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Tech Life


Tech Life discovers and explains the ways technology is changing our lives, wherever we are in the world. We meet the people with bright ideas for rethinking the way we work, learn and play, and get hands-on with the products they dream up. We hold tech giants to account for their huge power to affect our lives, and ask who wins, and who loses, in the technology transformation. Tech Life is your guide to a future being made, and remade, at lightning speed in front of our eyes.


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Tech Life discovers and explains the ways technology is changing our lives, wherever we are in the world. We meet the people with bright ideas for rethinking the way we work, learn and play, and get hands-on with the products they dream up. We hold tech giants to account for their huge power to affect our lives, and ask who wins, and who loses, in the technology transformation. Tech Life is your guide to a future being made, and remade, at lightning speed in front of our eyes.




Tackling e-waste around the world

Shiona McCallum reports from Kenya on ways people there are tackling e-waste and helping to recycle electronic products. It is one of the fastest growing streams of waste, with an estimated 50 million tonnes produced globally every year. Also in this episode Alasdair Keane has been finding out about a project to make the internet available in more languages and we hear about a community in India using step trackers to campaign for better sanitation.


Searching for the Tech Factor

We join the search for tomorrow's innovators at a global competition in Portugal. Who will win ? Listen and find out. Also, why do some AI chatbots perform better using the English language ? And new signings are heading to one of the world's most popular football video games. Photo: Competition finalists, Lisbon, November 2023.


Tech Life goes to Nairobi

This special edition of Tech Life comes from Nairobi, in Kenya. We visit an agri-tech hackathon, where high tech ideas for reducing the vast amount of wasted crops in Africa are being put forward. We have a tour of the Basi-Go E-bus charging depot, and hear their vision for bringing the electric vehicle revolution to the streets of Nairobi. Market traders tell us how their lives have been transformed by the M-Pesa mobile money system - and we head to Nairobi Garage start up to meet the next generation of fin tech founders, and hear their plans for bringing new products and services to the booming population of young people across Africa. ((PIC CREDIT: Presenter Shiona McCallum meets trader Lydia in Nairobi's famous Maasai market)


Speaking out against teen sexual harassment on Instagram

Arturo Béjar is a former director of engineering at Facebook and was responsible for its protect and care team. He shares his concerns with Tech Life. Also, we get the view from South Korea on making artificial intelligence tools safe. And how to sniff out forest fires - with the help of an AI nose. PHOTO CREDIT: Arturo Béjar


Artificial intelligence in the classroom

A professional body for computing in the United Kingdom says schools should teach children how to use AI from the age of 11. Do you agree ? We ask where it is happening already. Also, politicians and experts discuss AI safety at a big global summit. Health tech helps epilepsy diagnosis in the Caribbean. And we test the tech that takes the crunch out of chewing. PHOTO CREDIT: PonyWang, Getty Images.


This episode could have been an email

From summarising video calls to making presentations in minutes, Microsoft is launching an AI copilot on some of its apps and Tech Life have been for a preview. But will it change how we work or present new challenges? We also speak to the tech entrepreneur, Miron Mironiuk, who is collaborating with Pope Francis to teach children tech skills. And we meet 21 year old Luke Farritor who has won $40,000 unscrambling ancient texts that were left unreadable after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Presenter: Shiona McCallum (Picture: a video call taking place on line Getty/Mayur Kakade)


Spotting fake news online

BBC disinformation reporter Shayan Sardarizadeh talks to Tech Life about the spread of false information online during times of conflict, and how he verifies social media posts. An expert on electric cars answers your questions about EVs. We send our reporter out to sea to find out how tech can help marine conservation. And say hello to some old friends - Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario. (Photo: Man holds a yellow warning symbol in front of a laptop. Credit: Getty Images)


The carbon footprint of AI

Researchers estimate that the AI industry could consume as much energy annually as a country the size of the Netherlands by 2027. We take a look at the details and ways of reducing electricity demand. Also, we talk to one of Africa's leading technology entrepreneurs about how he sees AI helping the continent and how workers can adapt to it. And how do you persuade an unwanted wildlife creature not to mess up your garden ? One man trained his home camera system to solve the problem. (Photo: Electricity pylons. Credit: Igor Borisenko/Getty Images)


Where are we on the road to EV?

Shiona McCallum takes Tech Life on the road to find out more about electric vehicles and the challenges of rolling them out globally. Monica Miller is in Singapore experiencing some of the new cars on the block and Alasdair Keane joins Nissan's Formula E team in France. (Picture: Shiona McCallum plugging in an EV)


Be My AI: When innovation and privacy clash

An AI-powered tool helped blind people make sense of the world - then ran into privacy concerns. Be My AI user, the BBC's Sean Dilley, in Washington DC, tells us what happened next. A rare interview with the boss of Spotfiy, Daniel Ek, who tells us there is a place for AI in music making. Plus, reporter Marc Cieslak tells us about second thumbs and brain hacking, as he explores the mind boggling world of neural interface technology. (Photo: A blind man using a mobile phone. Credit: Agrobacter/Getty Images)


