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Click

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Technological and digital news from around the world.

Episodes

Dark Web Markets Shut Down  

The Dutch authorities have just busted and closed down AlphaBay and Hansa, two of the most significant market places on the so called dark net, the internet that’s not indexed by the main search engines. Jamie Bartlett, author of a book about the dark net, explains how it was done. In a new book Radical Technologies, Adam Greenfield argues that we humans are at the wrong end of a power relationship that favours the techno elite, the handful of billionaire individuals who own the major tech companies, and that we are complicit. He discusses with Gareth how the apps and services on our devices are engineered to get us hooked at the most basic, neurological level. Hilary O’Shaughnessy of Watershed tells Click about the Playable City, a project in Oxford that is about making our urban spaces better places to live and work by using tech and focusing on the human side too. And there is a report from the AI: Myth and Reality conference organised by the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence in Cambridge. (Image caption: Computer hacker in hoodie © Getty Images) Editor: Deborah Cohen

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Estonia’s Ongoing Democratising Digital Revolution  

Should the free movement of data be the fifth freedom next to the already established freedoms of European citizens? Many argue that apart from lifting barriers, the EU has not yet maximised the growth potential of the data economy. Gareth talks to Sandy Pentland at a digital data conference in Tallinn. An entrepreneur from Niger has created an irrigation system that allows farmers to control the watering of their crops from afar by simply using their cell phones. Click’s Sasha Gankin talks to Abdou Maman Kané about his tele-irrigation system. RADAR – Reporters And Data And Robots – is a new service which aims to create tens of thousands of localised stories each month from open data sets. Click talks Gary Rogers co-founder of Urbs Media, about the benefits of RADAR. Scientists in New Zealand are researching how AR might be used by building assessors (and other inspectors) after an earthquake. In conjunction with a HoloLens headset, a student team in Auckland has built an app that will help to process vital data to be made available at a later date for assessing building safety. Simon Morton reports. (Image caption: Digital Blue Binary Code Technology © Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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Ghana Launches Its First Satellite Into Space  

Click hears from the project co-ordinator, Dr Richard Damoah about the launch of GhanaSat-1. The satellite, developed by students at All Nations University in Koforidua, was sent into orbit from the International Space Station. Kate Arkless Gray offers an assessment of the launch. Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil poses a frightening scenario. Our credit rating, our job prospects, our education, our spending habits, our justice system and our politics are all determined to some extent by algorithms. We cannot see them or negotiate with them and most of us do not understand how they work, but behind the scenes these mathematical models hold a huge amount of control over our lives and are altering the nature of our society. With many proven examples of racist, sexist and prejudiced systems, Cathy O’Neil tells Click that it is time to start worrying about algorithms. Researchers from MIT aim to develop robots that can both manoeuver on land and fly. In a new paper, the team presented a system of eight quadcopter drones that can fly and drive through a city-like setting with parking spots, no-fly zones, and landing pads. Click talks to the lead author, Brandon Araki. (Photo caption: The International Space Station orbiting over planet Earth © Nasa) Producer: Colin Grant

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Is the Gig Economy Out of Control?  

Is the gig economy out of control? This year’s OuiShare Fest in Paris for urban innovators and edgy entrepreneurs explores the gig economy and cities. How can we convert the advantages of the growing ‘uberisation’ model of modern life for the many and not the few? Click talks to Mara Balestrini and Helen Goulden who are participating in the festival. For many, internet access has become almost a basic need. But there are large swathes of the world where connectivity is poor or non-existent. Mozilla’s equal rating innovation challenge is a competition for projects seeking to fight this so called digital divide. Julia Lorke spoke to the winning teams from South Africa, Brazil and India. The team behind Raspberry Pi, the small but mighty microcomputer that has redefined home computing for many thousands of people around the world, have won the UK’s top engineering innovation prize, the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award. Click talks to Raspberry Pi’s Eben Upton. (Image caption: Network and world map on blur city © Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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Augmenting Reality with Virtual Reality  

