autism. Vicky tries to see the world through Arron's eyes as he suffers from sensory overload but for the first time she watches a virtual reality experience produced by The National Autistic Society which shows the world from the perspective of an autistic child experiencing sensory overload. She discovers whether this gives her a new perspective into Arron's experience of the world around him. Imogen Blood's father John Hull lost his sight over a number of years, while she tried to understand what it was like for her father she only fully appreciated how sound became such an anchor in his world of darkness when she watched the virtual reality film Notes On Blindness: Into Darkness, which features John's use of echo location in order to navigate the world around him. And Aleks speaks to Gabo Arora the Director of the UN's Virtual Reality Lab who has produced several virtual reality films including Clouds Over Sidra featuring 12 years old Syrian refugee Sidra. As Sidra introduces the viewer to life in a refugee camp, Aleks questions whether these types of films reduce the distance between the viewer and the viewed, changing our perspective and increasing our empathy because we are able to walk in another person's shoes. Produced by Kate Bissell.
07/11/1628m 0s


So much of our experience of technology can feel a bit like being haunted. It starts like any good ghost story with the just mildly unsettling; things aren't were you left them or seem to have moved on their own within our devices. Its a creepy feeling that leaves you unsure about what to believe. Our understanding of how much of technology works is so limited that when it starts to behave out of the ordinary we have no explanation. This is when we start to make very peculiar judgement's; "why did you do that" we plead, as if some hidden force was at work. For some these feelings of being haunted by our technology can develop into full blown apparitions; keen gamers frequently experience Game transfer Phenomena where they literally see images of their game play in the real world, an involuntary augmented reality. While the hallucinations aren't necessarily distressing in themselves the experiences can leave individuals questioning their sanity. The coming internet of things will bring problems of its own; smart locks that mysteriously open by themselves for example as if under the influence of some poltergeist. Aleks herself has had the experience of digital 'gas lighting' (a term drawn from an Ingrid Bergman movie of a woman being driven mad by husband) when her partner logged on to their home automation system remotely and started to mess with the lights while Aleks was home alone. As one commentator puts it in a reworking of the old Arthur C. Clarke quote "any sufficiently advanced hacking is indistinguishable from haunting." And as our devices and appliances increasingly start talking to each other bypassing us altogether who's to say we, like Nicole Kidman's character in The Others, haven't become the ghost in the machine. Producer: Peter McManus.
31/10/1628m 12s


Our records define us - birth records, death records, crime records, marriage records - but what if you don't want to be defined by your records? And how do our physical and digital traces say affect us? In this episode of The Digital Human, Aleks explores these questions by hearing three very different tales of recorded lives...
24/10/1628m 3s


In the spring of 1996, an enterprising American college student named Jennifer Ringley connected a webcam to her computer and began seven years of uninterrupted self-exposure. JenniCAM, as she eventually named it, was the first no-holds-barred lifelogging experiment on the world wide web. Every 15 seconds, the webcam uploaded another still image - from the mundane to the erotic - exposing the uncensored life of a young woman coming of age. The web at the time of JenniCAM was still in its infancy: this was before Google made it navigable, before the dotcom bubble began to inflate, and before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was out of short trousers. Compared with the modern world of universal broadband access, instant feedback and streaming video, it was achingly slow: websites with pictures took entire minutes to download, and publishing anything required expert knowledge in at least one computer language. JenniCAM represented our self-aware future, the place we inhabit in the second decade of the 21st century, now that 82% of American adults use the web, and the average amount of time we spend online doubles every five years. We have evolved into the people that JenniCAM represented: both the voyeur and the viewed. Twenty years after Jennifer first switched on her webcam, we retrace some of her steps and wonder why, at a time when everyone else has gone online, she's switched off... Produced by Victoria McArthur.
18/10/1627m 59s


The way the digital world is presented to us can be alienating and obfuscating, bad metaphors like the cloud or the slow tracking shots between the banks of servers can make us forget that these networks are built and maintained by human beings. They can appear as something vast, unfathomable and otherworldly - a kind of digital sublime. Yet they exist in the same world as we do and have a physicality that's often lost on us. Aleks leads us on an exploration of this physicality from the digital temples of the data centre to the fragments that populate our city streets. In appreciating this physicality and its beauty we'll be reminded that this is not something we should feel excluded from or can't have an opinion about or indeed imagine differently. Producer: Peter McManus.
10/10/1628m 40s


Why does a parent's awe over their child's ability with technology turn so quickly to fear? Aleks Krotoski explores the anxieties at the heart of modern parenting and tech.
09/05/1628m 1s

Lost and Found

From lost cameras, dogs, cats, phones and people, we are turning to the web to find what we have lost. Aleks explores whether you are more likely to find what you've lost using online social networks? Are we as connected as we think we are? Or does it make more sense to step out of the digital world and search with the help of physical social networks? Produced by Kate Bissell.
02/05/1627m 50s


