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Rank #102 in Technology category

Technology

Digital Planet

Updated about 1 month ago

Rank #102 in Technology category

Technology
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Technological and digital news from around the world.

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Technological and digital news from around the world.

iTunes Ratings

96 Ratings
Average Ratings
76
12
2
3
3

Technology at its best

By World Traveler Expert - Mar 02 2016
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Great. Engaging and educational.

Too much spin and not enough tech news

By KevinICdesigner - Aug 05 2014
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Way too chatty. More technology news please and less opining on the social implications in your opinion. Focus better please!

iTunes Ratings

96 Ratings
Average Ratings
76
12
2
3
3

Technology at its best

By World Traveler Expert - Mar 02 2016
Read more
Great. Engaging and educational.

Too much spin and not enough tech news

By KevinICdesigner - Aug 05 2014
Read more
Way too chatty. More technology news please and less opining on the social implications in your opinion. Focus better please!
Cover image of Digital Planet

Digital Planet

Latest release on Jun 30, 2020

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Technological and digital news from around the world.

Rank #1: Why is AI so far from perfect?

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

Picture: Driverless Cars, Getty Images

Dec 31 2019

38mins

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Rank #2: Chinese surveillance app analysed by researchers

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Travellers to China through Kyrgyzstan are being forced to install a surveillance app on their phones. Professor Thorsten Holt is on the programme to explain, with the help of investigative journalists, how he has hacked into and analysed this surveillance app. He says the app compiles a report on your phone contacts, text messages and even your social media accounts, as well as searching for over 73,000 specific files.

Atmospheric Memory
A breath-taking new art environment where you can see, hear and even touch sound, has opened in Manchester. The exhibit is inspired by Charles Babbage, a pioneer of computing technology from 180 years ago. He once proposed that if all spoken words remain recorded in the air, a powerful computer could potentially ‘rewind’ the movement of all air molecules. So how has the ground-breaking ideas of Charles Babbage influenced art and technology today?.

Robotic Endoscopy
Endoscopies are medical procedures that involve threading a camera through the body to see inside. Anyone who has had one will know how uncomfortable they can be. But, they are also challenging for the doctor - taking on average 100 to 250 procedures to be able to perform well. Reporter Madeleine Finlay met Dr Joe Norton, who is part of an international team developing an intelligent robotic system that could make it a lot less painful for both the patient and clinician.

Game Designing: Mentoring the Next Generation
Mathew Applegate works with over 300 young people in Suffolk on game design, and has just won the BAFTA Young Game Designers Mentor Award. Having been a hacker and spent time working for the government, Mathew then set up his Creative Computing Club in 2012, which delivers courses on game design, robotics, AI, VR and much more. He spoke to us on why he believes game design is so beneficial for the young people of Suffolk.
(Photo caption: “Analysing the App’s binary software code” credit: © Mareen Meyer )

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Jul 09 2019

40mins

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Rank #3: Tax on connectivity in Africa

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Tax on Connectivity
Taxes on internet and mobile access are on the rise across Africa, according to the Alliance for Affordable Internet. After a daily levy was introduced on social media services in Uganda for example, internet subscriptions fell by 2.5 million. Eleanor Sarpong, Deputy Director at the Alliance for Affordable Internet explains how it’s the poorest and women who are being hardest hit.

Kibera Stories
Brian Otieno has been using photography to redefine his hometown’s visual narrative, looking beyond the poverty, crime and hardship of Kibera on the outskirts of Narirobi. One day, Brian was scrolling through pictures of his area on his phone and all he saw was deep poverty, whereas he would look around Kibera and see beautiful scenery and aimed to do photography that would “leave a lasting impression on people’s minds”.

Green Monkeys
Scientists have found that green monkeys in Senegal make the same alarm calls when they see drones as another population of green monkeys across the continent make to eagles – seeing them as a flying threat. Professor Julia Fischer from the German Primate Centre in Gottingen led the study. She says that technology is making some primates behave differently – for instance hiding until drones disappear.

How fit if your fitbit?
Zoe Klienman has been to Loughborough University to find out how fit our fittech actually is.
(Picture: Tax sign. Credit: Getty Images)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Jun 25 2019

41mins

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Rank #4: Millions of Instagram users’ activity tracked

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Instagram has removed US marketing company Hyp3r from its service after it was accused of grabbing users' data. Hyp3r was scraping profiles, copying photos and siphoning off data supposed to be deleted after 24 hours, according to Business Insider investigation. As Stephanie Hare explains, millions of users have been targeted.

Breaking Silences – Rwanda’s first podcast
On DP’s recent trip to Rwanda Gareth met two young women who have created the first ever podcast in the country. “Breaking Silences” is a podcast that brings you conversation around things happening in African Society particularly in Rwanda. It’s a really lively show and the hosts are not afraid to tackle subjects that no one else has spoken about publically before...

Fire Hackathon package
Our reporter Tom Stephens has been to a hackathon aimed at radically rethinking the way that fire safety is incorporated into the construction of buildings. The idea for the event came about in the summer of 2017 following the Grenfell Tower fire.

(Photo: Instagram application seen on a phone screen. Credit: Thomas White/Reuters)

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Aug 13 2019

39mins

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Rank #5: Iran internet shutdown continues

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Iran internet shutdown
Iran is now almost entirely offline as authorities try to stem the spread of protests that started last week. The government increased fuel prices by as much as 300% and since people took to the streets online access has been restricted. We find out the latest from online monitoring group NetBlocks.