In a special edition, Click looks at the latest innovations in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality experiences. There is a report on a Virtual Reality film tour of Latin America; how viewers can hop on a spacecraft and virtually launch into space with The Last Blues Song of a Lost Afronaut; and there is a surreal experience of Nairobi in a dreamlike 360 exploration of relationships. (Photo caption: Michael Benson © Markley Boyer) Producer: Colin Grant

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A Spider Robot Made From Plastic Straws  

George Whitesides is a pioneer of soft robotics. His latest research expands the boundaries of soft robotics with a spider-like robot made out of drinking straws. He joins Click to discuss its challenges and complexities. Researchers are exploring how robots might imitate the life of salps – squishy tube-shaped marine organisms. Hemma Philamore joins Click to discuss their future application. This year marks the centenary of the Russian October Revolution that brought communist Bolsheviks into power. To commemorate it, a group of enthusiasts have taken things in their hands and started “Project 1917. Free History”, a major Russian social media project bringing the Revolution to life to new generations, through modern technologies. Snezana Curcic talks to Mikhail Zygar, the founder and editor-in-chief of the project. How do you know if someone is lying online? Traditional methods of lie detection include face-to-face interviews and polygraphs but they cannot be done remotely. Researchers have come up with effective computer-based tests that measure reaction time in response to true and false personal information. Click talk to Giuseppe Sartori, a forensic neuroscientist at the University of Padua. (Image capture: Spider robot © Whitesides Lab at Harvard University) Producer: Colin Grant

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A Car to Detect Heart Attacks  

Click hears from Kayvan Najarian about moving towards technology that can monitor the health of someone driving a car to predict if they are going to have a heart attack. Researchers from MIT have developed a new system that uses a 3D camera, vibrational motors and an electronic braille interface to help visually impaired users get around. Click talks to Robert Katzschmann and Daniela Rus. The provision of mobile connectivity, products and services is having a fundamental impact on almost every aspect of society in Africa. The tech pioneer, founder and CEO of AppsTech, Rebecca Enonchong discusses tech innovation in Africa and her elevation at West Africa Mobile Awards. Data from the earth’s climate has inspired two innovative works of art. The first, Climate Symphony, created by Disobedient Films, is a live music performance that turns hard data on climate change into a symphony to tell the story of what climate change means through sound. The artist-filmmaker Leah Borromeo explains how. And the second art work from the HyperPavilion at the Venice Biennale is a piece called Climat Général. The artist, Claire Malrieux discusses harvesting data from NASA, the Met office and other organisations to sonify and visualise it. (Image caption: Car Instrument Panel with Broken Heart Warning © Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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Is the Internet a Safe Space for Extremism?  

In the light of the recent terror attack in London, can anything be done reclosing loopholes in the radicalization of young men on social network platforms? Click talks to Jamie Bartlett about his research into this area and what he has learned in the research for his new book, Radicals. A report from the Republica Conference in Berlin on two schemes to change the narrative of poor people by empowering them to take control of their data. Julia Lorke talks to Denise Karunungan from Open Data Lab Jakarta and Gilberto Vieira from Data Labe in Brazil. New Zealand is reputed to have more working dogs per capita than anywhere else in the world – an estimated 200,000. Simon Morton visits a high country sheep station and reports on a ground-breaking study using canine fitbits to monitor the dogs’ lives. Atau Tanaka joins Click to discuss the IX Symposium in Montreal Canada, and Meta Gesture Music, a dynamic new field that aims to take electronic music out of the computer and make physical some of the interactions. (Photo caption: Invisible man in the night darkness © Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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BA Outage  