Aleks Krotoski compares our intuitive way-finding skills to those of the digital world and finds out why describing the best way from A to B still poses problems for tech. Simon Wheatcroft is an adventurer who's run all over the world and at distances that would make marathon runners shudder, he's also blind, he explains how he combined the sensations he gets underfoot with notifications from his fitness app to learn to run solo. Combining cues from the world around you to find your way is Tristan Gooley's passion. As the Natural Navigator he uses anything natural or man made not only to find out where he is but where he's going. He eschews all navigational tools; maps compasses as well as digital devices in the belief that the head down follow the dot mentality they foster impoverishes our experience of the journey itself. Thora Tenbrink from Bangor University explains why the directions we receive from our devices often feel so alien that we really have to focus to make sense of them. While tech can use street names and exact distances, humans are vague navigators heading in the general direction and using landmarks. The two approaches aren't always that compatible. Our natural way-finding abilities can let us down though when we're under stress. Professor David Canter has been studying behaviour in emergency evacuations for much of his career, he explains the sometimes odd and contradictory things we resort to when trying to escape a disaster. So should we look to technology to come to the rescue? We hear from researchers at Georgia tech who explored how far participants would trust a robot to save them from a burning building - apparently quite a lot! Producer: Peter McManus.
25/04/1628m 35s


Food is a universal necessity, human brains light up more for food than any other experience, so it's little wonder that food culture has exploded online. Social media is festooned with pictures, recipes, cooking videos and we can't seem to ever get enough. But, is the digital world doing more than getting our mouths watering? Could technology be changing the very way we taste? In this episode, Aleks Krotoski explores how food trends develop and shape our culture and spread on social media, as well as exploring new tech that may change the way we eat - from 3D printed delights, to Chef Watson who creates recipes in the cloud, and even how we might manipulate our brains to change how we perceive flavour. Producer: Elizabeth Ann Duffy.
18/04/1627m 51s


In The Digital Human: Home Aleks asks what turns a space into a place and whether we really need bricks and mortar anymore, when home can be anywhere you can go online. Aleks visits Porter Ranch just outside of Los Angeles where residents were told to evacuate because of a gas leak. Linda Matthies decided to stay despite fears over her health. Her sense of home focuses strongly on the comforts of home and her many possessions acquired over her lifetime. Her sense of home is very much tied up with the physical. In contrast Josh Surtees was able to create a digital space that he could call home. Josh moved to Trinidad to work as a journalist. He fell in love and when his girlfriend moved to London after two months they created a virtual home through skype and successfully continued their relationship. In Downtown LA Aleks meets Elvina Beck a digital nomad who has started a company allowing millennials to rent a communal pod with wifi access that they can make home. For her home is mobile, as long as there is online access, home can be anywhere. Architect Sam Jacobs understands the important link between home and identity. He argues that the division between the private realm iof home and the public realm is breaking down because people are exposing their identities online. Home is now one of the places that you can in fact broadcast your identity to a much wider audience. Travel writer Pico Iyer realised when he saw his home in California burn to the ground that home is not about bricks or mortar or access to wifi but should be found within ourselves. The idea of the 21st entury house, is not actually that old so will digital technologies change how and were we decide to live in the future. Produced by Kate Bissell.
11/04/1627m 54s


In the 1st of a new series Aleks Krotoski gets down to work. From micro-taskers paid pennies to be the janitors of our digital services to car drivers jumping on the Uber bandwagon. Aleks speaks to technology writer Kashmir Hill who spent a month as an invisible girlfriend writing loving texts to service subscribers for a few cents per message. This is just one example of 'micro-tasking' made famous by Amazon's Mechanical Turk service. For Vili Lehdonvirta of the Oxford internet institute they're examples of the hidden human effort going into services we would assume were automated. Its a new form of piece work undertaken by a causal workforce doing it where and when it suits them. This type of work treats you like part of a system managed by algorithms an artificial, artificial intelligence. In some senses this isn't anything new as work historian Richard Donkin explains using the examples of the time and motion studies pioneered by Fredrick Winslow Taylor and later taken up by Henry Ford. What is new is that having an algorithm as a boss runs the risk of having only the appearance of freedom and flexibility. Its what attracts people to the so called gig economy, where tasks are farmed out by the app to a willing freelance workforce. Aleks hears both sides of that experience from two people who make their living off a digital platform; one by day and the other by night. So what promise do these new forms of digital work offer? Aleks discovers they have the potential to be both a race to the bottom for labour markets and usher in a new era for those currently unable to work. Producer: Peter McManus.
04/04/1627m 56s


