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Digital Planet

Author: BBC World Service

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Technological and digital news from around the world.
7 Episodes
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Harnessing tech during conflictTwitter and Facebook have removed accounts that originated in mainland China that it says undermines the “legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement”. Evronia Azer knows all about the double-edged sword when it comes to technology in the midst of conflict. On one side there are tools to mobilise protest, on the other are tools of state control and surveillance. She is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business and Law at Coventry University in the UK where her research interests include data privacy and governance. She joins us on the programmeMap KiberaTen years ago Digital Planet reported on the Map Kibera project, which was just an idea to provide information to OpenStreetMap about the Nairobi slum. This quickly turned into the Map Kibera Organisation which makes sure that Kibera is connected and is focussed on improving people’s lives in the slum. Digital Planet has been back to Kibera to see how the project has changed.First ever plant selfieHannah Fisher reports on a plant called Pete which could revolutionise field conservation by powering a camera to take selfies as he grows. London Zoo scientists have laid the groundwork for the world’s first plant selfie – a pioneering scientific trial in the Zoo’s Rainforest Life exhibit which will try out how microbial fuel cells power a plant to take its own picture. This they hope will lead to using plants to power camera traps and sensors in the wild allowing conservationists to monitor habitats remotely.(Protesters in Hong Kong are seen wearing helmets and gas mask while looking at their phone. Credit Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
Instagram has removed US marketing company Hyp3r from its service after it was accused of grabbing users' data. Hyp3r was scraping profiles, copying photos and siphoning off data supposed to be deleted after 24 hours, according to Business Insider investigation. As Stephanie Hare explains, millions of users have been targeted. Breaking Silences – Rwanda’s first podcastOn DP’s recent trip to Rwanda Gareth met two young women who have created the first ever podcast in the country. “Breaking Silences” is a podcast that brings you conversation around things happening in African Society particularly in Rwanda. It’s a really lively show and the hosts are not afraid to tackle subjects that no one else has spoken about publically before...Fire Hackathon packageOur reporter Tom Stephens has been to a hackathon aimed at radically rethinking the way that fire safety is incorporated into the construction of buildings. The idea for the event came about in the summer of 2017 following the Grenfell Tower fire. (Photo: Instagram application seen on a phone screen. Credit: Thomas White/Reuters) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
Jakarta power cutThe lights are finally back on for most of Jakarta’s ten million people, who suffered a nine-hour outage over the weekend. Taking into account surrounding regions, the power cut could have affected more than a hundred million people. Just a few weeks ago, there was a power outage on a similar scale across much of Argentina and Uruguay. The lights went out recently across the west of Manhattan too. Professor Keith Bell from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland joins us live to explain why these types of cuts happen.Project LoonLoon’s mission is to provide internet connectivity to areas that are typically underserved, using high-altitude balloons with solar-powered cellular network gear on board, replacing the need for permanent tower infrastructure in environments where that kind of option either isn’t practical or affordable. Gareth and Bill have visited Loon’s ground station in Nairobi to find out more.Penguin techThe British Antarctic Survey is using satellites to track wildlife in some extremely remote regions. Their surveillance recently revealed that emperor penguins are fleeing some of their biggest colonies as the ice becomes less stable. Satellites are also tracking whale populations in the remote ocean, but the tech doesn’t stop there, as Jason Hosken reportsArt or Not app? The power of the neural net has is rendering your handset your friendly art critic in your pocket. You take a quick pic on your phone: is it a masterpiece, or could a young child have done that? The app called ‘Art or Not?’ is fun but for its creators at Monash University in Australia there’s a serious research question about machines and creativity behind it. The application hits the app store within the next week. Dilpreet Singh and Jon McCormack at Monash University’s SensiLab explain how it works.(Photo: Impact Of Electricity Shut Down In Jakarta And Surrounding Areas. Credit: Photo by Donal Husni/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
Not-so anonymised data

