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BBC World Service - Digital Planet

Digital Planet

Technological and digital news from around the world.

Digital Planet

  • Tech Life

    How is technology changing our lives? Search for Tech Life wherever you get your podcasts and subscribe or follow if you can.



  • Digital Planet says goodbye

    On Digital Planet’s final ever show we discuss the legacy of Gordon Moore, the father of transistors and creator of Moore’s law.

    Special guests this week are Angelica Mari and Ghislaine Boddington.

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

    Studio Manager: Bob Nettles Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz



  • 3D printed food – what’s cooking?

    Could 3D-printing be serving us up a tasty food revolution, or is it the ultimate in gimmicky processed foods taking us yet further away from natural eating? In the kitchen, a 3D-printer builds up customised tasty treats like exotic cheesecakes, layer by layer, using edible pastes, gels and liquids. The results look delicious, and delicate, and can be tweaked to suit the individual’s specific nutritional needs. The latest possibilities are one of the main courses in the latest issue of npj Science of Food. One of the article’s authors is Dr Jonathan Blutinger worked at the Creative Machines Lab at Columbia University in New York where the research was carried out.

    Jimmy Wales on AI and its impact on Wikipedia In our second interview with Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales, Gareth asks about the balkanisation of the internet and how ChatGPT and other AI tech could impact Wikipedia. 

    Bollywood and the multiverse India is now officially the most populated country in the world and everything there is measured in huge numbers. Take film, for example. With nearly two thousand films made each year in over 20 regional languages, India produces the most films worldwide. And Bollywood is just a part of it. This year marks 110 years since the first Indian feature movie was made - ‘Raja Harishchandra’, a silent movie by legendary Dadasaheb Phalke. Since then Indian film has come a long way, winning an Oscar in two categories at the Academy Awards this year. Our reporter Snezana Curcic recently went to Mumbai, the city where it all started. She’s explored how digitalisation has disrupted and affected the industry and Indian film audiences in recent years.

    Pod EXTRA: A make-up applying app for the visually impaired How would you feel about applying make-up for a date or an important meeting without the aid of a mirror? Well, if you're blind or visually impaired, that's effectively a situation you might find yourself in on a regular basis. But now it seems help could be at hand. A new app called the Voice Enabled Makeup Assistant has been developed by the International cosmetics company Estee Lauder. So will it help if you're a blind dater, or is it all just lip service. Our reporter, Fern Lulham takes up the story.

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

    Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image: 3D-printed cheesecake using edible food inks, including peanut butter, Nutella, and strawberry. Credit: Jonathan Blutinger/Columbia Engineering)



  • Jimmy Wales on bots and blockages

    Digital Planet caught up with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. In the first of two interviews with Gareth, Jimmy explains why Wikipedia was restricted in Pakistan recently and how they overcame the block. And he gives his thoughts on Twitter’s plans to stop the bots and banish its free API.

    6G – what we can expect Professor Sana Salous, Chair of Communications Engineering at Durham University is about to submit her latest recommendations for the implementation of 6G connectivity to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). She’s on the show to explain how this will change the way we communicate and tells Gareth that we should be connected to 6G by 2030.

    Computer labs for schoolchildren in rural Kenya Nelly Cheboi’s nonprofit, TechLit Africa, has provided thousands of students across rural Kenya with access to donated, upcycled computers - and the chance for a brighter future. When she began working in the software industry, she realised that there are many computers that are thrown away as companies upgrade their technology infrastructure. So, together with a fellow software engineer they founded TechLit Africa. The students not only get upcycled computers but are also learning various skills such as coding. Wairimu Gitahi reports from Nairobi.

    Podcast Extra Following months of debate and discussion about what caused Gareth’s motorbike key fob to malfunction near a major TV transmitter, Imperial College and Durham University engineers have joined forces to establish what actually happened. Please do listen as we have a definitive answer.

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

    Studio Manager: Tim Heffer Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

    (Image: Wikipedia logo seen on screen of laptop through magnifying glass. Photo by Altan Gocher/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)



  • Digital identity: Where are we now?

    It may seem that in some countries surveillance cameras are everywhere – recording almost our every move. We are using fingerprints and facial recognition to get access to our banking, work emails and even our healthcare systems. Alongside this rise in use comes a rapid increase in biometric data gathering, spurred on by contact tracing apps during Covid-19. But where is this very personal data going, who is using it and how.

    We bring together a panel of experts to discuss what’s happening now and what’s next for our biometric data – shouldn’t we be the ones in control of our own digital identity? Contributing expert Ghislaine Boddington will shed light on these questions and will be joined by Dr Stephanie Hare, author of Technology is Not Neutral: A Short Guide to Technology Ethics, Alice Thwaite, founder of the Hattusia consultancy and The Echo Chamber Club a philosophical research institute, and BBC China Editor Howard Zhang are all on the show.

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

    Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz Sound: Andrew Garratt

    (Illustration: A fingerprint scanner is integrated into a printed circuit. Credit: Surasak Suwanmake/Getty Images)