Imagination is an essential component of what makes us human, it's complexity and artistry separating us from other animals as well as machines. Yet as digital technology progresses it's beginning to model this, once believed mystical, process. Aleks Krotoski explores the implications of this latest stage of digital evolution. Could the digital world fill the gap for people who are unable to imagine? Does the production of imaginative arts such as poetry indicate a level of humanity in our machines? And if computers can indeed be programmed to imagine, what does this mean for the beauty and artistry of the human mind? Producer: Elizabeth Ann Duffy.
16/11/1527m 37s


Since ancient Greece and probably before we've always used metaphors drawn from our current technology to understand our bodies. From the time of Newton we thought of the body as an elaborate clockwork device, the industrial revolution brought us the steam engine and the body became a system of pressures and levers. Aleks Krotoski asks what metaphor prevails in the digital era and what shortcomings in our understanding accompany these analogies. Producer: Peter McManus.
09/11/1528m 4s


Aleks Krotoski explores living in a digital world.
02/11/1528m 5s


The online world abounds with doppelgangers, cyber-twins, bots and mind-clones; in this Halloween episode of The Digital Human Aleks Krotoski explores the uncanny world of these digital doubles. On the most simple level social networks and the now seemingly permanent cult of the selfie means that finding our visual double has never been easier. And its the appeal of this that was the inspiration for Niamh Gearney's website Twin Strangers where people register to hopefully track down their double. Niamh herself has found 3 doubles and she hopes to track down 7 having found that number in researching doppelganger myths. For artist Daniel Bejar sharing his name with a famous musician has turned the online world into a battlefield for identity an idea he's exploring by changing his appearance to that of his more famous namesake and posting pictures to the web. While for Joanna McNeil she created her own cyber-twin; a bot to share answering her emails and messages. She hoped this would help her understand the ways in which emotion is conveyed online by delegating communication to an algorithm. Its how the digital world makes doppelgangers of us all that fascinates Sara M Watson; technology critic and affiliate of the Berkman centre for internet and society at Harvard. We catch glimpses of these shadowy digital doppelgangers in ads that don't quite match who we think we are online or in recommendations make us feel uneasy. Its the attempts at personalisation of our digital experiences that she compares to the idea of the uncanny valley of robotics when something is so close to being human that it becomes repellent. Producers: Peter McManus and Elizabeth Ann Duffy
26/10/1528m 37s


Aleks Krotoski delves into vigilantism on the web and looks at the moral and philosophical implications of fighting the good fight in a digital space. Can we consider the web to be a superhero?
20/10/1527m 54s


In the first of the new series, Aleks Krotoski explores how the web has influenced detection, from uncovering Osama Bin Laden to discovering the identity of long-abandoned Jane and John Does. As human beings, what is it in our nature that drives us to find out the end of the story - even when that story has nothing to do with us? The online world has made the detective mystery one in which we can all play a role. Hundreds of cold cases have been re-examined and re-explored by cyber sleuths around the world - and some cases have picked up definitive leads from eagle-eyed members of the public. But what are the implications for law enforcement, and how does detection work when so many of us are playing outside of the rules? Producer: Victoria McArthur.
12/10/1527m 56s


Aleks Krotoski explores if we have all become digital hoarders. When our digital junk drawers are bigger than we can comprehend, do we lose the sense of what is worth keeping?
18/05/1528m 23s


Aleks talks to Tinder users Harriet Southgate and Kira Cheers who speak not only about the seductive nature of the app, but how they promote the gamification of dating. Biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher argues that dating apps like Tinder and Grindr can cause cognitive overload because humans are just not used to having so much choice when it comes to picking a date. Aleks also speaks with Paul Ross, known as the Father of Seduction, about a rather chilling and systemised approach to seduction and explores whether dating apps are in fact missing out the slow play of the seduction process. Produced by Kate Bissell Researched by Elizabeth Ann Duffy
11/05/1527m 47s

Rear Window

Aleks Krotoski explores the basic human impulse of people watching. We are aware how we perform when we know we are being looked at online but hear little about those watching.
04/05/1528m 2s


Aleks Krotoski explores the overlap between technology and the natural world and how the two co-exist.
29/04/1527m 43s


Arthur C. Clarke's 3rd law goes "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." So does that apply to the modern digital world, Aleks Krotoski asks the question with some surprising results. From people living under the 'curse' of electro-sensitivity to the rituals we all go through to ward off evil spirits like updating our anti-virus software. And she'll speak to the people teaching the language magic to technologists. In a world of install wizards and demon programmes why is the vocabulary of magic so powerful and what does that mean for our understanding of how our technology works. Producer: Peter McManus.
20/04/1528m 29s


