Episodes
After a fleet driver was kidnapped whilst driving in Mexico, the technology he had in his car alerted emergency services. Artificial vision and in-cabin video were used to flag the event in real-time. Combining Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things technology sent the driver's location and video to the company's control centre who alerted law enforcement, allowing them to track him down and return him safely the same day. To find out more we spoke to Romil Bahl CEO of KORE Wireless...
Published 07/27/21
As protests continue in Cuba, so do its internet shutdowns. Anti-government protesters are demonstrating against food shortages, power cuts and coronavirus restrictions. In response Cuban authorities have been shutting down internet connections in an attempt to stop protests. Meanwhile Venezuela is becoming known for its frequent online restrictions. David Aragort from Latin American tech rights NGO RedesAyuda updates us on what has been going on. The world’s first 3D printed smart bridge The...
Published 07/20/21
US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order asking the Federal Trade Commission to “limit powerful equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops or do DIY repairs”. This could mean manufacturers can no longer require repairs only be offered by themselves or through authorised retailers. Gay Gordon-Byrne, CEO of The Repair Association in the US, has been speaking about the impact this could have. Are public-funded cultural institutions...
Published 07/13/21
Four of the world’s biggest tech platforms are adopting a new set of commitments to tackle online abuse and improve women’s safety online. This is the first time there has been cross-industry collaboration on ways companies can address the issue. Web Foundation Senior Policy manager Azmina Dhrodia is on the show to explain how, while Azerbaijani journalist Arzu Geybulla tells us about some of the abuse she has received online. Wireless pacemaker that dissolves in the body A wireless...
Published 07/06/21
Why did YouTube take down video testimonies from family members of people imprisoned in China’s internment camps? To ensure the credibility of these videos, people show proof of identity. Now, YouTube says it has concerns that these people may be harassed. Eileen Guo, who reported the story for MIT Tech Review is on the show. Matter connecting our devices With so many smart devices in the home its incredibly frustrating that setting them up and connecting them to your house is so...
Published 06/29/21
Our own bias is becoming engrained in computer code. There is a huge amount of evidence showing that human bias and ignorance is encoded into our digitally driven world. The impact of this is unsurprisingly impacting the most vulnerable communities the hardest – decisions on health care, employment and even police surveillance are now being made very often by machines. But can anything be done to stop this bias from getting any worse and can the current bias be removed? As part the WebSci...
Published 06/22/21
El Salvador has voted to recognise bitcoin as legal tender, and there is a great deal of interest globally in digital currencies that provide an alternative to cash. However mining bitcoin, the intensive computation needed to claim ownership of new Bitcoins, uses vast amounts of electricity – more than many countries produce. Currently most of this energy is supplied from traditional fossil fuel sources rather than renewables. Larisa Yarovaya from Southampton Business school discusses...
Published 06/15/21
‘Non-fungible tokens’ are a kind of digital asset that can be bought and sold. They have captured the imagination of many artists. Art pieces can be given a digital identity as an NFT. However, they have also been used to successfully sell viral videos. Musician Imogen Heap has released a number of works to be auctioned as NFTs Tim Shaw from Endlesss is working with artists who see NFTs as a useful way to market their work. And hyper-reality meets traditional art in the form of opera. A new...
Published 06/08/21
India has brought in stringent new laws that WhatsApp says will force it to break its end-to-end encryption. In a social media chat that’s been forwarded by multiple users, the new rules require the person who originated and shared that message, to be traced. And that’s a big problem for WhatsApp, a service that’s built itself around privacy. Gareth talks to Mishi Choudhary of the Software Freedom Law Centre about the regulations and the potential impact beyond India. After the new zombie...
Published 06/01/21
Speech smart assistants currently do not support any African language, but now Mozilla’s Common Voice project is building a dataset for Kiswahili which is spoken by more than a 100 million people in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. They have just been awarded almost $5m for the project. Remy the community lead at Common Voice Kinyarwanda and Chenai chair special adviser for Africa Innovation at the Mozilla Foundation tells us more about the work. Federated...
Published 05/25/21
More than 100 million people worldwide have interacted with Covid-19 misinformation since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a new study in PLOS One. We speak to Professor David Nemer, from the University of Virginia, to explain the impact of social media misinformation in Brazil – What’s App’s number one market. As he tells Gareth Mitchell, Covid myths and untruths are spread easily with no consequences to those behind the lies. Tracking your face online Dr Stephanie Hare joins...
Published 05/18/21
Pascal Leroy, Director General of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Forum joins us live to discuss their report on a proposed recycling framework for critical raw materials – CEWASTE – and why recycling critical raw materials from circuit boards, neodymium magnets, fluorescent lights and batteries is essential for the long-term sustainability of electronic manufacture. Geek TV Stephen Cass, senior editor of IEEE spectrum, explains how he has repurposed an old CRT TV to display...
Published 05/11/21
There is little association between tech use and mental health problems in teenagers, according to a new study by the Oxford Internet Institute. Lead author Dr Matti Vuorre is on the show to explain how they analysed data from 430,000 UK and US teenagers and found little or no associations between adolescents’ tech use and mental health problems. But he says the data they were using is limited. Ideally, he wants to use the data that big tech companies hold on our tech use. The findings...