US Election emails unsafe
Agari was the company that uncovered and confirmed that the webserver the email that ‘hacked’ Hilary Clinton’s campaign came from Russia. They have now conducted a poll and found that only Elizabeth Warren out of all the potential presidential candidates has secure emails. This matters not only from a data security point of view but also from a voter and donor point – the company has found that voters are less likely to vote for a candidate with a data breach and that donors are less likely to give money.

Hate speech control using tech
Hate speech that incites violence or hate against vulnerable groups has long been a problem in human societies but has more recently been weaponised by social media. The current system means the direct or indirect recipient needs to complain. The alternative approach is to develop artificial intelligence to identify potential hate speech and put the post in quarantine until either the direct recipient has agreed it should be deleted or has read it and agreed it should be allowed.

Cargo Ship tech
Our reporter Snezana Curcic has travelled across the North Atlantic Ocean in a bit of an unusual and adventurous way – on a cargo ship. With only eight hours of Wi-Fi allowance per week, Snezana filed this story on her journey from Liverpool to New York on the Atlantic Star. She looks at the tech on board and how this hugely competitive and complex industry is adapting to the digital age to survive. Even e-commerce leaders, like Ali Baba and Amazon, are heavily investing in ocean cargo services and stepping up their game.

Picture: Protests in Iran over increasing fuel price, Credit: European Photopress Agency

Nov 19 2019

38mins

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Rank #6: Jakarta power cut - millions without electricity

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Jakarta power cut
The lights are finally back on for most of Jakarta’s ten million people, who suffered a nine-hour outage over the weekend. Taking into account surrounding regions, the power cut could have affected more than a hundred million people. Just a few weeks ago, there was a power outage on a similar scale across much of Argentina and Uruguay. The lights went out recently across the west of Manhattan too. Professor Keith Bell from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland joins us live to explain why these types of cuts happen.

Project Loon
Loon’s mission is to provide internet connectivity to areas that are typically underserved, using high-altitude balloons with solar-powered cellular network gear on board, replacing the need for permanent tower infrastructure in environments where that kind of option either isn’t practical or affordable. Gareth and Bill have visited Loon’s ground station in Nairobi to find out more.
Penguin tech
The British Antarctic Survey is using satellites to track wildlife in some extremely remote regions. Their surveillance recently revealed that emperor penguins are fleeing some of their biggest colonies as the ice becomes less stable. Satellites are also tracking whale populations in the remote ocean, but the tech doesn’t stop there, as Jason Hosken reports

Art or Not app?
The power of the neural net has is rendering your handset your friendly art critic in your pocket. You take a quick pic on your phone: is it a masterpiece, or could a young child have done that? The app called ‘Art or Not?’ is fun but for its creators at Monash University in Australia there’s a serious research question about machines and creativity behind it. The application hits the app store within the next week. Dilpreet Singh and Jon McCormack at Monash University’s SensiLab explain how it works.
(Photo: Impact Of Electricity Shut Down In Jakarta And Surrounding Areas. Credit: Photo by Donal Husni/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Aug 06 2019

43mins

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Rank #7: Humanitarian drone corridor in Africa

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Humanitarian drone corridor in Africa
Sierra Leone has just launched West Africa’s first drone corridor – it’s a dedicated channel of airspace for medical delivery drones. UNICEF is part of the project and already has three other humanitarian corridors open globally.

Wikipedia untagging of women
Dr. Jess Wade from Imperial College London is continuing her mission of getting more female scientists onto Wikipedia, however a few days ago many of her entries were marked as not notable enough to be included. This was done anonymously by another Wiki editor. We hear from Jess and Wikipedia’s Katherine Maher.

Cats detecting earthquakes
Could cats detect earthquakes? Yes says Celeste Labedz a seismologist at Caltech – if they are fitted with a motion tracker device. It’s purely a theoretical idea as she explains on the programme.

Smart tattoos
Smart ink that changes colour could lead to medical smart tattoos that monito conditions like diabetes. Harrison Lewis has been finding out more.
(Image: Drones for good. Credit:UNICEF)

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Dec 03 2019

46mins

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Rank #8: Google bug bounty hunters

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Google’s offering up to $1.5m to anyone who can identify bugs in its new chip for Android smartphones. This is a especially high reward but Google’s just one of a host of big well-known companies running bug hunting programmes. But is this the best way for big business to protect its new tech?

AI in Africa
Does Africa need a different approach to AI – yes according to Professor Alan Blackwell of the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University in England. He’s just started a sabbatical year across Africa working with AI experts – we spoke to him on the first leg of his trip at the Bahir Institute of Technology (BIT) in the North West of Ethiopia.

Wi-fi on the bus
Being online when travelling on the bus in parts of Kenya and Rwanda is not new, but now it is also possible in parts of South Africa as BRCK launch their public internet service there.

Nanotech tracing stolen cars
Around 143,000 vehicles worldwide were reported as stolen in 2018 according to Interpol. In the UK, only half are recovered. Now nanosatellites could be a new tool in retrieving stolen cars. Digital Planet’s Izzie Clarke has more.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

(Photo: Google webpage. Credit: Getty Images)

Nov 26 2019

40mins

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Rank #9: Supercomputers seeking solutions for Covid-19

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Supercomputing power for Covid-19 solutions
The world’s most powerful supercomputers are being used for urgent investigations into the Sars-Cov-2 virus. Professor Peter Coveney from the UCL Centre for Computational Science is part of this consortium of hundreds of scientists across the globe, and tells Gareth how this phenomenal amount of computer power is already trying to identify potential treatments and vaccine candidates for Covid-19.