Secret holders share why and how they have used the internet to disclose their most intimate or well kept secrets - how does a compulsion to confess in a public setting effect those who the secret is about? And can this audition of secrets online naturally lead to revealing them offline? Aleks talks to her high school friends to unravel the secrecy about SARGON, an open secret society at her high schoo,l which she was never invited to join. She discovers the power of secrets for those on the inside and outside of SARGON. Could such a society exist today in the presence of social media? We also hear from Frank Warren the secret keeper of the online website and app PostSecret. Yorick Pheonix who used PostSecret to air a secret kept for 30 years tells us why he was happy to use such a public setting to explain that he kept his daughter a secret from his family. Aleks addresses the ownership of secrets and how the internet can impact on this. We hear from Yorick's daughter, Rachael about how she feels that her father's secret, which is also her own, is online for all to hear. And former MI6 officer Harry Fergusson talks about context collapse and how he managed to keep his work and family life separate. Producer: Kate Bissell Digi Human graffiti by NOIR aka Glynn Judd.
13/04/1527m 38s


If a driverless car has to choose between crashing you into a school bus or a wall who do you want to be programming that decision? Aleks Krotoski explores ethics in technology. Join Aleks as she finds out if it's even possible for a device to 'behave' in a morally prescribed way through looking at attempts to make a smart phone 'kosher'. But nothing captures the conundrum quite like the ethical questions raised by driverless cars and it's the issues they raise that she explores with engineer turned philosopher Jason Millar and robot ethicist Kate Darling. Professor of law and medicine Sheila MacLean offers a comparison with how codes of medical ethics were developed before we hear the story of Gus a 13 year old whose world was transformed by SIRI. Producer Peter McManus.
17/11/1428m 7s


Aleks Krotoski examines what digital mapping has meant for our understanding of the world. Are we always aware of the decisions that make them look the way they do? Traditionally of course maps are as "authored" as anything else. As Simon Garfield writer of On the Map: Why the world looks the way it does , explains we should think of maps like the biography of a famous person; highly subjective and usually with some sort of angle. We hear this authorship at work when we join Bob Egan of PopSpotsNYC; he maps out where famous album cover photos were taken in his native New York and puts them online for us all to visit. We join him on the hunt through Google maps and on the streets as tracks down his latest quarry. Bob is adding his own layer of information to the digital mapping of our world for Dr Mark Graham of the Oxford Internet Institute this is happening all around us. And it's this phenomenon that makes the understanding of the choices that go into making our maps even more important. We hear about the experience of paleo-anthropologist Prof Lee Berger and how hidden choices in GPS data he was using nearly cost him the most important discovery of his career. Aleks then explores if the so called "open mapping" movement hold the answer to eliminating some of issues created by digital maps with the example of Christchurch recovery map -a crowd sourced map that was created within hours of the Christchurch earth quake of 2012.
10/11/1428m 32s


We live in a world where the nostalgia for the past now permeates our present. With online trends like 'Throw Back Thursdays', apps like Timehop and platforms which gives you the tools to make your digital image look like it was taken with an analogue camera, the internet has never seemed so backwards-facing. In this week's episode of The Digital Human, Aleks Krotoski visits imagined worlds and eras long past to explore whether the web is a nostalgia machine. We speak with Professor of Svetlana Boym to trace the origins of the word back to homesick Swiss mercenaries in the 17th century, visit a water park in New Jersey which was reborn through the collective power of online nostalgia and take tea with a vintage enthusiast, who divides his time between working as an air host in a high-flying company, with living in the 1940s. Producer: Caitlin Smith.
03/11/1427m 59s


What happens when we abandon a place? And why is it so difficult for us to leave these places behind? In this episode, Aleks explores abandon both on and offline. We tell the story of the only permanent resident of Fukushima's radiation exclusion zone. Naoto Matsura stayed in Tomioka while everyone around him fled. He's now the unofficial caretaker of this abandoned town. Aleks contrasts this with a remarkable example of digital abandon. Meridian 59 was the first massively multiplayer online game. When newer competitors arrived on the scene, many players left. The game has been abandoned and restarted several times over since. Aleks hears from the hardcore community of players who refuse to let the game disappear entirely.
27/10/1427m 43s


We communicate with each other in more ways than ever and with an ever expanding range of devices and platforms. But they all piggy back on an earlier invention, our original social networking technology - language. In this edition of the Digital Human Aleks Krotoski explores the idea of language as a technology itself and how people over the years have attempted to improve it; re-engineer it for maximum efficiency, or use it as a lever of social change. She speaks to Professor David Crystal about how we're living through a period of rapid language growth comparable to the renaissance or industrial revolution. Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel explains how we can consider language as a technology devised by natural selection while linguist Arika Okrent charts the attempts down the years by those who think they can perfect the function of language by devising their own. Producer: Peter McManus.
20/10/1428m 27s