The huge British Airways IT systems failure caused extraordinary disruption. What lies behind it and what might be done to ensure it does not happen again in the future? Click talks to the tech expert, Roland Moore-Colyer. Tim Wu’s new book, The Attention Merchants, tells the story of the influence of advertisers and programmers on all of us. Wu explores the evolution of advertising from TV’s golden age to our present internet age where we surrender our data for free services that are accompanied with advertising. He talks to Click, reflecting on the growing unease about big tech companies harvesting our data, and how our ‘attention’ can be bought and sold. Click talks to Alexandra Grigore, the CEO of Simprints which has developed an inexpensive biometric scanner, mobile app, and cloud platform that could become the first identity provider for over a billion people who do not have formal IDs. The technology uses people’s fingerprints to accurately link them to records. (Photo caption: A displays warns passengers to 'Expect Disruption' inside Terminal 5 of London's Heathrow Airport on May 29, 2017 © Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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DECODE: Whose Data is it Anyway?  

DECODE is a new EU project aimed at giving people a greater sense of control over their own data. Click talks to two of the organisers, Eddie Copeland and Francesca Bria, about accessing and sharing data from the big tech companies and realising the ambitions of the project. The nonprofit Women Who Tech and primary sponsor Craig Newmark recently announced the winners of the Women Startup Challenge Europe. Women-led startup Simprints received the grand prize, a grant of €50,000 cash and one-on-one mentoring with Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales. Click talks to Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech, about the prize. Sasha Kljakovic of The Institute for Innovation and Improvement at Waitemata DHB is about to start a pilot study using VR to train junior doctors in how to respond to emergencies. Simon Morton reports. The French pavilion for the Venice Art Biennale 2017 has been transformed by the artist Xavier Veilhan into a musical space in which professional musicians from all over the world will work throughout the duration of the exhibition. Gareth Mitchell talks Xavier Veilhan about the transformation. (Image caption: Touching Share © Getty Images Plus) Producer: Colin Grant

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Click from the 57th Venice Biennale  

In a special edition from the 57th Venice Biennale, Click examines how artists are using digital technology and how their work comments on the role of digital technology in our lives. The programme includes a tour of the Venetian waterways with a blind guide using the specially developed BlindWiki app; there is an interview with the world-renowned curator, Hans Ulrich Obrist on the use of the photocopier in the work of the Italian artist Alighiero Boetti – once described as the Andy Warhol of Europe; Philip Schütte presents his interactive SUN project; and there is a discussion with the artist Lisa Reihana in collaboration with James Pinker on the remarkable and innovative film from New Zealand, in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015-17, a cinematic reimagining of the French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, 1804-1805, also known as ‘Captain Cook’s voyages’. (Photo caption: Lisa Reihana’s Emissaries exhibition at the New Zealand Pavilion in Venice, projecting the film, in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015-17 © Michael Hall) Producer: Colin Grant

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Uber and the Investigating Regulators  

Uber’s woes continue with regulators around the world, but it is now answering allegations of building software to avoid regulators. Click gets an insight into what is going on from Alison van Diggelen in Silicon Valley. Tunisia youth have been using tech to help map their neighbourhood. Click talks to the NGO International Alert who are running a peace tech project and also hears from the youths about how they are empowered by Open Street Map. More than 300 million people around the world speak Arabic, but the language is badly under-represented online. A project in Wellington is aiming to position New Zealand as a 'digital Switzerland' and make Arabic materials easier for students and teachers to find, to access and to share. Click's Simon Morton reports. In July of 2016, Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter toured the Majdanek Concentration Camp in what he vowed would be his final visit. By marrying a stereo video capture of Pinchas within a photoreal roomscale experience, The Last Goodbye reaches profound levels of immersion in service of the first ever VR testimony that will be archived and preserved. Click’s Lauren Hutchinson reports on this extraordinary VR film. (Photo caption: An UBER application is shown as cars drive by in Washington, DC © Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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The Politics of Tech Resistance  

