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Digital Planet

Technological and digital news from around the world.

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  • 20.10.2020
    20 MB
    42:47
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    Go Viral! online game

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

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  • 13.10.2020
    23 MB
    48:49
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    Predicting US elections results every hour

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

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  • 06.10.2020
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    50:02
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    Can AI predict criminal behaviour?

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

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  • 29.09.2020
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    45:30
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    Mapping Covid-19 to your phone

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

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  • 22.09.2020
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    50:27
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    Keeping the structure of the internet safe

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

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  • 15.09.2020
    21 MB
    44:04
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    AI captain to sail the Atlantic

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    18 MB
    38:52
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    Scammers scamming the scammers

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    21 MB
    43:55
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    Algorithm apocalypse

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    20 MB
    43:37
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    A year without internet in Kashmir

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    22 MB
    46:20
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    Why India can’t work from home

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    20 MB
    42:08
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    Tracking the trolls

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    20 MB
    42:03
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    Covid 19: Mapping changing sentiment in tweets

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    22 MB
    47:40
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    Ethiopia’s continuing online censorship

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    43:03
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    Can we make the web a better space?

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    22 MB
    47:18
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    Exploring digital death

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Nigerian internet land rights costs fall

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Is this the end of facial recognition tech?

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Algorithm activism – a new type of protest

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Digital exclusion in Brazil

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Hacking internet-enabled cars

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Testing EdTech

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Spain’s many COVID-19 apps

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    21 MB
    44:51
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    Chinese mobile data predicts Covid-19 Spread

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

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  • 08.09.2020
    21 MB
    44:00
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    Privacy concerns over contact tracing apps

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Could fitness trackers track COVID-19?

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Supercomputers seeking solutions for Covid-19

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Internet and journalist reporting freedom curtailed

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Covid-19 cyber attacks rise

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    A digital tracker that monitors new surveillance

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Coronovirus tech handbook online

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Covid-19 makes tech events go virtual

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Will digital sobriety help reduce energy use?

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Ethiopia’s new law banning online hate speech

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Feminist chatbots

    Why the tone of chatbots matters and how a feminist perspective can help use them to address online problems such as bullying and trolling.We look at some of the methods used to try and scam you, particularly the increasingly sophisticated emails sent to businesses to try and get them to part with their money.We have a drive in a LIDAR enabled electric car, a new development in Autonomous vehiclesAnd 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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Repairing Voyager 2

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Drones dealing with locust swarms

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Internet partially restored in Kashmir

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Internet shutdowns cost $8bn in 2019

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Tech tracking Australian fires

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    South Africa power cuts

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Why is AI so far from perfect?

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Digital Planet’s 18th Birthday Show

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Improving crop yields with mobile phones

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    New Phone in China? Scan your face…

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Humanitarian drone corridor in Africa

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Google bug bounty hunters

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Iran internet shutdown continues

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    The digital gender divide

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    Facebook Live on crime tech

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

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  • 08.09.2020
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    BBC News on the ‘dark web’

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

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