Our brains are still running security software designed to protect us against lions, tigers and bears and we haven't run an update for about 200,000 years. Aleks Krotoski explores how well it works when faced with the risks of the digital world. According David Ropeik author and risk communication expert at Harvard University the modern technological world presents our risk perception abilities with much more complex and abstract problems than it was ever designed to cope with. For him we feel risk rather calculate it so whether its cyber-terrorism or climate change if the risk doesn't immediately push our risk buttons we simply don't know how to react with the risk of getting risk wrong. And no-where can the risks seem more abstract than in the digital world. Aleks explores how we respond to the dangers that lurk there through a range of stories. We spend time being driven round the Channel island of Jersey in the company of Toni an 18 year old who gives lifts to people she's only ever met through Facebook, we'll hear how a professional online poker player uses the minimal information she can glean about other players to know when to bet big and Aleks will also discover how even a walk in the park can put our technology and the private information we keep there in jeopardy. Producer: Peter McManus.
13/10/1428m 3s


Aleks explores how the digital world has changed our idea of selling. In a world where every click is a selling opportunity either for us or to us, how do we take advantage of the one without being taken in by the other?
14/05/1427m 51s


Digital devices operate in binary ways; either they're working or they're a brick! Aleks Krotoski asks what this means for our natural instincts as tool builders and tool breakers? As technology becomes more resistant to prying fingers and minds are we losing the ability to imagine it differently? Take the dying art of tuning an engine it can make cars faster and more efficient but only comes through a symbiotic relationship between mechanic and machine and of course every child knows the joy of taking something apart to see how it works at least until they're caught doing it Are these the same sensibilities we see in the digital world? From hacking to playing a video game in such a perverse way as to see if it can be broken? Do the constraints of digital technology lock us out of our devices; licensing us to only use them in the prescribed ways, that while convenient are also dis-empowering? Producer: Peter McManus.
05/05/1428m 8s


Aleks krotoski asks how human beings can cope with a world saturated by data. For some it is clay to be moulded and built with while for others it is the route to self knowledge. But it exists in overwhelming volumes like grains of sand on a beach. Turning it into things we can understand is now an imperative and artists and designers around the world are constantly looking for ways to summarise and symbolise what we are learning about the world around us through this tsunami of numbers. The programme's contributors include designers Brendan Dawes and Nicholas Felton, Professor of philosophy at the Oxford Internet Institute Luciano Floridi, Scientist and composer Domenico Vicinanza, writer Amelia Abreu. Producer: Peter McManus.
28/04/1428m 1s


Today tens of thousands of people run the Boston marathon amidst tight security. A year ago two bombs were detonated at the finishing line, killing three and injuring 260. Social media went into overdrive as people frantically pieced together clues which might lead them to the bombers. From this patchwork of evidence two suspects emerged and rumours began to spread. During the London riots in 2011 people tweeted photos of the London Eye ablaze. Rumours circulated that rioters had broken into the zoo and released wild animals. A tiger was even spotted prowling around in Primrose Hill; there was even a grainy picture to prove it. We seem to be spending less time verifying facts and more time believing things that fits in with what feels right. Is technology helping or hindering the flow of good information? Do we need to think before we retweet? In this episode of The Digital Human, Aleks explores how rumours spread both online and in the physical world and discovers how in the echo chamber of social media falsehoods repeat until they become truth. Contributors: Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic, psychologist Nicholas DiFonzo, computer scientist Kalina Bontcheva, DJ Russ Gibb, Twiggy Garcia and Ty Evans. Producer: Caitlin Smith.
21/04/1427m 46s


In this week's Digital Human, Aleks Krotoski asks if the digital world is robbing us of our voices. When we'd rather text or message than speak to someone, are we still listening? We're in a golden age of creating and sharing pictures, video and text, but what about the spoken word? Podcasts bring global radio to our ears, but when it comes to talking amongst ourselves, we're choosing not to speak. What role does the voice play in the 21st century - and now that there are so many other options - is it still relevant?
14/04/1428m 6s


Aleks Krotoski explores the technology of time keeping. As clocks get more accurate and time becomes more abstract what does that mean for how we experience it? The accurate keeping of time allows our technological world to keep spinning and since earliest times has been central to how civilisation has developed. From the earliest mechanical clocks, the supercomputers of their day to the first wearable technology or pocket watch they've been at the forefront of technological advancement. But what has 'clock time' done to how we experience the passage of time? Aleks will find out as she visits the earliest time recording device ever discovered, in a muddy Aberdeen-shire field some 5000 years older than Stone Henge. In contrast she sees how modern time is produced by the atomic clocks of the BIPM in Paris, its here that time for the world is produced, sychronising everything from power grids to GPS satellites and the internet. She also explores how we experience time subjectively and what that means for how we perceive the world. Finally she hears from someone who tried to live without clocks and what that meant for his experience of time. Contributors: Prof. Vince Gaffney, Artist Cathy Haynes, Neuroscientist David Eagleman, Professional base jumper Karina Holkeim and writer and software developer Steve Corona. Producer: Peter McManus.
07/04/1427m 55s