Just over 100 days since President Trump’s inauguration Click’s Alison van Diggelen explores the notion of tech resistance, especially at the University of California’s Berkeley campus. She finds that technologists have woken up to the part they can play in the political conversation; that despite being at the epicentre of high tech, old school methods still have their place; and that some techies are keen to display their non- partisan credentials. A new start-up has just filmed a unique VR/360 film in North Korea. It gives people the chance to explore Pyongyang like Google street view, teleporting from place to place. It is one of several remarkable experiments with VR. Lauren Hutchinson reports on the premiere of Draw Me Close a world first in terms of VR and theatre, and one of the highlights of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Collaborating with inventors Nokia Bell Labs, and technologists Design I/O, singer songwriter Beatie Wolfe has created a ‘world’s first’ way to “stream” an album in the digital age - incorporating real-time AR visuals. Click talks to Beatie Wolfe about the launch of ‘The Raw Space Experience’ Producer: Colin Grant (Photo caption: Tech Resistance Demonstration © Chris Shipley, 100 Days Project)

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VR on the Rise at Tribeca  

The rise of VR and 360 degree films are on show at the Tribeca Film Festival. Click talks to Ingrid Kopp of Storyscape and Loren Hammonds an Associate Programmer of the festival about the latest innovations in VR films. Last Mile is a Cashless Africa initiative which focuses on the final stage of money transfer in Africa. Sasha Gankin reports from Lagos on how The Last Mile is fuelling a revolution in banking on the continent. Waiting for that download or the message to come through? Why not do something with those microments. Perhaps learn a language whilst you are waiting. Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a series of apps called WaitSuite that test you on vocabulary words during idle moments. MIT’s Carrie Cai describes how it works. Often we are tempted to use our mobile devices when it is socially unacceptable or even dangerous - e.g when driving. What if you could interact with your device just through facial gestures. Denys Matthies discusses the latest research. (Photo caption: A guest participates in the VR/Immersive Press Preview during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival © Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival) Producer: Colin Grant

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Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards  

On the eve of the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards ceremony Gareth Mitchell talks to its Head of Advocacy, Melody Patry, and one of the finalists, Alp Toker, the founder of Turkey Blocks, an organization that monitors real-time censorship data in Turkey. Ken Banks, mobile technologist, is in the studio to discuss how broadband could be expanded across Africa. The think tank Demos has just published a report on how they have used Natural Language Processing algorithms, a form of artificial intelligence, to analyse over one million posts on mental health issues that people have put on online forums. Josh Smith explains what data scraping from many chat rooms can reveal about what people are really thinking about mental health services. Hollywood studios are commissioning Virtual Reality experiences as new ways to showcase their latest releases. One example is the Ghost in the Shell, a sci-fi blockbuster starring Scarlett Johansson, that premiered in March this year. Alongside the film there is also a four-minute VR taster experience, which drops you in the middle of the action. Anthony Huertas from AMD, that provides the hardware that runs VR experiences, placed a headset on reporter Marnie Chesterton. (Image caption: Boarded up laptop © Getty Images) Editor: Deborah Cohen

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Click Reports from Convergence  

In a special edition, Click sets up at Convergence, a five-day event in London’s East End bringing together technology, music and art. It is not just a gadget fest but a chance to find out how everything from wearable tech to big data is changing our lives and the way we express ourselves through music, dance, coding and politics. Click hears from the Artistic Director, Glenn Max, the Creative Director of Another Space, Alexandros Tsolakis, the Designer of Extreme Experiences, Nelly Ben Hayoun, the musician Gwilym Gold and the choreographer, Holly Blakey. (Photo caption: Trying out an exhibit at Convergence 2017 © Antonio Pagano) Producer: Colin Grant

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The MIT Report to Combat Cyber Threats  

