Brilliant solutions to the world’s problems. We meet people with ideas to make the world a better place and investigate whether they work.
How to put the internet in a box
What happens when you take a little box containing some of the vast knowledge amassed on the internet, to communities that live offline?
From a peaceful valley in the remote Himalayas to a bustling Rohingya refugee camp, people are carrying gigabytes of data - from school curricula to the whole of Wikipedia - into places where access to the internet is impossible.
Inspired by one of our listeners, we delve into the world of the “sneakernet” - a network of people who carry information to places where the signal doesn’t reach.
Produced and presented by Tom Colls
Photo Credit: Getty
How jellyfish can help us
Jellyfish blooms can cause havoc, scaring away tourists, clogging up fishing nets, and even getting stuck in power station cooling pipes.
But scientists are finding ways to use the creatures to help us solve some big problems. They think jellyfish mucus could filter microplastics from our water systems, and their collagen could help us develop new medicines. And some want to see jellyfish on our plates.
Produced and presented by Ruth Evans
Picture credit: Getty Images
Training police to patrol each other
A growing number of police departments in the US are introducing a new concept in their training - teaching officers on the beat how to step in when they see a colleague doing something they don't think is right.
After the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, a programme pioneered by police in New Orleans is being developed for other forces.
Presented and produced by Daniel Gordon.
Picture credit: Getty Images
Getting rid of AI bias
It’s not just search engines that are powered by artificial intelligence. From the courts to the jobs market, AI is influencing decisions that have a big impact on people’s lives.
But researchers now believe that not all people are treated equally by some algorithms. They’ve found potential bias - influenced by race, class and gender - can have an impact on the decisions that computers make.
Some programmers, computer scientists and entrepreneurs hope to fight this bias, using the technology that created it in the first place.
Produced and presented by Craig Langran
Image: Getty Images
How to prevent drowning
We hear how AI lifeguards are helping to spot danger on Israel’s beaches, while on Lake Victoria special forecasts for fishermen are saving hundreds of lives. Meanwhile in Bangladesh, community creches and bamboo swimming stages are reducing deaths among children – the group at highest risk of drowning. It’s estimated that 320,000 people around the world die in the water each year.
Produced and presented by Claire Bates
Photo: Getty Images
Smartphones saving the rainforest
Old smartphones powered by solar panels are being used to catch illegal loggers in rainforests across the world.
Each year, more than 150 million mobiles are discarded in the US alone - so we’re looking at clever ways to reuse them. But should we really rethink our consumer habits and keep our phones for longer?
Produced and presented by Julie Ball.
Photo: Rainforest Connection