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Technology

Digital Planet

Updated 3 days ago

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

91 Ratings
Average Ratings
72
11
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

91 Ratings
Average Ratings
72
11
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 Feb 18, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 3 days ago

Rank #1: 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 #2: New Phone in China? Scan your face…

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Mobile phone users in China will have to submit to 3D face scans to get a sim card. Technology ethicist Dr Stephanie Hare and New York Times Asia correspondent, Paul Mozur, discuss how this will affect citizens’ privacy, and whether China is alone in making this decision.

Petr Plecháč from the Institute of Czech Literature uses a piece of software that can identify people by the pattern of their written language. Gareth speaks with him about Shakespeare’s Henry VIII and the likelihood of John Fletcher co-authoring this key text.

Reporter William Park takes a go at being a virtual burglar. He investigates a game that is allowing researchers to understand what thieves do during a break-in, with the aim of understanding their moves and decision making.

A technique that allows people to check how computer neural networks make decisions about image classification may help to reduce mistakes by AI in medical imaging. Dr Cynthia Rudin explains why bird identification was the perfect model to test the computers’ abilities – and check them.
(Image: Facial recognition with smartphone. Credit: Getty Images)

Presenters: Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson
Producer: Rory Galloway

Dec 10 2019

42mins

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Rank #3: BBC News on the ‘dark web’

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In an attempt to thwart censorship, BBC News is now available through the privacy-focused browser Tor also known as the gateway to the ‘dark web’.

Facebook’s ambitions to launch cryptocurrency
Last week, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, addressed critical questions about the company’s ambition to launch their own cryptocurrency ‘Libra’. Dr Catherine Mulligan of Imperial College London’s Centre for Cryptocurrency Research explains why some companies are leaving the Libra association.

UNICEF start crypto-currency fund
UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, will now be able to receive donations in crypto-currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Christopher Fabian, co-founder of UNICEF’s innovation unit, explains how this will allow the organisation to buy data directly from suppliers for schools that are currently offline.

New spy technology uses wi-fi signals
Wi-fi signals are distorted as they bounce off objects. Dr Yasamin Mostofi from the University of California has created a way to use these distortions to ‘see’ and possibly identify a person moving behind a wall.
(Image credit: BBC)

Producer: Louisa Field

Oct 29 2019

40mins

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Rank #4: 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 #5: 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 #6: Health of the Internet report

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Health of the Internet
Solana Larsen, leader of the team at Mozilla that compiled the recent Health of the Internet report talks about the highlights, including openness, privacy and security, digital inclusion, web literacy and centralisation.

Multi-purpose drones
A drone in Malawi in one flight dropped off medical supplies by parachute, was used by game rangers to monitor animal poaching and created a high resolution 3D mapping of an area. Daniel Ronen, co-founder of UAVAid explains how they have developed their multi-purpose drones.

Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik embraced technology and digital developments in his art. Born in South Korea in 1932 his work has always been collaborative with musicians, poets and other artists using TV and sound in his often playful art. The Tate Modern gallery in London has brought together 50 years of his most innovative and influential art. Reporter Hannah Fisher, and regular studio commentator, Ghislaine Boddington, went along to explore.
Image credit: Mozilla, Internet Health Report 2019

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Oct 22 2019

39mins

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Rank #7: Brain implant regulation calls

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iHuman: Blurring lines between mind and machine
One of the UK’s top scientific institutions is calling for investigations into brain implants as brain-reading technology advances. Tech entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have outlined their visions of brain tech, but in reality hundreds of people with neurological conditions are already benefitting from implants positioned in their brains. But how can this be regulated and developed? The UK’s Royal Society has just published their report “iHuman: Blurring lines between mind and machine”. Professor Tim Denison of the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering is one of the authors and joins us in the studio.

Biometric legislation – is it keeping up with new developments?
Would you want your child’s school attendance registered using facial recognition software? That was a step too far for Swedish regulators, who recently fined a high school $20, 000 for doing just that. Despite a few token control measures there seems to be very little regulation in this field. The UK Biometrics Commissioner Professor Paul Wiles explains his concerns.

Privatisation of national assets – what happens to your data?
In Brazil, President Bolsonaro is in the midst of a $300bn dollar privatisation drive including selling off the post and tax offices. These organisations hold huge amounts of people’s personal data and as tech reporter Angelica Mari explains it’s not clear what will happen to the personal information of millions of citizens once privatisation happens.