A report from CSAIL and CIS at MIT in Boston urges President Trump to take action on cybersecurity. Joel Brenner talks to Click about how to protect infrastructures like the electric grid from getting hacked. Mark O’Connell, the author of To Be a Machine, discusses transhumanism, cyborgs and whether technology will ever enable us to defer death indefinitely. ROVA - The Rover Outreach Vehicle App is an android app to help the homeless help themselves. It is the brainchild of the Hi Tech Rover, a high-tech camper van kitted out with technology to help the homeless improve their lives and work prospects. Alison van Diggelen reports from Silicon Valley on this altruistic initiative. The musician Gwilym Gold has developed Bronze, a tool which allows for an individual recording never to sound the same on subsequent playbacks. Gwilym Gold talks to Click about the myriad editions of a single piece of music. (Image caption: USA map – cybersecurity © Getty Images) Producer: Colin Grant

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European Prize for Women Innovators  

Michela Magas talks to Click about her recent top award at the European Prize for Women Innovators. Michela is founder of Stromatolite Design Innovation Labs, building a new generation of creative technology toolkits for innovation. Industry leaders from more than forty African countries gathered in Lagos last week to address The Future of Finance. Africa’s financial industry is attempting to adapt itself to the on-going disruptions in the Fintech space in light of the increasing demands of young and energetic customers. Click talks to Emmanuel Okoegwale, the organiser of Cashless Africa. One of the challenges for VR is getting enough data to each eye, so you are tricked into thinking that what you are seeing is actually real. A team of computer scientists in New Zealand think they may be a step closer to making VR more real. Andrew Chalmers gives Click’s Simon Morton a demonstration. This Thursday the UK interactive art studio Invisible Flock, and Quicksand, an Indian research and design lab, unveil DUET – an ambitious and evolving artwork, a series of dynamic interactive animated-light panels created from raw, single-line, real time conversations between two anonymous individuals across two continents. Click talks to Victoria Pratt from Invisible Flock. (Photo caption: Michela Magas named European Women Innovator of the Year © Music Tech Fest) Producer: Colin Grant

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Performing Surgery With a Hand-Mounted Exoskeleton  

A hand-mounted exoskeleton for surgeons is being demonstrated at the European Robotics Forum. Click talks to Dr Sanja Dogramadzi from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory about the research into the robotic exoskeleton that will help in intricate surgery, mimicking the actions of the surgeon’s hands. RIKEN’s K computer in Kobe, Japan, is used for a range of fields including earthquake and tsunami research and weather forecasting. Its fast calculations and high resolution simulations are revolutionising weather predictions. Geoff Marsh reports from Kobe. Weather prediction is being increasingly helped via social network sites. Click talks to Nataliya Tkachenko about how alerts on social networks and photographs are being used to augment weather prediction. A new study shows how mobile phone accelerometers can be spoofed by blasting them with rogue sounds and vibrations. Click talks to the University of Michigan Ph.D student Timothy Trippel about the threat to hardware in phones and other devices. (Photo caption: Exoskeleton prototype © UWE Bristol) Producer: Colin Grant

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Brain Wave for Controlling Bots  

What if we could control robots with our brains? Researchers at MIT and Boston University are looking into just that prospect. Click talks to Professor Daniela Rus from MIT. Noa Gafni Slaney, CEO of Impact Squared is a champion of the positive benefits of digital connectedness. She joins Click to talk about limiting fake news and her work with the UN in amplifying its 17 Development Goals. New Zealand tracking technology, pioneered in conservation work to protect the endangered bird the kiwi, could help solve one of the problems of dementia. Sixty percent of dementia patients wander and get lost. Simon Morton reports on a simple radio frequency tracking system called WandaTrak. Line-us is neither a plotter nor a printer, it's a drawer, which gives Line-us its own style and unique character. The magic bit is that Line-us draws in exactly the same order you did. Click talks to its inventors, Robert Poll and Durrell Bishop. (Photo caption: The feedback system enables human operators to correct the robot’s choice in real-time © Jason Dorfman, MIT CSAIL) Producer: Colin Grant

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