122 episodes

Aleks Krotoski explores the digital world

The Digital Human BBC

    • Technology
    • 4.6 • 129 Ratings

Aleks Krotoski explores the digital world

    Trust

    Trust

    If there’s one thing that makes the world go ‘round, it’s trust - trust in institutions, trust in science, trust in the economy, trust in each other. Trust is what protects our vulnerability; it’s behind the unspoken social contracts that keep us safe. Without trust, we’re done.

    And since the beginning of our love-hate relationship with the Web, we’ve been wondering: is computer-mediated communication eroding trust? Or, does it make trust stronger? Or, are we more likely to misplace it more now that we can’t see, touch and smell a person’s true intentions?

    Producer: Kate Bissell

    • 28 min
    Solidarity

    Solidarity

    The digital world has given us the tools to support one another through the coming financial crisis in the wake of the pandemic. Aleks Krotoski asks if crowd funding is a magic bullet for giving to those whose livelihoods have suffered?

    And what makes us give in the first place if it’s, as many are reporting, a new form of economic survivor guilt do we risk that being manipulated?

    Producer: Peter McManus

    • 29 min
    Normal

    Normal

    Aleks Krotoski asks if moving our lives online has given us a false sense of normality during these extraordinary times.

    For those of us lucky enough to be able to work, shop and socialise there our connections to the digital world have been a lifeline, keeping us in touch with what normality is or at least was. If lockdown had happened 15 years ago it might have been a very different story.

    Aleks explores the experiences of people who used technology to try and feel normal to see where it works and where it doesn't as well as investigating our whole concept of 'normal' and why we cling to it so desperately.

    Producer: Peter McManus
    Research: Elizabeth Ann Duffy and Anna Miles

    • 28 min
    5 minutes

    5 minutes

    Aleks Krotoski explores how the mechanics of the digital environment allow misinformation to swamp digital platforms.

    Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, they are all swamped with cheery, colourful ‘life hack’ and crafting videos, but if you watch for more than a few minutes you’ll see that actually trying to follow along would prove difficult, if not impossible. Much of the content isn’t even possible to do. And yet, it’s extraordinarily popular, and profitable content.

    Clickbait isn’t new, but this is potentially dangerous eye candy, and when you look beneath the surface, it’s possible to see that the same infrastructure and techniques have made life hacks go viral, can, in the wrong hands, be exploited for deliberately malicious ends.

    It only takes a few minutes to set up a system that can swamp the internet. Be it with unintentionally dangerous DIY suggestions aimed at children, or deliberate political machinations targeted at adults.

    • 28 min
    Chrysalis

    Chrysalis

    We are stuck in a moment. Inside our homes, the days can feel like they’re stretching ahead.

    Aleks Krotoski explores how technologies can lift us out of the mundane and help us regain a sense of control.

    Jan Scheuermann is a quadriplegic. She's unable to use her arms and legs and controls her wheelchair with her chin. In 2011 she joined a research trial that would change the way she saw herself and her life.

    We hear from Tom Mast, a college student whose new independent life was put on hold by a pandemic; Tiu de Haan, an ideas doula who has worked with the UN, who explains how building a den or cocoon can trigger daydreaming and help birth new ideas; and psychologist Eli Somer, who is an expert on daydreaming.

    Produced by Caitlin Smith and Kate Bissell
    Sound Design by Eloise Whitmore

    • 28 min
    Mourn

    Mourn

    Aleks explores whether the moment we're in is the internet’s greatest stress test.

    Can a network that was built to connect human beings through facts and figures support someone during their greatest hour of need?

    Philip Blackledge is a priest, who's been sitting with Covid-19 patients. He says the pain and separation he has witnessed has been heartbreaking but technology has offered a bridge between loved ones. Philip acknowledges, the grace the dying have shown in using technology to make peace with those they’re leaving behind, because of restrictions and separation, has been very moving. But he explains why we are asking technology to do a lot.

    Zainab Gulamali highlights how for the Muslim community mourning has been taken online, but there is much to navigate. Zainab tells how she accidentally ended up virtually attending a funeral of someone she didn’t know on instagram live. And Zainab describes how an online memorial for her Grandmother’s death allowed her for the first time to witness the emotion of older members of her family. She says that attending funerals online is a much more real and raw experience.

    Jay McGregor’s father, Jason Weatherman, a well known and respected DJ within the UK’s black community died during the pandemic and after an outpouring of grief from around the world, his family and friends decided to host the first ever customary Nine Nights celebration online. 25,000 people joined the live stream and Jay says this event gave her more comfort than anything following her father’s passing.

    This is not what the pioneers of the internet imagined - they thought they would build a global community to share information but what they did - and we didn’t believe it until now - was to create a technology that is a bridge for love.

    Produced by Kate Bissell

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
129 Ratings

129 Ratings

# alone at xmas ,

Between

Our space is created by so much prior history and how we have processed these life events. But we are increasingly lone wolf well I speak for myself But your right the invisible space is fluid in virtual landscape It as though it fills the voids created by the human space battle. As humans we are in need of connection that stretches beyond the self. The between is collection of humanity our feeling self only some will know and touch the space It is the only thing we have that we can contain and control like food the between is fed or starved or over indulged , some more able than others to cope the between. But in virtual world your free until the other becomes warped and attacks and the between feels unsafe and you recoil - in the silence

clittlew ,

Love this podcast

I’m not that interested in tech but I love this podcast. It creates a great soundscape which makes it lovely to listen to. On top of that there is really interesting and thought provoking content. You can’t really go wrong with this podcast!

Grepit ,

Extremely thought provoking

Great podcast that will get you thinking.
If you want to know why you clean your iPhone or iPad screen regularly and not your laptop, check out the episode called "value".

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