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The Digital Human

Podcast The Digital Human
Podcast The Digital Human

The Digital Human


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  • Vilify
    Aleks Krotoski explores what it's like to be 'villain of the day' on social media. It seems every day an individual rightly or wrongly becomes the object of the online world's condemnation. What's that like and what motivates people to pile on? Are the criticisms always made in good faith or is there something more complex going on with what the critics are trying to signal. Producer: Peter McManus
  • SOS
    Dr Charu Smita, a media researcher in Delhi explains how as the social contract between middle class Indians and the Government, to provide medical assistance, crumbled, people realised they'd need to mobilise to help save lives. Anirudh Deshmukh is a musician from Mumbai and when the second wave of Covid hit India and he saw the urgent tweets and posts from people searching for oxygen and hospital beds for loved ones he decided to do something about it. Using a combination of social media, WhatsApp and the meet up platform Clubhouse Anirudh began finding strangers hospital beds and oxygen. He quickly became inundated and along with others he began working day and night to locate beds and oxygen. Anirudh found himself having to decide who to save, a morally and ethically difficult decision even for a highly trained medic or relief worker. Dr Venkata Ratnadeep Suri explains how technology enabled people to form local microcosmic systems to allow those most in need get the oxygen they needed. Aleks also hears how in desperation people started to think very creatively about how to use apps and online social platforms to save lives. Sohini Chattopadhyay returned to Kolkata at the beginning of the pandemic to be with her mum. When her childhood friend got sick with Covid during the second wave her doctors suggested plasma therapy. It was going to be too difficult to go through official channels so Sohini turned to Tinder to find a suitable match. She set up a profile with the most flattering selfie she could find but explained she wasn't looking for a date but people who'd recently had Covid with the right blood type. Two people came forward. Produced by Kate Bissell Researched by Anna Miles
  • Shadow
    Aleks Krotoski explores the impact of Sci-hub on science and the Open Access Movement.
  • Orphaned
    Aleks Krotoski talks to the children of those lost to Qanon conspiracies. Many have sought support and advice in online forums where they exchange stories of estrangement and bereavement unable to prevent their parent falling further down the rabbit of outlandish plots, twisted ideas and political extremism. For many experts Qanon behaves like an authoritarian cult demanding total obedience to its ideas and anyone who can’t be converted are to be shunned. In an ironic twist on the classic cult narrative there as many parents as impressionable young people that have fallen under Qanon’s sway. But like cult members of the past can they be deprogrammed and reunited with their children? Producer: Peter McManus
  • Legacy
    Most banks, airlines even the military use legacy software because to replace it costs millions. Instead, as companies grow or change, old software is merged with new software. Aleks hears about ‘technical debt’, when software engineers who create original software code leave or move on, taking their expertise with them. Without proper knowledge of the old code, maintaining legacy software can become problematic and leave a company or organisation vulnerable to technical bugs. The damage brought by thee bugs can leave a legacy of its own. And Aleks asks whether the software is really to blame? Producer: Kate Bissell Researcher: Anna Miles

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