105 episodes

Technological and digital news from around the world.

Digital Planet BBC

    • Technology
    • 4.6 • 102 Ratings

Technological and digital news from around the world.

    IoT saves driver after kidnapping in Mexico

    IoT saves driver after kidnapping in Mexico

    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 the company behind the technology and Niv Yarimi CEO of KABAT, the fleet company whose driver was kidnapped.

    Protecting the Amazon from deforestation with tech
    Providing indigenous communities in the Amazon with technology, including satellite images, maps, smart phones and GPS, can reduce deforestation. Data delivered to remote communities on USB by couriers navigating the Amazon river enabled communities to monitor for forest loss. Connecting deforestation alerts with indigenous communities means local patrols can guide themselves to areas thought to be undergoing unauthorised deforestation. In turn this allows communities to defend their land from deforestation. Jessica Webb from Global Forest Watch tells us more.

    Neurorights in Chile
    Brain altering technology is becoming more sophisticated. Mostly developed to try and treat conditions including Parkinson's and epilepsy, there are concerns however about what might be created in the future. Could future smart devices in our homes read our thoughts? Chile hopes to protect neurorights through modification of their constitution. Jane Chambers reports.

    The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Angelica Mari.

    Studio Manager: Giles Aspen
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image: Concept of technology of the future in safe driving by car. Credit: Igor Borisenko / Getty Images)

    • 36 min
    Internet shutdowns in Latin America

    Internet shutdowns in Latin America

    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 world's first 3D-printed steel bridge has been unveiled in Amsterdam. Pedestrians can now use it to cross over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal. Sensors will continuously monitor how the bridge is used and its ongoing safety. This data will influence how other 3D-printed structures could be built in the future. Professor Leroy Gardner and Dr. Craig Buchanan from Imperial College’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering tell us more.

    Ecosystem soundscape monitoring with AI
    One way to monitor the health of an ecosystem is through sound. Anthea Lacchia reports on how scientists are using machine learning to monitor these ecosystem sounds. From Okinawa to Borneo, they can listen to the sounds of the forest without having to be physically present.

    The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson

    Studio Manager: Nigel Dix
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz


    (Image: Getty Images)

    • 47 min
    Fighting for the right to repair

    Fighting for the right to repair

    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 falling behind in creating digital content and in danger of becoming irrelevant? A new report from the Serpentine Galleries, “Future Art Ecosystems: Art x Metaverse”, suggests that might be the case. While the Games Industry is ploughing huge amounts of money into developing the spatial decentralised web (web 3.0), cultural institutions are lagging behind. Kay Watson, Head of the Arts Technologies team at the Serpentine Galleries, tells us more about the tech they are using to be part of this new metaverse.

    It’s the 30th anniversary of the first public website. Composer Kieran Brunt is back to tell us about his latest creation. This new work explores how the internet has dramatically reshaped our lives over the past 30 years. Woven around personal stories Kieran Brunt features electronic and vocal elements that explore the impact the internet has had on all our lives. The full Virtual Symphony can be heard on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday 18th July 2021.


    The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington

    Studio Manager:
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz


    (Image: Getty Images)

    • 42 min
    Big tech platforms to protect women online

    Big tech platforms to protect women online

    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 pacemaker that can dissolve in the body has been created for patients who need only temporary help to regulate their heartbeat. Pacemakers can be used for short periods, especially after open heart surgery, but are associated with quite a few issues such as infection from leads or the dislodging of the power supply and damaging heart tissue on removal. Professor John Rogers from Northwestern University, Illinois in the US, has developed a battery-free pacemaker that can be implanted directly onto the surface of the heart and it can then be absorbed by the body when no longer needed. He’s on the programme to discuss the tech that made the invention possible.


    Reducing car pollution from tyres
    Future car pollution will mainly come from tyres, not the exhaust. Even now tyre and road wear pollution is one of the leading causes of microplastics in the air. Our reporter Jason Hosken has been investigating how technology can be used to reduce the harmful impacts of tiny tyre particles, that are released from vehicles as they drive along.

    (Image: Internet troll sending comment to picture on imaginary social media website with smartphone
    Credit: Tero Vesalainen/Getty Images)

    The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson.

    Studio Manager: John Boland
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    • 45 min
    YouTube’s rules silencing human rights activists

    YouTube’s rules silencing human rights activists

    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 complicated. Now a new standard has been agreed. It’s called ‘Matter’ and the first Matter certified products are to be released at the end of this year. Tech journalist and IoT expert Stacey Higginbotham explains why this new standard will make smart devices much easier to use and much more secure.

    Sonic the Hedgehog is 30!
    The cute blue spikey hedgehog Sonic has been on our screens for 30 years. Digital Planet’s gaming reporter Chris Berrow has been finding out about the tech that made his design possible.

    The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson


    Studio Manager: Giles Aspen
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image: Getty Images)

    • 42 min
    Bias in AI – what next?

    Bias in AI – what next?

    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 2021 conference Digital Planet looks at what can be done by public bodies and the private sector to improve AI ethics.

    Joining us are Professor Lucy Hooberman, Professor Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Dr. Rumman Chowdhury and Dr. Margaret Mitchell.

    (Image: Getty Images)

    The programme is presenter by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Bill Thompson.

    Studio Manager: Bill Thompson
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
102 Ratings

102 Ratings

World Traveler Expert ,

Technology at its best

Great. Engaging and educational.

Sijacko ,

Taken over by social justice warriors

This used to be a fantastic show - look at the reviews from a few years ago. Bill and Gareth’s passion for tech used to shine through and I am sure this show was enjoyed by everyone….Now its more of a politics show discussing the impact on technology on social justice and vice versa. What a shame.

6009 Interactive ,

Digital Planet

Gareth and Bill do a great job with this show. They must have a great deal of difficulty mAking sure the article is at the right level but gets full coverage. Brilliant. It reminds me of Tomorrows World and Blue Peter rolled onto a radio show.

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