To celebrate the 100th episode of The Digital Human Aleks Krotoski explores how digital and analogue technologies make us think differently.
And she'll do it by going 'old school' putting down the keyboard and mouse in favour of audio tape and razor blades. But this programme isn't about nostalgia, she'll be investigating the psychological experiences of using these different technologies.
With the help of artists, musicians and photographers she asks if the endless possibilities we're offered by digital tools are as liberating as we think or paradoxically are they paralysing, making it impossible to choose one product, picture, tindr date over another?
Are we more creative, and decisive when we're forced to be by constraints; as we used to be when camera's shot film with a limited number of shots and tippex was the only way to erase something we'd written?
And are we too readily allowing our digital technologies to decide what's important. Whether in music or on the phone our digital devices strip out the 'noise'. Whether that's the background of where we're making a call, or the sound of fingertips on an instrument. When we lose some of that context what else are we sacrificing? Aleks will aim to find the right balance between the two domains, to make the most of each.
Throughout the programme we'll also offer a glimpse behind the scenes of making a programme where the final assembly uses pre-digital techniques; and the scavenger hunt it required to find the long decommissioned tape machines and the people who remember how to operate them.
Producer: Peter McManus
Are we using tech as a digital sedative? And if so, what does that do to our ability to touch and feel? Aleks looks at why we turn to tech to render us emotionally numb…
On New Year's Eve in 2015 Vicky Schaubert, a journalist from Norwegian broadcaster NRK heard a story that was to stay with her for many years prompting her to research and write an article about a young man called Mats Steen from Oslo.
At the age of four he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a muscular disease which was to drastically shorten his life expectancy. His father, Robert introduced Mats to gaming hoping it would help substitute all the things he was not able to do. Mats spent the last ten years of his life before his death in 2014 rarely going out of the apartment he lived in. He spent the majority of his time gaming online. After Mats passed away his parents mourned what they thought was a very lonely and isolated life, that was until Robert decided he needed to reach out to the gaming community to tell them Mats would no longer be logging on.
Robert was not prepared for what happened next. He received many, many emails from people around the world shining a new light on the life of his son. Mats' story had a profound effect on Vicky Schaubert who reached out to Mats’ family to tell his story. After learning about Mats she apologised to her sons for her attitude towards the time they have spent gaming. Vicky attached no value to gamming and shamed them for wasting their time until she learned about Mats. Exploring Mats' story, Aleks discovers how easy it is to make assumptions about something you can't see - whether it’s inside the mind of another person, or inside the computer where connections and community offer a new opportunity for someone to find their people.
Produced by Kate Bissell
Researched by Laurence Cook
Aleks Krotoski takes a look at the way we use crutches, in both our offline and online lives.
We all use crutches - from dummies to cigarettes, from computer games and snapchat filters to people or food. It’s distraction from whatever it is lying beneath the surface.
But sometimes crutches stop being a short-term solution, and start being part of the problem.
From here, life can get complex.
How much do crutches help us, and how much does it hide the problems we need to tackle head-on?
Producer: Caitlin Smith
What is happening to us, now that we have access to all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips? If the headlines are to be believed, we are swimming upstream through relentless waves of alternative facts, drowning in an ocean of misinformation. And the internet? It’s the culprit.
But here’s the thing: we are enthralled by what we think is online wisdom - the words of the sage, and the learned. Unfortunately, as we’ve discovered through a lot of mishaps, a lot of the information that’s out there isn’t particularly wise. Aleks Krotoski looks to traditional sources of wisdom to give us advice on what we should do with our library of knowledge.