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Tech Life

Author: BBC World Service

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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.

247 Episodes
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Fixing undersea cables

Fixing undersea cables

2024-04-1627:25

We dive the ocean depths to find out how you fix undersea cables that keep us online. Also this week, the documentary that's programmed to have fifty two quintillion different versions. If you're planning to watch all of them you'll possibly need a coffee, so we look at the tech behind coffee bean roasters. And how do you enrich the tech lives of lemurs and parrots ? We speak to an expert.Presenter: Chris Vallance Producer: Tom Quinn(Photo: Illustration of a submarine communications cable. Credit: Christoph Burgstedt/Getty)
Space junk

Space junk

2024-04-0927:471

This week on Tech Life we are looking at the problem of space junk, the man-made debris hurtling around our planet. Could it threaten some of the everyday tech we all rely on?Also this week, don't you just hate it when stuff doesn't work? Are internet and social media outages becoming more frequent ? A doctor in Argentina has created a video game to help calm the nerves of children facing a hospital operation. And what weighs three tonnes and is the size of a mini-van ? It's the world's largest digital camera.Presenter: Chris Vallance Producer: Tom Quinn(Photo: A NASA illustration of space debris around Earth. Credit: Nasa/Getty)
The internet plays an important role in most of our lives today. What will it, and other tech, look like in the future ? We take a long view with a veteran of the tech industry. Also on Tech Life this week, some of the biggest social media platforms have been accused of obstructing information on abortion and reproductive healthcare in developing countries. And health tech helps to combat child malnutrition in Africa.Presenter: Shiona McCallum Producer: Tom Quinn(Photo: A photo of a computer taken in 1982. Credit: BBC)
Electric bikes and scooters are popular. But charging them can be inconvenient, and occasionally risky. We look at various approaches to charging batteries around the world. Also this week, our reporter Marc Cieslak meets schoolchildren involved in a project to introduce them to artificial intelligence and programming through skills acquired playing chess. And we try out the next generation of Bluetooth connectivity.Presenter: Zoe Kleinman Producers: Alasdair Keane and Tom Quinn(Photo: Charging an electric bike. Credit: Henglein and Steets/Getty Images)
There are hundreds of former nuclear reactors around the world, which are harmful for those trying to decommission them. That's where a four legged robot called Spot comes in and Tech Life have been to meet it. Also in this episode; the impact of auto-correct constantly misspelling names and how scientists are using AI and tourist boats to learn more about whales.Presenter: Shiona McCallum Producer: Alasdair Keane(Picture: Spot the robot at a decommissioned nuclear plant /BBC)
Mobile phones

Mobile phones

2024-03-1227:471

What do you look for when buying a mobile phone? And what do you do with your old phone? Have you thought about trading it in and recycling? Your needs might vary, depending upon where in the world you live. We explore the options. Also this week, find out about the digital repatriation of historical artefacts.(Photo: A pile of mobile phones. Credit: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)
Exploring space

Exploring space

2024-03-0527:331

Zoe Kleinman visits a satellite earth station from the era of the first moon landings, and a spaceport developing horizontal rocket launches. Find out how tech is being used to communicate deep into space, and launch rockets from jet planes. Also on Tech Life, cyborg jellyfish could soon be swimming the ocean depths, providing valuable data to scientists. And an AI-generated internet radio station keeps you up to date with non-news.PHOTO: Zoe Kleinman at Goonhilly Earth Station. Credit: BBC.
Tech Life in Barcelona

Tech Life in Barcelona

2024-02-2727:56

MWC in Barcelona is a big global mobile phone industry event. Shiona McCallum is there for Tech Life, looking out for new tech and innovations which could impact our lives. This year, wearable tech is attracting alot of attention. Also in this edition, we want to know your top tips for fixing tech problems.(Photo: Shiona McCallum tries the AI Pin at MWC in Barcelona. Credit: BBC)
Voice cloning is becoming so sophisticated that even live phone calls can be generated by machine. Is it possible to protect yourself ? Mouthguard technology is monitoring the hardest tackles on rugby players - our reporter gives it a try. Also in this week's Tech Life, we look at tracing your family tree with tech. And hear about winter-proof long-distance drones delivering supplies in Norway.PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/demaerre
Tracking giraffes