Computer memory power save
According to UK researchers our ever increasing creation and storing of data will consume a fifth of the world’s energy by 2025. Scientists at the University of Lancaster may have come up with a way of reducing energy use in computer memory. Reporter Hannah fisher has been finding out more.

(Picture: Brain implants for Parkinson"s disease. Credit:Science Photo Library)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Sep 10 2019

40mins

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Rank #8: 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 #9: Harnessing tech during conflict

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Harnessing tech during conflict
Twitter and Facebook have removed accounts that originated in mainland China that it says undermines the “legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement”. Evronia Azer knows all about the double-edged sword when it comes to technology in the midst of conflict. On one side there are tools to mobilise protest, on the other are tools of state control and surveillance. She is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business and Law at Coventry University in the UK where her research interests include data privacy and governance. She joins us on the programme

Map Kibera
Ten years ago Digital Planet reported on the Map Kibera project, which was just an idea to provide information to OpenStreetMap about the Nairobi slum. This quickly turned into the Map Kibera Organisation which makes sure that Kibera is connected and is focussed on improving people’s lives in the slum. Digital Planet has been back to Kibera to see how the project has changed.

First ever plant selfie
Hannah Fisher reports on a plant called Pete which could revolutionise field conservation by powering a camera to take selfies as he grows. London Zoo scientists have laid the groundwork for the world’s first plant selfie – a pioneering scientific trial in the Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit which will try out how microbial fuel cells power a plant to take its own picture. This they hope will lead to using plants to power camera traps and sensors in the wild allowing conservationists to monitor habitats remotely.
(Protesters in Hong Kong are seen wearing helmets and gas mask while looking at their phone. Credit Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Aug 20 2019

40mins

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Rank #10: Digital Planet’s 18th Birthday Show

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

Picture: Digital Planet recording, Credit: BBC

Dec 24 2019

29mins

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Rank #11: Digital Planet’s 18th birthday show

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

Sep 03 2019

57mins

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Rank #12: The digital gender divide

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The UN reports a widening digital gender gap
The UN's International Telecommunications Unit has published a report showing that over 4 billion people are now online worldwide. Despite this, the proportion of women using the internet is still much lower than men, especially in the developing world. Susan Teltscher, Head of the Human Capacity Building Division, describes the significance of this growing divide.

Mookh opens up e-commerce opportunities in Kenya
Mookh is a Nairobi-based company that allows users to sell their products online. Founder Eric Thimba describes how the platform has allowed many Kenyan creatives to monetize their products and the boon of mobile money to the African economy. The platform has recently launched in Uganda and Rwanda.

Curiosity photographs dunes on Mars
The Curiosity rover has been exploring Mars since its landing in 2011. Professor Sanjeev Gupta of Imperial College London explains how planners and software engineers work together to conduct experiments remotely, and muses on the potential of sending a real human to the red planet.

Reflecting on humanity and data through dance
Hannah Fisher reports on Overflow at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Presented by the Alexander Whitley Dance Company, the piece merges movement and technology to contemplate the nature of being human in an era of big data.

Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

Photo: Young Somali refugee women look at a smartphone
Credit: YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images

Nov 12 2019

30mins

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Rank #13: 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 #14: Improving crop yields with mobile phones

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Mobile phones are improving lives and yields for millions of farmers around the world. Michael Kremer, a 2019 Economics Nobel Prize winner developed Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) to give farmers in developing countries advice on how to improve their yields. He and Owen Barder, CEO of PAD, tell Digital Planet how it works.

To reduce failures on surveillance or delivery missions, drones need to be monitored effectively. Karen Willcox at the Oden Institute of the University of Texas in Austin explains how her team has found a way to send back real time data using sensors that create a digital twin of the drone, which can show where fatigue and stress may cause damage during the flight.

Racist and sexist biases within algorithms are causing concern, especially considering they are making many decisions in our lives. Noel Sharkey, Professor of Robotics and AI at the University of Sheffield in the UK, and he thinks it’s time to halt this decision making until it can be properly regulated, or it will have major, real-life effects on all of us.
(Photo: Farmer carrying silage and talking on phone. Credit: Getty Images)
Producer: Rory Galloway

Dec 17 2019

46mins

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Rank #15: 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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