Hot and Cold Cognition
Gareth and Bill meet Professor Barbara Sahakian at Cambridge University to discuss her work on hot and cold cognition. Cold cognition is the mechanics of AI. Hot cognition is what humans do so well – being able to empathise. So if we are to take AI to the next stage eg. interactive care robots, it is the hot cognition that needs to be developed – the social and emotional side of AI.
Digital Radio Mondiale
DRM is the sister standard to DAB. DAB has taken off in the UK and other developed countries, but it is DRM that is becoming more popular in the developing world – India, Pakistan, China are all using it. Recently Brazil added their support for DRM. The key with DRM is that it digitises everything so we don’t need a new infrastructure for it and it can even act as a backup in disasters when other forms of communication fail.

Presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Bill Thompson.
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

(Image: Supercomputer. Credit: Getty Images)

Apr 14 2020

44mins

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Rank #10: Internet and journalist reporting freedom curtailed

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Bolsonaro’s tweets deleted
Our South America reporter Angelica Mari tells us about the daily pot banging protests against the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, but it’s now not only the people trying to silence him. Social Media platforms have removed some of his posts as they have been, according to them, spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.

Internet and journalistic freedoms restricted
The Index on Censorship, the global freedom of expression organisation has been charting restrictions on the internet and on journalists, via an interactive map online. Rachael Jolley is editor-in-chief at Index and joins us on the programme.

Ubongo – remote learning the African way
As many schools around the world close their doors, more and more learning is shifting from the classroom to the home. 17 million households in twelve countries across sub-Saharan Africa are now benefitting from Ubongo – the TV, radio, online and mobile learning platform. Iman Lipumba of Ubongo explains how it works.

Culture in Quarantine; sacred music at Easter
Twenty musicians in the famous Tenebrae vocal ensemble have recorded an Easter recital for television, despite socially isolating all over the world. Quite a challenge for the singers, their conductor Nigel Short and the production company Livewire Pictures. Jan Younghusband BBC Music Head of Music TV Commissioning explains how it all happened.
(Image: Index on Censorship. Credit: IndexOnCensorship.org/Google Maps )

The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Ghislaine Boddington.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Apr 07 2020

42mins

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Rank #11: Covid-19 cyber attacks rise

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Cyber criminals are exploiting the pandemic to send fraudulent emails and deploy all kinds of tools to steal our money, our contacts or our identities. Armen Najarian, the chief identity officer at email security firm Agari, updates us on the latest coronavirus driven cyber-attacks including scammers pretending they are emailing from the WHO or CDC.

Can the internet cope with the massive increase in demand?
Jane Coffin, SVP, Internet Growth from the Internet Society is an expert on internet access across the world. We ask how is the network holding up with so many more people now working remotely and what is its resilience for the future?

3D Printing cochlear implants
Gareth and Bill visit Dr Yan Yan Shery Huang at the biointerface group at the University of Cambridge. During the interview in her lab her team prints a 3D cochlear implant. It’s part of a growing field using 3D printing to improve medical care and aims to ultimately personalise cochlear implants allowing the patient to hear much more naturally than current implants allow.

(Image: Malware Detected Warning Screen. Credit: Getty images)

Presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Bill Thompson.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Mar 31 2020

40mins

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Rank #12: Could fitness trackers track COVID-19?

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Could your smart fitness device detect if you were coming down with respiratory symptoms? A project collecting data from smart wearable devices to see if they can plot outbreaks of disease symptoms by reporting data in real time and giving it a geographical tag has been launched. This would allow local authorities to mount responses quickly before any virus spreads further. The study is called DETECT and one of those involved is Dr. Jennifer Radin an epidemiologist at Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego California and she joins us on the programme.

COVID-19 Cybercrime
Why are we more susceptible to cybercrime during lockdown? A new report just published by The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime entitled “Cybercrime – Threats during the COVID-19 pandemic” is trying to answer that question. From attacks on hospitals, to a massive rise in the registration of websites with coronavirus, pandemic and COVID-19 in their addresses, the report looks at how our behaviour, our tech and the criminals, have changed in the last few months making cybercrime an even greater threat than before.

How safe are sex robots?
Sex robots are increasing in popularity. But as more people around the world bring these increasingly sophisticated androids into their homes, what new risks do they bring with them? As countries across the globe enforce strict lockdowns, many of us have felt the power of technology to counter loneliness and isolation, but how close should we let our tech get? And when technology is so taboo, do important discussions about safety ever see the light of day? Luckily, roboticists and regulators are beginning to grapple with some of these issues. Geoff Marsh has been finding out more…
(Image: Smartwatch. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Apr 21 2020

52mins

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Rank #13: South Africa power cuts

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South Africa Power Cuts
Is South Africa facing a blackout? Power cuts across the country are now happening regularly as the country struggles with demand for electricity. There’s even an app that tells you if your lights are going to stay on today, or tomorrow. Professor Keith Bell from Strathclyde University explains why this is happening.

Plasmonics - computing with light
Fancy computing with the speed of light? Well for the first time this is possible thanks to research at Oxford University. Scientists have managed use light to store, access and now process data on chip. The research could significantly increase processing speeds at data centres, not only making computing faster but saving significant amounts of energy.

Land of Iron
A National Park is usually synonymous with nature and wildlife. Perhaps not the obvious place to find a technology story, but in North Yorkshire in the UK a project is underway that is using technology in many different forms to bring a forgotten history back to life. Our reporter Jack Meegan has been time-travelling for us. Jack finds out how the park’s industrial past can now be seen thanks to technology.