Do you feel in control of your technology, or is it the other way round? In this last episode of the current series of The Digital Human Aleks Krotoski asks if we could all do with a detox from our digital devices. It's a question she's increasingly been asking herself, which brings her to the couch of cyber addiction therapist Chris Mulligan. While there is no classification of cyber addiction in any psychiatric manual in the world there are clearly people who have problems switching off from games or what they're looking at online. Does the answer lie in how technology has hijacked the reward systems of our brains? Kelly Mcgonigal is a neuroscientist at Stanford University and has made a special study of willpower and the challenges we face in modern living. She's been researching how social information is profoundly addictive to the modern human brain. Aleks also hears about different approaches to solving the problem and keeping our technology use under control. Author Evgeny Morozov locks his phone and router cable in a time locked safe, while Susan Maushart took herself and her family offline for 6 months to kick-start a more mindful and deliberate approach to technology use. But are these methods no more than sticking plasters and is it to ourselves and how we relate to our technology that we should look to rebalance this relationship. Producer Peter McManus.
17/02/1428m 0s


Aleks Krotoski explores our lives in the digital world. This week she asks, are our connected modern lives making us lonelier than ever?
17/02/1428m 2s


Here be trolls… What is it about the digital world that encourages normal people to disregard the rules of everyday life? Is it the cloak of anonymity the net offers? The social rules of online communities? Or simply human nature? This week, Aleks Krotostki delves into the dark side of the digital world to explore whether or not the internet fuels the breakdown of social and moral boundaries. She speaks to a troll who claims Jesus and Socrates as her forebears, Dave Eshleman who was one of the guards in the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment and Professor Alex Haslam who recreated the experiment for the BBC, with startlingly different results.
10/02/1428m 4s


Aleks Krotoski returns with a new series exploring our lives in a digital age and on April Fool's day she explores whether mischief is an essential part of the online world. Mischief performs many functions in our society; the individual can use it to find their place in the world, while it can also level the playing field between the powerful and powerless. Follow and join the conversation on Twitter with #digihuman and find even more background on . There's never been a greater engine of mischief than the internet. Aleks hears first from writers Tim Wright and Rob Bevan. Like all writers, procrastination and distraction are constant companions but if your speciality is digital storytelling, the temptation to play tricks can be irresistible. When Tim decided to construct a hoax for Rob, little did he know just how consuming it would become and how it would affect how they go about storytelling. We also hear from US history professor T Mills Kelly about his course 'Lying about the Past' where he prepares his students for sifting through all the historical mischief making online. Lewis Hyde is a respected author whose titles include Trickster Makes This World or How The Disruptive Imagination Creates Culture. He explains the role of the trickster in myth and legend and what we can learn from these figures about the evolution of the digital world.Throughout the programme Aleks will also hear from psychiatrist turned stand-up Taylor Glenn about what's like to be a professional mischief maker. Producers Victoria McArthur and Peter McManus.
31/01/1428m 9s


Join Aleks Krotoski as she explores chance in the digital world. Can life - changing encounters really be bottled, sold and exploited and what does the digital world promise for a future of serendipity. Can it really be engineered by digital systems?
31/01/1428m 0s

Last Word

At the Digital Death Day Aleks meets with Vered Shavit from Israel who having dealt with her late brother's digital legacy set up a website called Digital Dust to help others going through the same experience. Hearing Vered's story Alek's asks how are we using the web to adapt the rituals that we have used for centuries to help us transition between the living and the dead? Aleks discovers that since Vered's brother's death people continue to communicate with him through his Facebook profile. Dr Elaine Kasket a Counselling Psychologist who practices psychotherapy with the bereaved likens Facebook to a modern day medium. She also explains how Facebook is enabling people to continue bonds with the deceased. The distinction between our physical selves and mental states is a philosophical construction, but it signifies a line in the sand between those who believe our bodies make us human and those who define humanity by our thoughts and social lives. But after our death can our persisting digital selves continue our presence for those left behind? Produced by Kate Bissell.
31/01/1427m 53s


Aleks Krotoski explores the digital world. In today's programme have we all become cyborgs without even knowing it? We've always extended our human bodies ever since we first picked up rocks or sticks as tools, it's part of human nature. So are the digital tools of today any different? Aleks asks just how far we've come and are willing to go to become one with our technology and become cyborg. Aleks hears from film maker Rob Spence better known as Eyeborg about the reaction he gets to the camera he has where his right eye used to be. It's a different type of eye artist and composer Neil Harbisson uses, born entirely colour blind Neil uses an electronic eye on an antenna attached to his skull to hear colours it's now such a part of how Neil perceives the world that he hears the colours in his dreams! Brandy Ellis is a very different type of cyborg; having suffered from depression for years she opted to have electronics implanted in her brain to control her symptoms. Her feelings are literally regulated by a machine. Ultimately Aleks finds out from anthropologist Amber Case how we're all every bit as cyborg as Rob, Neil or Brandy in how we coexist symbiotically with our digital devices.
31/01/1427m 48s


