Episodes
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
Internet services are returning to normal in Myanmar following a partial shutdown after the military took power over the weekend following their accusations of election fraud. In India though, the internet remains down in New Delhi and some surrounding regions as farmer’s protests continue. Mishi Choudhary, founder of the Software Freedom Law Centre in New Delhi, updates us on the situation. Should Google pay for News content? Following the threat by Google Australia that it could pull out...
Published 02/02/21
Loon Balloon internet deflated. Also Rabies vaccinations in Malawi – how tech is eliminating the disease in dogs and Cybersecurity and AI. Alphabet, Google’s parent company has announced it’s winding down Project Loon. Hundred’s of high altitude balloons carrying miniature mobile phone towers were to drift around the globe providing internet connectivity to very remote regions. Digital Planet has been following the project from its first trials in 2013 and even visited one of their base...
Published 01/26/21
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...
Published 01/19/21
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...
Published 01/12/21
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...
Published 01/05/21
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) ...
Published 12/29/20
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...
Published 12/22/20
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...
Published 12/15/20
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...
Published 12/08/20
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...
Published 12/01/20
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...
Published 11/24/20
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...
Published 11/17/20
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...
Published 11/10/20
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...
Published 11/03/20
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...
Published 10/27/20
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...
Published 10/20/20
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...
Published 10/13/20