World Wise Web
Digital Planet gets a sneak preview of a brand BBC new tech podcast. On World Wise Web, teenagers from around the world get the chance to talk to the technology pioneers who have shaped our digital world.
(Photo: Township Homes, South Africa. Credit: Getty Images)

Jan 07 2020

43mins

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Rank #14: A digital tracker that monitors new surveillance

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Tracking our digital rights
From the moment governments around the world realised the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, many have implemented digital tracking, physical surveillance and censorship measures in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus. We hear about a digital tracker which will monitor new surveillance and if it is having an effect
Working from home when your work is in Space
Most people in countries experiencing a Coronavirus lockdown are working remotely, but what happens when your work is based in Space? The European Space Agency has sent most of it's staff home, we hear from Professor Mark McCaughrean, Senior Science Advisor at ESA, about how this is going.

SETI has gone home
SETI@home is a scientific experiment, based at UC Berkeley, that uses internet connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You could take part by running a free programme that downloads and analyses radio telescope data. But no more, the experiment is ending on March 31st. US Science reporter Molly Bentley tells the story of searching for ET from home.
(Image: Digital tracking. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Mar 24 2020

35mins

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Rank #15: Repairing Voyager 2

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Scientists at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have been working flat out over the last week repairing Voyager 2. The spacecraft is about 18 billion kilometres from Earth, so sending a command to it takes 17 hours.

Alexa: save my life please
Could personal assistants like Alexa and Siri save your life? Research in the journal BMJ innovations has assessed how good the top four voice assistants are at giving sound medical advice – the results were mixed.

Drones mesh it up in Vietnam
Managing a natural disaster like a flood is so difficult because often there are many unknowns - responders urgently need real time information on water levels in the swollen rivers for instance. Installing monitoring kit across long stretches of river is expensive and the sensors need replacing regularly. So how about deploying a squadron of drones to pick up the data instead? That has been happening in a trial in Vietnam. Dr Trung Duong, at Queen’s University Belfast tells us more.

Purrfect robots
Do you need a robot that can work in the dark or a dangerous environment? Give it whiskers! After all, some bristles and a snout work well for the likes of dogs, mice and shrews. So researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK have spent hours watching whiskers in the wild and are now switching the twitching to robots in the lab.

(Photo: Voyager spacecraft. Credit: Nasa)

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Feb 11 2020

44mins

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Rank #16: Coronovirus tech handbook online

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In these unprecedented times of a global pandemic many people are working or studying from home, doctors are facing new challenges, so medical equipment is in short supply – how do deal with this? Perhaps check the coronavirus tech as a shared open source online document where anyone can post their experiences or advice.

Open source tech for COVID-19
A 3d printed ventilator that could be used for COVID-19 patients could be ready by the end of the week. An open source project has led to a collaboration of IT professionals and engineers to work on the project.

Developing responsible AI
Cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell joins us on the programme to talk about developing AI safely and responsibly. She’s cofounded an innovation institute - the 3Ai Institute at the Australian National University and is looking for new students from around the world to apply.
(Image: Coronavirus tech handbook. Credit: Newspeak House)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Mar 17 2020

36mins

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Rank #17: Tech tracking Australian fires

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An app is helping Australian’s stay safe during the Bush fires. Fires Near Me was created by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service and we hear how it works from journalist Corinne Podger. Also the WICEN HAM Radio operators who are providing emergency communications when mobile masts and internet connections are disrupted and measuring air quality using low power networks.

Safer motorbike taxis in Rwanda and the DRC
How do you ensure that the motorbike taxi you are hailing in Kigali or Kinshasa will get you home safely? Using an app that has data on the driver is one big step to having a safer journey. Gareth Mitchell finds out about Cango who collect data about their drivers to rate how safely they ride.

Digitising Natural History
The famous Natural History Museum in London has only a fraction of its collection on show. To ensure all their specimens are correctly catalogued, the museum is now digitising their collections. Harry Lampert has been finding out how technologies like machine learning are helping to get more and more specimens online.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

(Photo: Fires Near Me app. Credit: New South Wales Rural Fire Service)

Jan 14 2020

43mins

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Rank #18: Covid-19 makes tech events go virtual

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Major events around the world are being cancelled as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the globe. Despite significant falls in new cases in China and South Korea many tech conferences and meetings are being moved to virtual space instead. We hear from the International Communication Association who have cancelled their annual conference in the physical world and are now moving it online.

Regulating the internet
As Covid-19 spreads so does misinformation about the virus online. Dr.Jennifer Cobbe from Cambridge University joins us in studio to discuss how to combat this.

Fashion and AI
Clothes online and on the high street are increasingly being ‘designed’ by AI, according to Alentina Vardanyan from the Judge Business School in Cambridge. She is speaking at the Cambridge Science Festival about how machines could be taking the creativity out of the latest fashion trends.

Banana disease app
A new app is helping banana plantation owners and workers treat and manage diseases. Now farmers in Africa and South America are using an app to diagnose disease, scientists are using this data to monitor and map the spread of the infection.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

(Image credit:Getty Images)

Mar 10 2020

43mins

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Rank #19: Internet shutdowns cost $8bn in 2019

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The cost of the major internet shutdowns in 2019 has been estimated as $8bn according to a report by the Top10VPN website, with WhatsApp being the platform that is blocked most often.

Twitter bots and trolls on bush fires
Could the latest orchestrated social media disinformation campaign be unfolding in Australia. Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have been analysing thousands of tweets and found some concerning activity. Could paid for trolls be behind tweets suggesting that arsonists are responsible for this year’s bush fires?

Indigenous language keyboards
The United Nations has just declared an International Decade of Indigenous Languages. It is to begin in 2022, so we have been finding out about getting indigenous languages onto a device – and it isn’t always as hard as you think.