Not-so anonymised data

2019-07-3000:37:031

Could so-called anonymised data not be quite so opaque? A recent paper in Nature Communications suggests that information regulators around the world might need to reassess what constitutes anonymised data by showing that for any American, just 15 data points could identify an individual person. Insurers, health providers, even media providers should take note of just what can be harvested from these growing numbers of publicly available sets.Smells and TasteA look at sensing. Recently IBM Research demonstrated a new device called Hypertaste which uses AI to learn to identify compounds in water, comparing the unique electrical fingerprint of different molecules. It’s the sort of sensor that just might be included one day on a smartphone. We also look at applications of artificial smell production. Could VR experiences of the near future include convincing smells? Reporter Madeleine Finlay reports on efforts to include synthetic smells in immersive storytelling - AKA smellovision.And Jack Meegan meets musicians in northern England who are deploying some digital musical archaeological techniques in efforts to recreate some early Brian Eno.Presenter Gareth MitchellComments from Ghislaine BoddingtonProducer Alex Mansfield(Photo: New research shows how easy it can be to piece together clues in anonymised data sets. Credit: Getty Images)
The Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, succeeded this week in getting its latest lunar lander into earth orbit. A new mobile money platform mGurush launches in South Sudan. In London young developers compete for a prestigious award, and in New Zealand a simple app offers security for lonely situations.(Photo: Indian Space Research Organisation orbiter vehicle Chandrayaan-2 launch. Credit: ISRO HANDOUT © European Photopress Agency) Producer: Alex Mansfield
Travellers to China through Kyrgyzstan are being forced to install a surveillance app on their phones. Professor Thorsten Holt is on the programme to explain, with the help of investigative journalists, how he has hacked into and analysed this surveillance app. He says the app compiles a report on your phone contacts, text messages and even your social media accounts, as well as searching for over 73,000 specific files. Atmospheric MemoryA breath-taking new art environment where you can see, hear and even touch sound, has opened in Manchester. The exhibit is inspired by Charles Babbage, a pioneer of computing technology from 180 years ago. He once proposed that if all spoken words remain recorded in the air, a powerful computer could potentially ‘rewind’ the movement of all air molecules. So how has the ground-breaking ideas of Charles Babbage influenced art and technology today?. Robotic EndoscopyEndoscopies are medical procedures that involve threading a camera through the body to see inside. Anyone who has had one will know how uncomfortable they can be. But, they are also challenging for the doctor - taking on average 100 to 250 procedures to be able to perform well. Reporter Madeleine Finlay met Dr Joe Norton, who is part of an international team developing an intelligent robotic system that could make it a lot less painful for both the patient and clinician. Game Designing: Mentoring the Next GenerationMathew Applegate works with over 300 young people in Suffolk on game design, and has just won the BAFTA Young Game Designers Mentor Award. Having been a hacker and spent time working for the government, Mathew then set up his Creative Computing Club in 2012, which delivers courses on game design, robotics, AI, VR and much more. He spoke to us on why he believes game design is so beneficial for the young people of Suffolk. (Photo caption: “Analysing the App’s binary software code” credit: © Mareen Meyer ) Producer: Ania LichtarowiczProducer: Ania Lichtarowicz
Tax on ConnectivityTaxes on internet and mobile access are on the rise across Africa, according to the Alliance for Affordable Internet. After a daily levy was introduced on social media services in Uganda for example, internet subscriptions fell by 2.5 million. Eleanor Sarpong, Deputy Director at the Alliance for Affordable Internet explains how it’s the poorest and women who are being hardest hit.Kibera StoriesBrian Otieno has been using photography to redefine his hometown’s visual narrative, looking beyond the poverty, crime and hardship of Kibera on the outskirts of Narirobi. One day, Brian was scrolling through pictures of his area on his phone and all he saw was deep poverty, whereas he would look around Kibera and see beautiful scenery and aimed to do photography that would “leave a lasting impression on people’s minds”.Green MonkeysScientists have found that green monkeys in Senegal make the same alarm calls when they see drones as another population of green monkeys across the continent make to eagles – seeing them as a flying threat. Professor Julia Fischer from the German Primate Centre in Gottingen led the study. She says that technology is making some primates behave differently – for instance hiding until drones disappear. How fit if your fitbit?Zoe Klienman has been to Loughborough University to find out how fit our fittech actually is. (Picture: Tax sign. Credit: Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz
Comments (4)

Abel Baloi

Hi, I am a Mozambican citizen, likely not affect by the ciclone. Thank you for talking about this and helping with awareness. I must say though, that solution is not effective around here. How can please go to a website if theere is not electricity noor network coverage? That's even excluding the fact that most of those affected by the ciclone don't know how to use the internet.

Mar 30th
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Simon Kalolo

Hey c'mon guys, stop with the 'number of listeners' discussion, your podcast is great and you no doubt have big number of listeners our there. For example someone like me listening from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Cheers!

Dec 30th
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D Mac

New Zealand over here :)

Oct 8th
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Reese Vawham

I heard you say jokingly that you have 7 listeners. I am listening to this from a small town in western india please don't stop doing this.

Sep 13th
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