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Digital Planet

Technological and digital news from around the world.

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  • 19.01.2021
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    43:49
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    Online manipulation on a global scale

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

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  • 12.01.2021
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    Has tech been compromised in the US Capitol?

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

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  • 05.01.2021
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    Blindness in the digital age

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

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  • 29.12.2020
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    The best tech stories of 2020

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

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  • 22.12.2020
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    Solar grid brings power to Yemen

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

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  • 15.12.2020
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    Dispelling COVID-19 vaccine myths online

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

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  • 08.12.2020
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    Is the internet affordable where you live?

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

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  • 01.12.2020
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    Almost two-thirds of the world’s population now online

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

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  • 24.11.2020
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    Increase in stalkerware installations

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

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  • 17.11.2020
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    Video games can be good for you

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

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  • 10.11.2020
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    Voyager 2 contacted after seven months

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

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  • 03.11.2020
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    Who is most susceptible to fake news?

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

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  • 27.10.2020
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    Why do we vote with paper in the age of the smart phone?

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

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  • 20.10.2020
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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
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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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    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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    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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    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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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    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
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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.Guests include Khyati Tripathi, a PhD student at the University of Delhi, who tells how the restrictions in the pandemic have changed funerals in the country, Candi Cann, Associate Professor of Religion at Baylor University, and co-creator of the Virtual Funeral Collective and Dr Stacey Pitsillides, a Senior Research Fellow at Northumbria University who is organising the virtual festival “Reimagine: Life, Loss, & Love”.The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with studio commentary from Ghislaine Boddington.(Image: Mourners live stream a funeral to family back in Nepal and to those waiting just outside. Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds vis Getty Images)Studio Manager: Jackie Margerum Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

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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
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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
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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
    16 MB
    33:33
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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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