Worm robots
Robotic worms might be soon being used to sniff out people as part of search and rescue operations. Our reporter Jason Hosken has been to the lab where they’re developing chemical sensors that could help trace people who have perhaps been trapped under rubble following a natural disaster. The robotic worm could end up assisting, or reducing the need for, specially trained sniffer dogs.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

(Photo: Internet shut down in India. Credit: AFP)

Jan 21 2020

45mins

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Rank #20: Drones dealing with locust swarms

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Trials are taking place to manage the massive locust swarms in the Horn of Africa and the Indian subcontinent with drones. Using them to collect real time data allows scientists to predict where the insects might fly to next.

Irish data centre power problem
Amazon has just announced plans to build another data centre in Ireland. It’s just one of about 60 data centres that are putting a huge demand on electricity. According to a report by the Irish Academy of Engineering 30% more electricity will be needed by 2030 to keep these data centres running. But where will it come from if Ireland is to meet its carbon emission targets?

More data leaks in India
A new data privacy bill has been passed in India, but with hundreds of millions of individuals having their data leaked last year alone, will this new bill ensure data privacy? BBC data journalist Shadab Nazmi has exposed a number of information security blunders in India and explains what has been happening.

Acoustic camera
Imagine that you could only hear specific sounds in certain parts of a room. So an intensive care nurse would only hear the beeps from the medical bay of their patient? This might be possible as scientists at the University of Sussex in England are splitting sounds, focusing them into beams and even bending them. Our reporter Hannah Fisher has been there to explore.

(Photo: Large swarms of desert locusts threatens Kenya"s food security. Credit: Dai Kurokawa/EPA)

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Feb 04 2020

43mins

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Exploring digital death

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This week Digital Planet explores digital death and how the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to update our death rituals and move most of our grieving online. We hear from a listener whose mother passed away with her children by her side via Facetime and how they then moved their traditional American-Irish funeral practices online. In India people of all religions are facing huge disruptions to their traditional burials and are taking tech into their own hands to share their experiences. In some developed countries funeral businesses are using cutting edge tech including sophisticated recording set ups in places of worship to bring together mourners from across the world. People are moving more and more online not only with virtual memorials, RFID tags on gravestones and also ceremonies in gaming environments including Animal Crossing. And we find out more about the Reimagine Festival that’s about to start. The now virtual event explores death during COVID-19 and we see how people are determining their digital legacies after they die.

The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with studio commentary from Ghislaine Boddington.
(Image: Mourners live stream a funeral to family back in Nepal and to those waiting just outside. Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds vis Getty Images)
Studio Manager: Jackie Margerum
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Jun 30 2020

47mins

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Nigerian internet land rights costs fall

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A major problem in laying internet cables in Nigeria is the phenomenal cost of right of way charges – these are local state imposed fees to broadband providers. Ekiti, one of Nigeria’s smallest states, has cut its right of way charges by 96%. It will now cost $374 to lay a kilometre of broadband cable down from $11,600. Tech reporter Yomi Kazeem joins us from Lagos and explains that Ekiti aims to have full broadband access by 2021.

Superethics instead of superintelligence
Artificial intelligence research is striving towards creating machines that could surpass the human mind, but shouldn’t we focus on technologies that make us wiser instead of smarter? This is the central question in philosopher Pim Haselager’s most recent paper. He explains how we might use technology as moral crutches for ethical behaviour.

Solar Batteries storage
Renewable technology accounted for a quarter of energy production globally in 2018. It’s expected to rise to 45% by 2040. At the end of last year, the Pavagada solar park, in Karnataka, India, became fully operational. Spanning 53 square kilometres, and with a capacity of over 2000 megawatts, this is the largest solar farm in the world. But basic limitations still exist - what can be done to supply electricity when there isn’t sufficient sunlight? Our reporter, Jason Hosken, has been finding out about some energy storage solutions.
(Image: Nigeria network map. Credit: Getty Images)
The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson.
Studio Manager: Tim Heffer
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Jun 23 2020

50mins

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Is this the end of facial recognition tech?

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Facial recognition – what’s the future for the tech with the big names pulling out?
Most of the big tech companies have now declared they will not sell facial recognition tech to police, but will this mean that police forces will stop using this tech? There are many smaller companies that have so far not declared their intentions and others are clearly breaking the few regulations in place by using people’s images without consent. It’s widely known that facial recognition technology is racially and sexually biased, and there is little, if any, evidence that this tech does help to reduce crime levels. Dr.Stephanie Hare discusses what might now happen with this tech.

Online gambling surge during COVID-19
Lockdowns are making many players and gamblers move to online gambling platforms, the big issue here is that they do not come under strict regulations like their real world counterparts. Silvia Lazzaris and Katie Kropshofer report on this growing problem. Can you protect a rising number of online gamblers, many of whom suffer from addiction and are bunkered in their homes, from targeted advertising and fraud? And how can regulation catch up with this sudden shift to the online world?

Will gaze tech replace touch tech in times of the pandemic?
As computer processing speeds continue to increase, so does the versatility and accuracy of gaze tech – using your eyes instead of a computer mouse or touchpad. Dr. David Souto, from the University of Leicester, explains that as our eye muscles do not tire this technology has untapped benefits. His work is part of the British Academy Virtual Summer Showcase which goes live online this week.
The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington.

(Image: Human face recognition scanning system illustration. Credit: Getty Images)
Studio Manager: John Boland
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Jun 16 2020

47mins

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Algorithm activism – a new type of protest

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Sophia Smith-Galer reports on algorithm activism – ways of boosting protests online. With many people forced to protest digitally because of the pandemic, digital protesting, especially by young people, is the most accessible form of demonstrating support and prompting change. Sophia looks at new ways this is being done during the Black Lives Matter protests around the world.

The biggest robotics conference ever…
…is now virtual, just like so many other events. But this has led to more people attending than ever before and from many more lower income countries too. We hear from one team in California who are using drones to take the bus when delivering packages.

