Digital Planet

Digital Planet

BBC World Service

Technological and digital news from around the world.

Categories: Technology

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Connectivity to Tonga partially restored but undersea cable repair could take weeks. The underwater volcanic eruption severed the country’s only underwater network cable and ash clouds have made satellite connectivity impossible. Professor Nicole Starosielski from NYU, an expert in underwater connectivity and author of “The undersea network”, joins us on the show. An underwater cable is severed every three days somewhere in the world, yet the network has the capacity to usually cope with this disruption. Many developing countries do not have this extra capacity as they cannot afford it. Professor Starosielski argues that richer nations should step up and fund this lack of spare connectivity. Virtual IT brain drain in Argentina IT workers in Argentina are being enticed by US and European tech companies to work remotely for them, by offering very attractive salaries and remote working contracts. Local IT businesses are struggling to retain workers as they leave for salaries in US$ or Euros that can be four times what they are currently earning. And this is what is different about this type of employment, unlike outsourced IT workers in India or Africa, the employees are not working on local conditions. As reporter Lucila Pelletieri from Global Press Journal tells Gareth, the loss of local talent will impact not only the country’s IT companies but potentially the economy as well. Robot training made easy We hear about machine learning all the time, but how does a machine actually learn? Say it’s a robot that you need to teach to perform a task in a factory, or even in your home. Well, it’s ok if you happen to be an ace programmer and are happy to dash off a load of computer code. But at the Robot Learning Lab at Imperial College London, they want to make it easier for us to train the machines - as easy as grabbing the robot’s arm and moving it through the task, so that next time, the bot does the movement itself. The Lab presented its latest work at a robot learning conference just before Christmas. The lab’s director is Dr. Edward Johns and Gareth has been to pay him – and his robot – a visit. The programme is presented by Gareth Mitchell with expert commentary from Ghislaine Boddington. Studio Manager: Giles Aspen Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz (Image: Underwater fiber-optic cable on ocean floor. Credit: Getty Images)

Previous episodes

  • 331 - Internet connectivity still patchy in Tonga 
    Tue, 25 Jan 2022
  • 330 - Twitter returns to Nigeria 
    Tue, 18 Jan 2022
  • 329 - Robots under the Thwaites Glacier 
    Wed, 12 Jan 2022
  • 328 - Afrofuturism and tech innovation 
    Tue, 04 Jan 2022
  • 327 - A tech review of 2021 
    Tue, 28 Dec 2021
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