Published 05/04/21
The latest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic affecting India has caused heart-breaking shortages of essential medical equipment across the country. As hospitals run out of beds and basic supplies like oxygen, citizens are turning to sites like Twitter and Instagram to source medicines, exchange knowledge and hold the government accountable. Ananya Bhattacharya from Quartz India explains how social media has influenced the response to the pandemic. Illegal Brick Kilns in Bangladesh In...
Published 04/27/21
Mobile phones in emerging markets are infected with malware that carries out financial transactions that the owner of the phone is often unaware of. Dimitris Maniatis, CEO of Upstream, a mobile anti-fraud company is in the show. Tech under the ice sheet The cryoegg, is a small device that monitors the most extreme of environments, streams of ice-cold water flowing under glaciers. It's a rugged device that wirelessly transmits data back to the surface of a glacier from one and a half...
Published 04/20/21
Internet shutdowns continue in Myanmar and now two new reports show the impact these have had. Top10VPN estimates these have cost the country’s economy more than $1bn, while cybersecurity firm Recorded Future Inc. has confirmed how people are still trying to connect with each other using Bluetooth and messaging apps like Bridgefy as well as accessing the dark web. Samuel Woodhams, Digital Rights Lead from Top10VPN, is on the show to tell us what they’ve observed. Vietnam water salinity...
Published 04/13/21
Our smartphones are sharing data every four and a half minutes according to research from Trinity College Dublin. Telemetry, automated recording and transmission of data, from Apple and Android devices back to these company’s servers is going on even if the phone is only used to make calls. Professor Douglas Leith is on the programme and explains that even when a user has logged out of sending telemetry or they are not logged on, data is still being transmitted. R.U.R. versus Q.U.R. The...
Published 04/06/21
The Chinese government’s highly restricted approach to online freedom of expression has intensified during the COVID pandemic – not surprising maybe, but the implication of this on Chinese citizens and countries across Asia is significant. That’s one of the findings of research published by Chatham House. Harriet Moynihan, from the International Law Programme at Chatham House, is one of the authors of the paper and joins us on the show. Cellulose Electronic Thread For electronic textiles...
Published 03/30/21
Court cases can collapse due to unreliable witness statements. These are often taken some time after the crime has happened – but what if it was possible to take a witness statement very quickly using AI chatbots? Dr Julia Shaw is on the programme discussing her latest research into using an AI chatbot in reporting harassment in the workplace. Not only are statements taken more quickly, they are done better by a machine than a person, as people can interrupt, misinterpret, judge or...
Published 03/23/21
It seems that the price of Bitcoin cannot stop increasing, but how sustainable is Bitcoin itself? With such huge energy demands to keep Bitcoin mined, are some countries risking the stability of their electricity supplies to take advantage of the Bitcoin boom? Financial economist and founder of the blog “Digiconomist”, Alex de Vries is on the show to answer these questions. He says, in his paper published in the journal Joule, that the entire Bitcoin blockchain network consumes as much...
Published 03/16/21
We’ve been discussing bias in AI on the programme for more than a year now but what is the actual cost of it? KPMG is publishing a report, commissioned by the fintech company Finastra, which examines the size of global consumer lending markets and the potential impact of algorithmic bias in money lending decisions. Amber Sappington, Head of Data & Analytics at Finastra, discusses the potential problems and why there’s an urgency for the industry to acknowledge the problem and act on...
Published 03/09/21
Will there ever be equality in machine learning technology or will our cultural biases continue to be reflected in algorithms? Dr. Sandra Wachter from the Oxford Internet Institute argues in her latest research that data bias is unavoidable because of the current bias within western culture. How we now try and negate that bias in AI is critical if we are ever to ensure that this technology meets current legislation like EU non-discrimination law. She’s on the programme to discuss how we...
Published 03/02/21
Tech giant Facebook blocked news content across its Australian platform last Thursday on account of a proposed law which would enforce some firms to pay news publishers for use and distribution of their information. Nearly a week later the government has agreed to amend the law and negotiate the value of this content. Tech reporter Angharad Yeo in Australia returns to the show to discuss the new law and how it could be seen as a test case for online regulation across the globe. Can AI be a...
Published 02/23/21
‘With every new view from the surface of Mars comes a reminder of just how fortunate we are to live on Earth.’ Acclaimed science writer and filmmaker Dr Chris Riley uses images from the landing sites on Mars to compare relative locations on Earth. Hear how you might be able to help. Old Tech Our Digital Planet social media community is a-buzz with stories of old technology, and the role you have had in technological history. Several listeners share their experiences with expert opinion from...
Published 02/16/21
Wikipedia introduces its first universal code of conduct in an attempt to combat aggressive behaviour towards marginalised and ethnic communities. Some editors believe this code will hinder the grassroots of the website. Dr. Jessica Wade of Imperial College London discusses her own experiences whilst attempting to promote awareness of women in science. Open Banking launches in Brazil Seven years into a recession, how will open banking in Brazil help to reboot the economy? This month changes...
Published 02/09/21