Fake news during Covid-19
Since the pandemic started, many of us have found ourselves interacting less with the outside world and spending more time online. A survey by British and Dutch researchers is now looking into whether this move online has caused us to be more susceptible to fake news and misinformation. What makes one person more likely to believe a conspiracy theory than another? Professor Bas Groes tells Gareth how they are trying to find out.

The presenter is Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary by Bill Thompson.

(Image: Social media apps on a mobile phone. Credit: Getty Images)
Studio Manager: Matilda Macari

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Jun 09 2020

48mins

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Digital exclusion in Brazil

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

Studio Manager: John Boland

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Jun 02 2020

45mins

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Hacking internet-enabled cars

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Hacking internet-enabled cars
About 40% of cars in the US are connected to the internet. While this enables many useful functions, it also makes them vulnerable to hacks. As all the electronics systems within the car are connected, hackers could take full control of the vehicle. Skanda Vivek tells Gareth how this is possible, and what would happen if a large number of cars were hacked at the same time.

Covid-19 treatment trials in AI
It is possible to do drug trials in vitro and in vivo – but what about simulating them? The Cambridge-based company AI VIVO uses machine learning and AI to model diseased cells and their potential treatments. For Covid-19, they screened 90,000 different compounds to find out which drugs could be effective against the virus. Could this be a new way to discover drug treatments? Gareth speaks to David Cleevely to find out how it works.
Mobile phone rain forecast for farmers
Farmers with small holdings in developing countries often do not benefit from new technologies, but a tech project in Pakistan has managed to help drastically reduce their water consumption. Farmers receive text messages about when it is going to rain and whether they should irrigate their crops, generating an average of 40% in water savings. Roland Pease has been finding out more.
The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson.

(Image: Traffic jam on multilane road. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant
Producer: Alex Mansfield

May 26 2020

42mins

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Testing EdTech

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Across the globe, learning has been transformed over the last few months, often with the help of specialised tech. More and more educational technology, or EdTech for short, is entering the market. But how do governments, schools, and teachers know which tools and platforms to use? And how do countries with limited resources choose the best tech for their needs? Gareth is joined by Joysy John from NESTA and Susan Nicolai, from the Edtech Hub, to find out.

Bot or not?
With so many of us socialising and working online it becomes more important than ever to know whether we are talking to a real person or a computer-generated bot. A study from Carnegie Mellon University showed that 45.5% of users tweeting about coronavirus have bot characteristics. A new Mozilla-funded project called “Bot or Not” invites visitors to take part in a modern-day Turing test. One of the creators, Agnes Cameron, tells us about the project, bots online, and how to spot them.

Lockdown views
As many people are forced to stay at home we look at how some are using tech to keep looking out on the world. Many are flocking to online webcams to observe serene nature scenes or unusually empty streets in the tourist hot spots of the world. Jacqui Kenny has long used Google Street View to visit foreign places due to her fear of open spaces. She talks about her new photobook and how machine learning may help her find new images to capture.
The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with studio commentary by Ghislaine Boddington.
(Image: Getty Images)
Studio Manager: Donald McDonald
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

May 19 2020

43mins

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Spain’s many COVID-19 apps

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In Spain, there are a total of nine COVID-19 tracing apps, but is this too many? Which type is preferable and does there need to be a more coordinated technology across Europe to track COVID-19? Digital Planet reporter Jennifer O’Mahony ask these questions and more on the programme.

Ovarian cancer and AI
In the final of our reports from the Cambridge Science Festival, Gareth and Bill meet Dr. Mireia Crispin Ortuzar. She researches AI that analyses radiographic images to help choose and track treatment for ovarian cancer. In the long-term, this type of technology could lead to more personalised medicine in response to cancer and, perhaps, in other fields of medicine as well.

Robotic Ventilators
At MIT, a team of scientists and engineers have developed a low-cost, open-source robotic hand that can operate manual ventilators. It could help fill the shortage of mechanical ventilators for Covid-19 patients across the globe, particularly in developing countries. Professor Daniela Rus tells Gareth how this new tech works.
The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson.

Studio Manager: Jackie Margerum

(Image: Covid-19 tracing. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

May 12 2020

40mins

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Chinese mobile data predicts Covid-19 Spread

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Using anonymous mobile data, researchers tracked the movement of people from Wuhan to other regions of China and showed that it was possible to predict the spread of the virus throughout the country. Professor Nicholas Christakis, a co-author of the study, shares how it was done and what other countries could learn from it.

Malawi Solar-Powered Radios
Malawi could be highly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In particular rural areas without access to electricity are in need of help. Brave Mhonie, the general manager for the charity Solar Aid in Malawi, tells Gareth about the plan to bring solar powered lights to remote clinics as well as radios to rural communities to spread information about COVID-19.

Robot Zebra Fish
In a laboratory in New York, scientists study zebra fish by having them interact with their robot counterparts. Reporter Anand Jagatia went to Tandon School of Engineering to find out how this is done and how robo-fish might be helpful in the future.

(Photo: Chinese New Year celebrations. Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The presenter is Gareth Mitchell with studio commentary from Ghislaine Boddington.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

May 05 2020

44mins

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Privacy concerns over contact tracing apps

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Contact tracing is an essential part of controlling the Coronavirus pandemic but how should this data be collected and shared? In previous pandemics the tech wasn’t advanced enough to be used widely, but now country by country new contact tracing apps are appearing. But what about our privacy, should our personal health information be so easily available and potentially be unsecure? Some of the tech giants have even developed new protocols to anonymise our data – but not all governments think this will work? Journalist Timandra Harkness tells us what types of apps are being used where and about the tech behind them.