The world focusses on facial recognition

Simon Gordon, founder of Facewatch, a British facial recognition company and Fraser Sampson, the UK's Biometrics and Surveillance Commissioner discuss the growing use of facial recognition tech. Dr. Cosmas Zavazava, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, tells us about how much of the world remains offline. And Tom Singleton reports on how a digital payment scheme, set up by the UNCDF, is proving to be a lifeline for people exposed to extreme weather in the Pacific Islands. (PHOTO CREDIT: A young man captured by a facial recognition system. Credit: Izusek. Copyright: Getty Images)


The health tech changing lives in Africa

There's a new testing kit for life-threatening diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. We hear about the technology from the project leader and some of those involved in Uganda and Kenya. Also in Tech Life, we report on lab grown diamonds in India. And posting photos of flooding on social media could help experts predict where it might happen next. (Photo: Composite image with a globe and medical staff looking at a tablet. Credit: Getty Images)


Battery tech goes super miniature - and tear powered

Associate Professor Lee Seok Woo, from NTU, in Singapore, tells us how a Tom Cruise film inspired him to create a battery, powered by tears, that's so small it could be fitted to a contact lens. Ben Derico reports from San Francisco on why Chatbot detectors are mistakenly accusing people for whom English is a second language of cheating in exams. Analyst Ben Wood, from CCS Insight, brings us up to speed on Apple's latest product plans. And journalist Jack Thompson guides us through the farming revolution in Senegal, being powered by WhatsApp voicenotes.


Charting the true cost of AI

This week, the academic Kate Crawford tells us how she travelled the world to find the true cost of AI. Reporter Chris Vallance updates us on a watermark system - developed by Deepmind, Google's AI arm - which aims to show whether an image was generated by a machine or designed by a human. Mansoor Hamayun, Co-Founder and CEO of Bboxx tells us about the company's smart cooking valve, designed to protect lives - and trees - in Rwanda. We speak to Fu’ad Lawal, the founder of,and archivist Grace Abraham, about why the key to Nigeria's tech future may lie in digitsing newspapers from its past. (Picture credit: an imagined digital landscape, by Andriy Onufriyenko, for Getty images)


Why do smart speakers get facts wrong?

Have you ever turned to a smart assistant on your phone or a speaker to catch up on the progress of a big sports match? During the Women's Football World Cup one popular device failed to recognise the women's semi-final as a football match. We explore why, and other biases that exist in AI. We also answer another listener question to explore AI in drug and vaccine discovery, and meet the people in Malaysia and Japan who are among Wikipedia’s top editors. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images: Goal picture from the World Cup semi-final match between Australia and England at Stadium Australia on August 16, 2023)


Tech taught me

The internet is full of ways to learn, from quick life hacks to new skills. On Tech Life we meet the teacher in Nigeria trying to share IT skills on TikTok to help people get jobs in tech and we hear from people all over the world on what they've learned online. Also in this episode, we speak to the boss of the online moderation company, Sama, who've faced claims from employees that they were traumatised by work reviewing graphic online content. And what next for digital health care in Rwanda after uncertainty at the company Babylon. Photo: Gerald Anderson/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images. Young people learn future technologies at a robotics and coding workshop in Nairobi, Kenya


Fighting forest fires with technology

Juan Lavista Ferres, chief data scientist at Microsoft's AI For Good Lab, tells Tech Life how artificial intelligence can help predict wildfires. Driverless cars are popping up on streets around the world. But not everyone welcomes them, and some protestors in San Francisco have turned to 'coning'. What's that ? We have a special report. China is considering a limit on the amount of time children can spend on smartphones. You've been telling us what you think about the benefits and problems of children spending time on the devices. Manu Chopra speaks to Tech Life about using technology to reduce poverty in India. And what's the difference between a sentence written by a human and a machine ? We've been looking at some of the answers for you. (Picture credit: Getty Images)


The cost of data

Have you thought about the cost of storing data from your phone or tablet ? We examine what cloud storage costs you financially, and its impact on the environment. In Kenya, a huge cyber-attack targets the government's online services. We hear from some of those affected. Facebook has reached three billion users around the world. We ask what people like about it ? And we have a report on delivering rental cars in Germany, but without any drivers. (Picture credit: Getty Images)


X marks the spot

Zoe Kleinman and Shiona McCallum talk about X, the new name for Twitter, as Elon Musk continues making changes at the firm. What will the rebrand mean and where does the platform go next? We also try the eye scanning ‘orb’ that's been created to verify crypto payments. And we’re behind the scenes at CERN in Switzerland and talk to the creator of the AI League game that is accompanying the FIFA Women’s World Cup (Image: A worker begins removing the sign at Twitter HQ (Justin Sullivan / Getty)


The new world AI is making

DeepMind founder Mustafa Suleyman reflects on the AI revolution - and tells us he left the UK for Silicon Valley because it remains the top place for tech talent. But Canada is trying to lure some of those highly skilled migrants away - immigration lawyer Pavan Dhillon explains how. Dr Grace Livingstone joins us from Uruguay to tell us why plans for a Google data centre there are so controversial. And - as AI version of Johnny Cash goes viral - Matt Griffiths from the charity Youth Music tells us why AI is being embraced by young creatives. (PHOTO: Futuristic digital render with surreal cyber space and big sun, by Getty Images)