Digital Planet on KTTZ-HD2

How digital technology affects our lives around the world.


  • Tuesday, April 26, 2016 5:15pm
    Did you ever imagine yourself as an astronaut and dream of boarding a mission to the moon? Forget the spectacularly unaffordable cost or the danger; now all you will need to do is put on a pair of virtual reality goggles. A number of companies are vying to sell you these headsets that offer gateways to whole new worlds. Clunky, expensive and likely to induce nausea just a few years ago, these latest goggles have now benefited from the advances in technology developed for mobile phones. But if you are concerned by the alienating effect of your coach or trainload of fellow commuters plugged in with headphones into their mobile handsets, how uncomfortable are you going to feel when you look up and the whole carriage is full of people wearing virtual reality goggles? Rather than enhancing or augmenting reality, will virtual reality push us ever further from what is real - and break connections rather than forge bonds between human beings? Virtual reality and 360 degree immersive film technology heralds the next revolution visual communication, potentially as dramatic a change into how we view the world as that which came about with the introduction of cinema. But if we have been here before with virtual reality, this time it looks set to stay. In the Radio Theatre, Click is joined by experts, including VR film-makers, performers and philosophers to debate the transformative power of virtual reality - to put you in other people’s shoes; to inform and entertain you with experiences that might even seem out of body. (Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg walking past an auditorium full of people wearing virtual reality headsets at MWC 2016 © Facebook)
  • Tuesday, April 19, 2016 5:00pm
    The film Avatar suggested a future where someone who was disabled could move around in the body of a proxy, an avatar. But just how futuristic is such an idea, and if it is realisable is it desirable? Without the ability to recall the past would not any proxy just be an empty shell? Virtual reality offers the myth of presence; technology can only reward with vicarious pleasure. If your identity is tied up with memory, what happens to that idea when memories disappear, and can tech that enables life-logging at least arrest if not reverse this loss? The idea of being able to store your voice, to bank it, for people with throat cancers or other degenerative voice conditions has informed researchers into the latest voice synthesisers, but if you lost your voice what impact would a restored synthesised version have your sense of your identity. Many people walk around with their mobile phones as if they were an extension of themselves; the loss of these devices creates anxiety because memories, pictures, correspondence and contacts have been transferred to phones as if they were a portable hind brain - their timelines are disrupted; their sense of who they are is undermined. Click is joined by an expert panel in the Media Café at Broadcasting House in London, to discuss how technology is increasingly shaping our identities: Neil Harbisson, a composer who was born colour-blind and who has an electronic eye implanted in his brain that allows him to hear colours; Cathal Gurrin has been wearing a life-logging camera for the last 10 years recording his every action; Phillipa Rewaj and Rupal Patel are research Speech and Language experts who have looked into collecting people’s voices for regeneration via synthesisers once their voices are lost. (Photo caption: Click – Identity Day © BBC Henry Iddon) Producer: Colin Grant
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2016 5:00pm
    Each year Index on Censorship honours activists who have been at the forefront of tackling censorship globally. The awards for digital advocacy are presented at a ceremony in London on 13 April. Click hears from Jodie Ginsberg from Index on Censorship. Bolo Bhi Bolo Bhi is one of the nominees of the Freedom of Expression Awards. Bolo Bhi, from Pakistan, is a women-lead digital rights campaign group who have orchestrated an impressive effort to turn back the Pakistan government’s draconian attempt to censor the internet. Colin Grant talks to Farieha Aziz from Bolo Bhi. Tribeca Film Festival – Storyscapes The Tribeca Film Festival is at the cutting edge of virtual reality film making. This year’s festival includes Storyscapes, a number of innovative projects using tech and VR to tell stories. They include the Argus Project – the story behind a wearable exo-suit with dozens of surveillance cameras embedded in it so that it acts as a citizens’ version of the police body camera. Lauren Hutchinson reports from the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Online Language Learning The internet has hugely influenced language learning - online has shifted the boundaries of the traditional classroom and tutoring with countless apps, YouTube tutorials, free online calls, video conferencing, dictionaries, translation platforms - making language learning more accessible and affordable. In Snežana Ćurčić’s report she hears from an International Relations student Millie Radovic from London, connecting with her tutor in Russia; from the CEO of italki, as well as a linguist and a critic of online language learning. (Photo: From left to right: Rafael Marques de Morais (Journalism), Safa Al Ahmad (Journalism), Amran Abdundi (Campaigning), Mouad “El Haqed” Belghouat (Arts) and Tamas Bodokuy (Digital Activism)
  • Tuesday, April 5, 2016 5:00pm
    The Iranian developer, Navid Khonsari, is used to controversy over his video games – especially when he worked on the Grand Theft Auto series, which is known for its violent content. Khonsari’s latest project however took an even stranger turn when a few years ago he was branded a U.S spy by newspapers in Iran over the development of a video game called “1979 Revolution”. The game, which has just launched, centres on a young photojournalist living in Tehran during the revolution in Iran, the country from which Khonsari fled more than thirty years ago. Lauren Hutchinson reports for Click. The Games Europe Plays The Games Europe Plays is an interactive games exhibition in London showcasing the most exciting independent European digital games for young people. The exhibition is curated by body technologist and digital expert Ghislaine Boddington. The innovative games made in Europe have a strong emphasis on design, virtual interactivity and physical engagement. Click hears from some of the developers - Gigglebug (Finland), and Toca Boca (Sweden) – as well as children playing the games, focussing on the drive towards gender neutrality in games and the enhancement of cognitive development in children. Click is also joined by Ghislaine Boddington to discuss the new formats which encompass physical interactions and the exploration of digital representations of individuals. Pigeon Patrol Pigeons kitted out with tiny back-pack monitors have been released over London as an experiment into monitoring pollution. The researchers plan to collaborate with Imperial College in the near future to find human volunteers who will be walking monitors of air pollution. Click talks to the researcher, Romain Lacombe. (Image caption: 1979 Revolution © Ink Stories) Producer: Colin Grant
  • Tuesday, December 22, 2015 2:47pm
    In 1968 when Stanley Kubrick was filming 2001: A Space Odyssey he asked scientists to help him imagine the future. Among the scientists' proposals was a kind of phone that allowed you to see the person you were calling on a television monitor and sliding doors that only opened once they recognised your voice. Science has always influenced the depiction of space but is it equally true that science fiction writers, film-makers and artists have also influenced scientists in the design of space suits, space craft and even space stations? In a special edition of Click, a panel of experts explore the connections between the world of space exploration and art. Joining Gareth Mitchell and LJ Rich in the BBC Radio Theatre will be professor Sanjeev Gupta who remotely controls the Mars Rover from the computer at his desk, Catherine Allen on the transformative technology of virtual reality in capturing space, Robert Alexander who is helping Nasa make new discoveries by turning raw data into music, ESA's Mark McCaughrean who reflects on the impact of films such as Gravity and The Martian on our understanding of the challenges of space exploration, musician and animator Matthew Robins who brings his harmonium and shadow puppetry to the Radio Theatre to perform space songs. And, Click’s regular tech expert, Bill Thompson, will also proxy into the show from Italy. (Photo caption: Looking Up at Mars Rover Curiosity in 'Buckskin' Selfie © NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS) Producer: Colin Grant