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BBC World Service - Digital Planet

Digital Planet

Technological and digital news from around the world.

Digital Planet

  • Is facial recognition violating people's privacy?
    Facial recognition software concerns San Francisco has banned it, while other cities are trailing it...facial recognition software is becoming more commonplace. Perhaps there is little you can do to avoid it but would you be keen to help create it? Stephanie Hare is on the programme to discuss if users of the Ever app knew about the use of their photos to create technology that is being sold elsewhere. AI - friend or foe? In western culture machine learning and AI is viewed with some apprehension but in eastern societies it's seen much more as a partnership between human and robot or algorithm. Gareth and Ghislaine discuss these and other differences in our attitudes towards the tech with Suzanne Livingston and Maholo Uchida, the co-curators of the Barbican Centre's new exhibition; AI More than Human. Microchip fashion Why have some four thousand ordinary Swedes had micro-chips inserted in their hands? The practice is part of a much broader, global and diverse biohacking movement outside of traditional institutions that modifies bodies with novel technologies in order to improve life. Snezana Curcic has been finding out more. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Main Image: A technician tests the face recognition function of intelligent patrol robot 'Meibao' in Beijing, China 20 March 2019. Credit: VCG / VCG via Getty Images.

  • Personal alarms hackable using phone numbers
    Personal alarms with GPS can be hacked An investigation by Fidus Information Security has found that over 10,000 people are using personal alarms with GPS and phone data which can be hacked using the owner’s phone number. Andrew Mabbitt describes how these devices are at risk of being hacked and the danger this could pose to the wearer. Smart buildings can increase efficiency Dr Wendy Belluomini is the Director of IBM Research. She explains how IBM are developing AI and IoT to make our built environment respond to our physical and psychological needs – one day your office could even tell what mood you are in… The Internet of Plants might help your garden Louisa Field has just attended a workshop at the tech event republica 19 in Berlin where she helped build and program hardware which can check on your plants and their progress from anywhere and any device. Theoretical currency could prevent large scale fraud Professor Adrian Kent describes a theoretical framework, dubbed ‘S-money’, and how it could ensure completely unforgeable and secure authentication, and allow faster and more flexible responses than any existing financial technology by harnessing the combined power of quantum theory and relativity. (Photo: Personal alarm GPS.Credit: Fidus Information Security) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

  • Ham radio aids cyclone relief effort
    Ham Radio in Disaster Relief Efforts Ham Radio operators have been drafted in to keep communications open after Cyclone Fani devastated parts of India. HF and VHF will be used to communicate with the main disaster control room in Delhi. Operators have been deployed to areas where all other forms of communication have failed. Soft Robotics Recent advances in 3D printing have led to significant progress in the field of soft robotics. Katia Bertoldi, professor of applied mechanics at Harvard, describes her work with soft robots - compliant robots, made from soft materials, usually rubber, which are suitable to interact with humans in a non-intrusive way. As these robots need to move in a complex way new materials are being developed to allow them to do that. Fighting Back Against Online Trolls in Colombia In Colombia, an organisation called Fundacion Karisma is helping victims of online abuse fight back against misogynistic internet trolls by educating them on data security. The organisation recently won an award from the Index on Censorship, for their digital activism and work for freedom of expression on the internet. Our reporter Tom Stephens speaks to the head of the organisation about their work. (Photo: People ride a motorbike through debris on a road after Cyclone Fani hit Puri. Credit: REUTERS/Stringer) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

  • The latest in health and fintech
    Digital Planet looks at the future of health tech and money. Gareth Mitchell, with studio expert Bill Thompson, present a special Facebook live programme of the BBC’s world technology programme. Halima Khan, executive director, health, people and impact at Nesta, discusses how technology is being used in healthcare and what we can expect in the future for health technology. Angelica Mari, a Brazilian business tech and innovation journalist, explains how the financial technology scene is booming in Brazil and how developing countries can learn from the successes and failures in the developed world. Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Photo: 3D illustration of mobile phone over blue background with binary cubes and bank card. Credit: Stock/Getty Images Plus)