Making computers intuitive
Is it possible to make computers intuitive like us? That’s a question that Professor Mateja Jamnik from Cambridge University is trying to answer by building computational models that capture human informal reasoning – essentially trying to humanise computer thinking. Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson visited Professor Jamnik in Cambridge before the lockdown.

Tech to tackle locust storms update
Gareth speaks to Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman to find out if any of the tech that was being deployed to try and control the locust storms in the Horn of Arica and the Indian Subcontinent is working.

The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson.

The Studio Manager is Duncan Hannant.
(Image: Covid-19 app on smartphone software in a crowd of people with Bluetooth. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Apr 28 2020

44mins

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Could fitness trackers track COVID-19?

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Could your smart fitness device detect if you were coming down with respiratory symptoms? A project collecting data from smart wearable devices to see if they can plot outbreaks of disease symptoms by reporting data in real time and giving it a geographical tag has been launched. This would allow local authorities to mount responses quickly before any virus spreads further. The study is called DETECT and one of those involved is Dr. Jennifer Radin an epidemiologist at Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego California and she joins us on the programme.

COVID-19 Cybercrime
Why are we more susceptible to cybercrime during lockdown? A new report just published by The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime entitled “Cybercrime – Threats during the COVID-19 pandemic” is trying to answer that question. From attacks on hospitals, to a massive rise in the registration of websites with coronavirus, pandemic and COVID-19 in their addresses, the report looks at how our behaviour, our tech and the criminals, have changed in the last few months making cybercrime an even greater threat than before.

How safe are sex robots?
Sex robots are increasing in popularity. But as more people around the world bring these increasingly sophisticated androids into their homes, what new risks do they bring with them? As countries across the globe enforce strict lockdowns, many of us have felt the power of technology to counter loneliness and isolation, but how close should we let our tech get? And when technology is so taboo, do important discussions about safety ever see the light of day? Luckily, roboticists and regulators are beginning to grapple with some of these issues. Geoff Marsh has been finding out more…
(Image: Smartwatch. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Apr 21 2020

52mins

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Supercomputers seeking solutions for Covid-19

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Supercomputing power for Covid-19 solutions
The world’s most powerful supercomputers are being used for urgent investigations into the Sars-Cov-2 virus. Professor Peter Coveney from the UCL Centre for Computational Science is part of this consortium of hundreds of scientists across the globe, and tells Gareth how this phenomenal amount of computer power is already trying to identify potential treatments and vaccine candidates for Covid-19.

Hot and Cold Cognition
Gareth and Bill meet Professor Barbara Sahakian at Cambridge University to discuss her work on hot and cold cognition. Cold cognition is the mechanics of AI. Hot cognition is what humans do so well – being able to empathise. So if we are to take AI to the next stage eg. interactive care robots, it is the hot cognition that needs to be developed – the social and emotional side of AI.
Digital Radio Mondiale
DRM is the sister standard to DAB. DAB has taken off in the UK and other developed countries, but it is DRM that is becoming more popular in the developing world – India, Pakistan, China are all using it. Recently Brazil added their support for DRM. The key with DRM is that it digitises everything so we don’t need a new infrastructure for it and it can even act as a backup in disasters when other forms of communication fail.

Presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Bill Thompson.
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

(Image: Supercomputer. Credit: Getty Images)

Apr 14 2020

44mins

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Internet and journalist reporting freedom curtailed

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Bolsonaro’s tweets deleted
Our South America reporter Angelica Mari tells us about the daily pot banging protests against the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, but it’s now not only the people trying to silence him. Social Media platforms have removed some of his posts as they have been, according to them, spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.

Internet and journalistic freedoms restricted
The Index on Censorship, the global freedom of expression organisation has been charting restrictions on the internet and on journalists, via an interactive map online. Rachael Jolley is editor-in-chief at Index and joins us on the programme.

Ubongo – remote learning the African way
As many schools around the world close their doors, more and more learning is shifting from the classroom to the home. 17 million households in twelve countries across sub-Saharan Africa are now benefitting from Ubongo – the TV, radio, online and mobile learning platform. Iman Lipumba of Ubongo explains how it works.

Culture in Quarantine; sacred music at Easter
Twenty musicians in the famous Tenebrae vocal ensemble have recorded an Easter recital for television, despite socially isolating all over the world. Quite a challenge for the singers, their conductor Nigel Short and the production company Livewire Pictures. Jan Younghusband BBC Music Head of Music TV Commissioning explains how it all happened.
(Image: Index on Censorship. Credit: IndexOnCensorship.org/Google Maps )

The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Ghislaine Boddington.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Apr 07 2020

42mins

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Covid-19 cyber attacks rise

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Cyber criminals are exploiting the pandemic to send fraudulent emails and deploy all kinds of tools to steal our money, our contacts or our identities. Armen Najarian, the chief identity officer at email security firm Agari, updates us on the latest coronavirus driven cyber-attacks including scammers pretending they are emailing from the WHO or CDC.

Can the internet cope with the massive increase in demand?
Jane Coffin, SVP, Internet Growth from the Internet Society is an expert on internet access across the world. We ask how is the network holding up with so many more people now working remotely and what is its resilience for the future?

3D Printing cochlear implants
Gareth and Bill visit Dr Yan Yan Shery Huang at the biointerface group at the University of Cambridge. During the interview in her lab her team prints a 3D cochlear implant. It’s part of a growing field using 3D printing to improve medical care and aims to ultimately personalise cochlear implants allowing the patient to hear much more naturally than current implants allow.