Aleks Krotoski looks at whether how we tell stories has changed with the digital world. And it looks like it has much more to do with our distant past that we might think. She begins by looking at the online phenomena of the Slender Man a supernatural figure that's been appearing in pictures, blogs and YouTube movies since 2009 and is described as the first great myth of the web. Aleks speaks to AS Byatt to understand what story is for before examining how modern online storytelling bears a striking resemblance to oral traditions of medieval times. To see this in action she explores the growth of the Slender Man myth and how its community based evolution mimics how legends grew in the past. But for many of these stories they still don't make the most of what the digital world has to offer storytellers. For this Aleks turns to Alison Norrington one of the world's leading proponents of trans-media stories.
31/01/1427m 57s


Aleks Krotoski looks at whether we've all become techno-fundamentalists. Do we know what all our technology is for or more intriguingly what it wants? Aleks hears from Douglas Rushkoff about how the whole of the world around us has always been programmed by architects, religion, and politics. But it's something we seem to have forgotten about technology itself. Tom Chatfield discusses how the biases of technology (the things it naturally tends towards or is best at) interplay with human nature to turn much of our interaction with technology into some sort of perverse game. But some of these biases like the end use of technology only emerge once people start to use it. Kevin Kelly is one of the world's most respected commentators on technology he believes that the biases of all our technology put together start to combine so that it behave very much like an organism. His provocative theories are detailed in his book What does Technology want? We explore these theories by discussing our biggest technologies; the city and whether the latest innovations aiming to make our city's smarter and more sustainable hint at a better future relationship with the world of technology.
31/01/1428m 1s


Aleks speaks to Grandmaster of memory, Ed Cooke who thinks memory is going out of fashion because of our reliance on digital devices. Mastermind champion and London cabbie Fred Housego explains how he relies on 'The Knowledge' to navigate London but relies on his wife's short term memory to remember dates for engagements, shopping lists, phone numbers. Psychologist Betsy Sparrow explains that this is known as transactive memory and it's exactly what we are doing with our digital devices. Cyborg Anthropologist, Amber Chase explains that in the past we had physical extensions of ourselves, for example with tools, but we now have mental extensions of ourselves, with our digital devices acting as externalised brains, changing our sense of self. Aleks discovers that the way we remember is not only changing our perceptions of self but challenging the very concept of intelligence. Aleks hears that the smart kid of the past memorized lots of data but the smart kid of the future will know how to navigate the system and how to understand concepts. This is exactly what 15 year old US high school pupil, Jack Andraka did when he discovered a new test for pancreatic cancer using the internet. With little background knowledge and armed only with what he knew from biology classes he scoured the web for papers that helped him make connections that will potentially save thousands of lives. The way we use our memory is changing but as Psychologist Betsy Sparrow explains we are only responding to our surroundings and evolving as we always have. Producer: Kate Bissell.
31/01/1427m 27s


Aleks Krotoski explores what the digital world tells us about ourselves. This week: Influence. How has the digital world changed the way opinions are voiced and shaped?
31/01/1427m 38s


Aleks Krotoski returns with a new series of explorations of our digital world. In the first in the series Aleks looks at how different cultures are preserving their identity in the face of the homogenising effects of technology. There's a fear that the digital world will make us all the same. But that doesn't seem that well founded if you look at how widely differing cultures are using technology to express their identity and values. We look at the music sharing culture of Mali in West Africa as explored by musicologist Chris Kirkley and hear from the vibrant and intoxicating atmosphere of the mobile phone music market in Mali's capital Bamako. Back in the UK we look at the interesting way immigrant communities maintain their cultural ties through technology and the unexpected effect this has on the growth of immigrant communities. Aleks also talks to explorer in residence Robin Hanbury-Tenison about his thoughts on how technology might be undermining cultures. Does he see the spread of digital as a new form of cultural imperialism? Producer Peter McManus Other areas of the digital world to be explored in this series include: How opinion and influence spread in a digital world What all this new technology means for how we learn? Do we always know what technology is for and ultimately what it wants? Has the digital world changed our perceptions and discussions of death?
31/01/1428m 7s


Aleks Krotoski looks at group think in the digital world.
28/01/1427m 57s


Join Aleks Krotoski as she explores love in the digital world. Can love be love when we're deprived of the sensory connections of face-to-face interaction? Love online doesn't need to be as wayward or incidental as it is in real life. In fact, Aleks will be hearing from those who think that love in the digital age leads to far deeper connections than we might imagine.
27/01/1427m 41s