Tracking giraffes

2024-02-1327:49

What connects the Chinese government, giraffes in Namibia, and tech ? We bring you the strange tale of how one social media message went viral. Also in this edition of Tech Life, Shiona McCallum meets a smart robotic guide dog. And bringing cyber-security to girls in Africa - meet the woman making it happen.(Photo: A giraffe eating leaves from high branches. Credit: Michael B. Brown/Giraffe Conservation Foundation)
Health Tech

Health Tech

2024-02-0627:541

We're looking at health tech. Our reporter gets hands-on with a new ultrasound system in Kenya helping to keep mothers healthy during pregnancy. And tech for the menopause. Why isn't there more of it ? Also on this edition of Tech Life, the social media platform we used to call Twitter has a new rival. And tech at the Vatican - we interview the Pope's adviser on technology.PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/ER Productions Ltd
Rescue Tech

Rescue Tech

2024-01-3027:45

Sonar and AI have been brought together in a hand-held device that can find humans underwater. We speak to its inventor and an underwater search team leader. Chris Vallance examines voice cloning and has a telephone conversation with artificial intelligence. Shiona McCallum reports on tech protecting crops from climate change in Africa. And Alasdair Keane learns about making magnets.PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/Editorial12
The world of VPNs

The world of VPNs

2024-01-2327:301

Tech Life does a deep dive into Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs. We find out the countries where they are most in demand. Also in this edition, we learn about video gaming in Iran. And we speak to the teenager in India who invented a device to help people with Alzheimer's, inspired by his grandmother.PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/Traitov
Technology can pose dangers to our mental health - cyberbullying, social media addiction and disinformation. But can tech help our mental wellbeing ? We explore the issues. Tech Life's Alasdair Keane reports from Las Vegas on a sound system for cars that alters music as the vehicle is driven. And tech meets beauty - find out about hair dryers delivering more than hot air.PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/Westend61
Tech Life in Las Vegas

Tech Life in Las Vegas

2024-01-0928:00

Las Vegas plays host to CES - one of the biggest consumer tech trade shows in the world. Alasdair Keane is there for Tech Life, reporting on the latest innovations and devices. Also, video gaming is big business in Africa. Tech Life presenter Shiona McCallum finds out how big the business is. And a new substance has been discovered which could solve a problem with rechargeable batteries.(Photo: Sphere logo. Credit: Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
Shiona McCallum and Alasdair Keane present a special edition of Tech Life. They invite BBC reporters to predict what might happen in the world of tech in 2024. From Africa to North America, from Asia to Europe, our experts give you their tips for what might be making technology news in the coming months. Hear about electric cars, cryptocurrency, video games, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and more. How will developments affect your life ?Photo Credit: Getty Images/Ketut Agus Suardika
Tech Life looks back at another rollercoaster twelve months. From warnings AI might kill us all, to the tech millionaire trying to live forever, we review the biggest stories and our favourite interviews from 2023.
Our surfing habits

Our surfing habits

2023-12-1927:59

Internet usage is booming. We're using online services more than ever before. So which ones are popular, and why? We find out. Also, we bring you two very different voices from Africa, talking about the benefits - and problems - of social media content. And many of us are still dealing with the consequences of coronavirus. Now experts are using technology to help prepare for the next pandemic. PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Muchiri, or Muchiri Mike as he's known on TikTok, with Tech Life's Shiona McCallum in Nairobi, Kenya. You can hear their interview in this edition.
Connecting people

Connecting people

2023-12-1228:13

Tech Life looks at ways to connect people. We examine the mobile phone usage gap. What is it and can it be narrowed ? And how do you shop online if you have no official address? Our reporter in Brazil finds out. Also, we look at the company saving billions of litres of drinking water around the world by detecting leaky pipes using clever tech. And we find out about the latest fast-paced video gaming technology for people who are blind or partially-sighted.
Alasdair Keane is on a farm with a difference exploring the tech helping farmers adapt to changing climates. We'll hear from startups tyring to improve how crops are watered and analysing moisture data from space. We also find out how one ice cream company is warming their freezers without the ice cream melting.(Picture: Inside IGS vertical farm)
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