(Image: Malware Detected Warning Screen. Credit: Getty images)

Presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert comment from Bill Thompson.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Mar 31 2020

40mins

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A digital tracker that monitors new surveillance

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Tracking our digital rights
From the moment governments around the world realised the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, many have implemented digital tracking, physical surveillance and censorship measures in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus. We hear about a digital tracker which will monitor new surveillance and if it is having an effect
Working from home when your work is in Space
Most people in countries experiencing a Coronavirus lockdown are working remotely, but what happens when your work is based in Space? The European Space Agency has sent most of it's staff home, we hear from Professor Mark McCaughrean, Senior Science Advisor at ESA, about how this is going.

SETI has gone home
SETI@home is a scientific experiment, based at UC Berkeley, that uses internet connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You could take part by running a free programme that downloads and analyses radio telescope data. But no more, the experiment is ending on March 31st. US Science reporter Molly Bentley tells the story of searching for ET from home.
(Image: Digital tracking. Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Mar 24 2020

35mins

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Coronovirus tech handbook online

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In these unprecedented times of a global pandemic many people are working or studying from home, doctors are facing new challenges, so medical equipment is in short supply – how do deal with this? Perhaps check the coronavirus tech as a shared open source online document where anyone can post their experiences or advice.

Open source tech for COVID-19
A 3d printed ventilator that could be used for COVID-19 patients could be ready by the end of the week. An open source project has led to a collaboration of IT professionals and engineers to work on the project.

Developing responsible AI
Cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell joins us on the programme to talk about developing AI safely and responsibly. She’s cofounded an innovation institute - the 3Ai Institute at the Australian National University and is looking for new students from around the world to apply.
(Image: Coronavirus tech handbook. Credit: Newspeak House)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Mar 17 2020

36mins

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Covid-19 makes tech events go virtual

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Major events around the world are being cancelled as the COVID-19 virus spreads across the globe. Despite significant falls in new cases in China and South Korea many tech conferences and meetings are being moved to virtual space instead. We hear from the International Communication Association who have cancelled their annual conference in the physical world and are now moving it online.

Regulating the internet
As Covid-19 spreads so does misinformation about the virus online. Dr.Jennifer Cobbe from Cambridge University joins us in studio to discuss how to combat this.

Fashion and AI
Clothes online and on the high street are increasingly being ‘designed’ by AI, according to Alentina Vardanyan from the Judge Business School in Cambridge. She is speaking at the Cambridge Science Festival about how machines could be taking the creativity out of the latest fashion trends.

Banana disease app
A new app is helping banana plantation owners and workers treat and manage diseases. Now farmers in Africa and South America are using an app to diagnose disease, scientists are using this data to monitor and map the spread of the infection.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

(Image credit:Getty Images)

Mar 10 2020

43mins

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Will digital sobriety help reduce energy use?

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ITU emissions standard
The UN ICT agency, the ITU, wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half in the next decade. It’s the only way that the ICT industry is to stay in line with the Paris Agreement and its target of limiting global warming to one and a half degrees. The new technical standard announced by the ITU says renewable energy and digital sobriety are the best way of achieving these cuts.

Domestic violence AI
AI could help police forces determine who might be the most at risk of domestic abuse. A new study from the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE in London, suggests that by using already available data about individuals AI could help police decide which emergency calls they need to prioritise.

Circulo safety app
A safety app that is used only in dangerous situations is helping female journalists stay safe in Mexico. The Circulo app allows users to check in and tell up to six contacts at a time that you’re safe OR raise the alarm if you’re in danger.
(Photo: Wind turbines. Credit: Getty Images)

Mar 03 2020

35mins

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Ethiopia’s new law banning online hate speech

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Ethiopia’s online hate speech law
Disseminating hate speech online in Ethiopia could now land you with a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of $3000US, but the new law has proved controversial. Julie Owonp, Excutive Director of Internet without borders explains their concerns.

Kivuwatt
Rwanda has an ambitious plan to go from half of the population having electricity at the moment to everyone within the next four years. Digital Planet has been given access to one project that aims to be a key part of that expansion. In the depths of Lake Kivu – one of East Africa’s great lakes – there’s methane and they’re burning the methane to generate electricity. Kivu is one of Africa’s so-called ‘killer lakes’, because the gases it harbours could be deadly for the thousands who live on shore. Burning some of the gas could help make it safer. Gareth Mitchell reports from the floating barge that is supplying 30% of the country’s electricity.

Carnival 4.0
It’s Carnival week in Rio and this year for the first time celebrations have gone fully hi-tech with augmented reality floats, QR Codes and RFID tags tracking costumes and smart bands monitoring the health of performers. But there have also been warnings about facial recognition. Brazil-based journalist Angelica Mari has been following proceedings. And joins us on the programme.
(Image: Vector illustration of a set of emoticons. Credit: Getty Images)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Feb 25 2020

38mins

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Feminist chatbots

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Why the tone of chatbots matters and how a feminist perspective can help use them to address online problems such as bullying and trolling.

We look at some of the methods used to try and scam you, particularly the increasingly sophisticated emails sent to businesses to try and get them to part with their money.

We have a drive in a LIDAR enabled electric car, a new development in Autonomous vehicles

And the perils of misleading data, why clear and accurate data is so important to a huge variety of global issues such as adequate clean water or food supplies.
(Image: Chatbot female robot holding a speech bubble symbol. Credit: Getty Creative Stock)
Producer: Julian Siddle

Feb 18 2020

46mins

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iTunes Ratings

96 Ratings
Average Ratings
76
12
2
3
3

Technology at its best

By World Traveler Expert - Mar 02 2016
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Great. Engaging and educational.

Too much spin and not enough tech news

By KevinICdesigner - Aug 05 2014
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Way too chatty. More technology news please and less opining on the social implications in your opinion. Focus better please!