117 episodes

Technological and digital news from around the world.

Digital Planet BBC

    • Technology
    • 4.6 • 103 Ratings

Technological and digital news from around the world.

    Women's safety online

    Women's safety online

    False information online has left one in five girls feeling physically unsafe, according to The Truth Gap, a new report by Plan International.

    One in three say false information is affecting their mental health, leaving them feeling stressed, worried and anxious. Others reported concerns about bogus events advertised on social media placing them at physical risk, or unreliable medical advice that could harm their health.

    Girls and young women from low and middle-income countries were more likely to be affected by unreliable or false information online, and twice as likely to have questioned whether to get the vaccine than those in high income countries.

    The researchers are calling on governments to educate children and young people in digital literacy.

    Related to this, BBC Misinformation reporter Marianna Spring, who has also been subjected to misogynistic online, abuse set out to understand how why such content seems to be promoted on some social media platforms. We examine her findings.

    There is more from Marianna’s investigation in Panorama ‘ Online abuse :why do you hate me?’

    And Emily Bird reports on robots used to study glaciers in situations which would be far too dangerous for human researchers.


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

    Studio Manager: Duncan Hannant
    Producer: Julian Siddle

    (Image: ‘Barry’ CGI image from Panorama ‘ Online abuse :why do you hate me?. Credit: thispersondoesnotexist.com)

    • 44 min
    Economic cost of the digital gender gap

    Economic cost of the digital gender gap

    Research by the World Wide Web Foundation has found that the gender gap for internet accessibility has cost countries billions of USD in lost GDP. In the 32 countries studied a third of women were connected to the internet compared to almost half of men. This digital gender gap, their report says, has cost low and lower middle income countries USD $1 trillion over a decade. Director of Research, Catherine Adeya, joins us live from Nairobi and we also hear from Ian Mangenga who set up the Digital Girl Africa project to get more women online.

    Counting people with WiFi
    Researchers have developed a method of counting crowds that doesn’t require complex AI or expensive camera surveillance but rather simple WiFi signals. Yasamin Mostofi from the University of California Santa Barbara tells us more about how this method measures fidgeting behaviours to figure out the size of a crowd and how it could be put to use.

    The BFI London Film Festival Expanded
    The BFI London Film Festival is going immersive. Reporter Hannah Fisher has had a preview of this year’s hybrid programme which is full of tech - interactive VR, 360 films, augmented reality, mixed reality and live immersive performance.


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

    Studio Manager: Nigel Dix
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image: Majority World / Getty Images)

    • 45 min
    Census goes digital in India

    Census goes digital in India

    This decade’s Indian national census will be the first to be carried out digitally. However, COVID-related delays have slowed progress and there are growing concerns about its accuracy. Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, Bhaskar Chakravorti explains how data will be collected and why the census is likely to miss essential parts of the population.

    Getting mums coding and encouraging girls into tech in Nigeria
    June Angelides set up the UK’s first child-friendly coding school for mums, Mums in Tech, while on maternity leave. She’s now asking children to take part in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s “Super Realoes” competition to design a superhero gadget that can make a positive impact in the world around them or a piece of assistive tech to help improve someone’s life.

    Unfinished symphony finished by AI
    Beethoven’s 10th unfinished symphony has now been completed by AI and will be performed for audiences in Bonn later this week. Dr. Ahmed Elgammal, Professor at Rutgers University and Director of the Art and AI Lab who developed Beethoven’s AI, tells us more about the process. Credit for music: Deutsche Telekom.

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

    Studio Manager: Nigel Dix
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image: Getty Images)

    • 45 min
    Spyware threatening independent media

    Spyware threatening independent media

    Spyware threatening independent media
    Samuel Woodhams, the author of a report entitled “Spyware: An unregulated and escalating threat to independent media”, is live on the show. His research shows that the current unchecked growth of the commercial spyware industry is allowing repressive governments to monitor, harass and attack independent journalists and their sources as part of the battle against the free flow of information. We ask about the tech that is involved and if it’s possible to control it.

    Eating out with an app
    So COVID has brought about significant changes in how we order our food – not only have takeaway apps increased significantly in popularity but food ordering in restaurants in a number of countries was only possible thanks to our smart phones. As restrictions in some parts of the world ease, many restaurants are reluctant to go back to the traditional way of running their businesses. Gareth and Bill meet Dominic Jones, CEO of JPRestaurants in Jersey, who explains how ordering on an app has streamlined his business, allowed them to open earlier than they thought they could during the pandemic and how customers have taken to it. Gareth and Bill even sneak into the kitchens to see how the tech allows the food to be prepared incredibly quickly.

    TikTok promotes COVID vaccine misinformation within minutes of signing up
    Newsguard, who provides a browser extension that flags up untrustworthy information, has found that the incredibly popular app TikTok (which has a huge following amongst under 18’s) posts COVID vaccine misinformation videos to children within minutes of them signing up to the service. Alex Cadier, Managing Director of NewsGuard in the UK, is on the show to explain how they discovered that children were being targeted.

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

    Studio Manager: Giles Aspen
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image: Unidentifiable hacker cracking a computer code in the dark
    Credit: PeopleImages/Getty Images)

    • 42 min
    Can AI predict Arctic ice loss?

    Can AI predict Arctic ice loss?

    Arctic AI
    Have you checked the ice-cap forecast? Melting sea ice might be a well-known symptom of global warming, but how do scientists predict how quickly ice will recede? A new Artificial Intelligence tool does a better job than traditional prediction methods to forecast whether sea ice in the arctic will be present two months in advance. We hear from Tom Andresson, Data Scientist at the BAS AI Lab, who developed the algorithm.

    VR Cystoscopy
    Cystoscopy is vital for managing bladder cancer and something that those affected will need to undergo regularly for the rest of their life when their cancer has gone into remission. However the process can be very unpleasant which means some people choose not to keep up with their life saving visits. Dr Wojciech Krajewski has been studying how using VR goggles to create a more relaxed environment can help patients manage the pain cystoscopy causes. Immersing patients in an Icelandic waterfall meant patients reported lower pain scores and they tolerated the procedure better.

    5G festival
    Working remotely has been a difficulty for many of us over the past year - but musicians have found it particularly hard, as slow connections make playing together almost impossible. Over the past two years Digital Catapult have been developing a way of using 5G networks to solve this problem. They will be running a virtual festival next year to highlight the technology. Claire Jordan visited the trials and reports for Digital Planet.


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

    Studio Manager:
    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image credit: British Antarctic Survey)

    • 43 min
    Tech on the island of Jersey

    Tech on the island of Jersey

    Digital Planet is back in Jersey, the small English speaking island off the coast of France. We’re travelling around in an on-demand electric vehicle – all booked, paid for and locked and unlocked with an app from our smart phones. We’re finding out about agricultural tech on a dairy farm – how the famous Jersey Cows, that produce premium milk - are being managed by the latest innovations and we’re also out in the fields where a host of sensors and data analytics are helping with the Jersey potato harvest. And if that is not enough we visit the remote control tower at St. Helier airport and see how remote airfields around the world are beginning to embrace this technology, pioneered on Jersey, to make flying to seldom used airports safer. Guests include: Gavin Breeze, Director of Evie, Air traffic controllers Marc Hill and Richard Mayne, Jersey Cow Girl Becky Houzé and Mike Renouard, Business Unit Director at the Jersey Royal Company.

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

    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image: Bill Thompson has a pre-interview chat with guest on Digital Planet. Credit: Ania Lichtarowicz / BBC)

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
103 Ratings

103 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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