In this weeks edition of The Digital Human Aleks looks at what we believe and why. With a search for God throwing up nearly 2billion hits the claims that the internet would be death of religion seem a little hollow. So why does our web search for answers bring some people to god and turn others away? And why do we invest such faith in the answer we find online anyway? Aleks will look at technology as a force multiplier for religions and discover if we ever need to go to church again to practice a faith.
27/01/1428m 1s


What is the biggest threat to our privacy: governments, corporate entities or our friends? And do people have different attitudes towards privacy depending on their culture?
27/01/1427m 29s


Control is one of the big attractions of living in the digital world, we only post the best pictures of ourselves enjoying the best parts of our lives. But does that mean we start to treat our lives more like a brand, to be sold to our friends and protected from anything negative? Aleks Krotoski talks to Sherry Turkle director of MIT's Initiative on Technology and the Self to ask if this could cause us problems. She'll also find out what happens when you give up control of your online life or have it taken over. Contributors: Aidan Moffat @AidanJohnMoffat Sherry Turkle @STurkle David White @daveowhite Charlie McDonnell @coollike Andy Zaltzman @hellobuglers
27/01/1427m 34s


Aleks Krotoski asks not just what technology can do for us but also what is it doing to us and the world we're creating? Each week she takes us on a journey to where people are living their digital lives to explore how technology touches everything we do both on and offline. Taking broad themes of modern living as a starting point she charts the experiences of homo digitas; both the remarkable and the mundane, to understand how we are changing just as quickly as the advances in our technology. What does the deluge of images from digital photography mean for our memory when every second is being recorded, edited and posted online for posterity? Are the identities we create in social media no more than exercises in personal branding, to be managed and protected like any other product? And as traditional churches struggle to leverage technology to spread their faith do the behaviours we all display online have more in common with religion than rationality? The time for wonder at the digital world is over, we live with it in every day. The question really is who are we now because of it?
27/01/1427m 50s


Aleks Krotoski explores how technology can give someone back a life that had seemed gone forever. From a 93 year old painter whose failing eyesight has left him no option than to turn to technology, to an agoraphobic blogger who shares her thoughts on fashion online; technology can be the only means some people can express the things that are most important to them. Aleks Krotoski explores the stories of individuals who've become reliant on technology to keep living the lives they love. She also discovers if this can be a trap for some robbing them of the will to tackle their problems head on. Contributors: Hal Lasko (the pixel painter), Ryan Lasko, Ron Lasko, Sera McDaid, Dr Jennifer Wild, Dr Skip Rizzo Producer: Peter McManus.
11/11/1328m 27s


We might want to drown it out in light, but, as Aleks Krotoski discovers, darkness can be good for us. Electric light tampers with our circadian rhythms. Now we can light up any part of the day, our body isn't shutting off to sleep as easily as it once did. Aleks discovers the way that technology is starting to recognise this on both a personal level and a societal level. Produced by Victoria McArthur.
04/11/1327m 58s


When almost anything we want is available to buy at the click of mouse and so much content is available for free, is the digital changing how we value things? Aleks Krotoski explores our sense of worth in this new world where the only thing that's scarce is scarcity itself. Do we connect with our possessions differently and in the end what is it that makes something valuable to us. Contributors Nicholas Lovell author of The Curve, Professor Chris Speed from Edinburgh University, Auctioneer and Valuer Anita Manning, Composer and Roboticist Sarah Angliss Producer Peter McManus.
28/10/1328m 30s


Aleks Krotoski explores whether technology has impaired our ability to wander. Now that off-grid is on-grid and we can send emails from mountaintops, have we sacrificed the pleasure of travelling to discover new places and ourselves?
21/10/1328m 11s


Every week a million more people move to live in cities. Can they cope with this constant expansion? Aleks explores whether 'Smart' cities are the answer or do they come with a hidden price of personal freedom. She visits the world's "smartest" city, Masdar in Abu Dhabi and explores the social engineering that's as much part of the design as the bricks and mortar. Contributors: Physicist Geoffrey West, Urban Explorer Brad Garrett, Lean Doody from ARUP, Dr Iyad Rahwan, Architect and Artist Usman Haque. Producer: Peter McManus.
14/10/1328m 22s


Aleks Krotoski explores what technology tells us about ouselves and the age we live in. In this first programme; is the digital world allowing us to be more altruistic than ever? So can true altruism exist online? With all the stories of cyber-bullying and trolling it's very easy to forget the random acts of kindness that the technology also allows. Aleks explores some amazing stories of online altruism. But when no good deed goes unpublished and you can keep score of your goodness through 'followers', 'likes' and the accompanying boosts to ego and reputation is truly selfless altruism online an impossibility? And in the end, if good gets done does it matter? Contributors: Primatologist Frans De Waal, Psychologist Dana Kilsanin, Founder of Random acts of pizza Daniel Rodgers, YouTube DIY guru Chez Rossi Producer: Peter McManus.
08/10/1328m 10s
Heart UK