Review: The Digital Human BBC Radio4

Aleks Krotoski portrait by Kevin Meredith lomokev.comAleks Krotoski explores the digital world, looking at the urge to capture every image, experience and feeling for on-line eternity and how technology touches everything people do, both on and off-line

I didn’t get time to post this over the Summer when it originally aired on BBC Radio 4 Monday afternoons, but this well thought out seven part series by the Guardian’s ‘digitial specialist’ bears seeking out on the BBC iPlayer where it is still available.

Krotoski asks “not just what technology can do for us but also what is it doing to us and the world we’re creating?”

In each of the seven episodes, the series addresses a different aspect of how technology touches everything in our digital lives, both on and off-line; the experiences of ‘homo digitas’ both remarkable and mundane, how the advances in our technology are changing us almost as fast as we can develop it.

Measured, insightful and with a wry sense of humour (who says Americans don’t get irony), this is a thinking-persons exploration of how we are all becoming Digital Humans. AJS

Episode Listing:
Digital Human series page on BBC iPlayer

Original series homepage on BBC website.

Episode 1 – Control is about us and our lives as a digital brand; who has control, how to we shape it, protet it and who ultimately has control of the digital US? Krotoski explores with guest Sherry Turkle, author and director of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and the Self

Episode 2 – Capture looks at our obsession with recording images like never before with the ubiquity of phone cameras. Krotoski discovers it changing the way we remember, and how easy it becomes to give people memories of events they never lived through.

Episode 3 – Conceal – considers the threats to our privacy: governments, corporate entities and even our friends. Krotoski explores how people have different attitudes towards privacy depending on their culture.

Episode 4 – Conviction. “With a search for God throwing up nearly 2billion hits the claims that the internet would be death of religion seem a little hollow.” Here Krotoski looks at technology as a force multiplier for religions and discover if we ever need to go to church again to practice a faith.

Episode 5 – Crush explores love in the digital world; can love exist without the sensory connections of face-to-face interaction? Hear from those who think that love in the digital age leads to far deeper connections than we might imagine.

Episode 6 – Crowds; what makes a digital crowd? How does the digital crowd behave differently to those in the real world. How easy is it produce mass hysteria and dis-information in a complex social system when translated into the on-line space?

Episode 7 – Chance in the digital world; can life-changing encounters be engineered by digital systems?

The time for wonder at the digital world is over, we live with it in every day. The question really is who are we now because of it?

Image credit: Aleks Krotoski portrait by Kevin Meredith (lomokev) (free to use)

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