Learning to live with robots

Media captionAre people ready for robot colleagues?

I spent a couple of days this week in the company of robots.

They seemed friendly, they were keen to make conversation, and they could do a few quite clever things.

But I came away from the Innorobo exhibition in Paris with few fears about the prospect of an imminent robot takeover.

Perhaps that is because, as we discuss in today's edition of Tech Tent, the robotics industry is now anxious to improve the image of its products.

All the talk in Paris was of cobots, or collaborative robots. Until now, industrial robots have been expensive single-purpose machines, locked behind cages, designed to replace humans doing a repetitive task like welding in a car factory.

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Music and YouTube - an uneasy marriage

Adele Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Adele had a record share of the global music market

The British music industry had a great year in 2015.

Adele's 25 was one of the best-selling albums of all-time and she, along with other British artists, had a record share of the global music market.

Read full article Music and YouTube - an uneasy marriage

Android Pay in UK: A tipping point for mobile payments?

Media captionRory Cellan-Jones tries out Android Pay

Google is launching Android Pay, its tap-and-go contactless payment service, in the UK.

Nearly 60% of the country's smartphone users own an Android handset.

Read full article Android Pay in UK: A tipping point for mobile payments?

Estonia - the Skype effect

Media captionWATCH: Will delivery bots soon take to the streets?

On the Technopolis industrial park in Tallinn, Estonia, Ahti Heinla is pointing out some local landmarks from his office.

That modern white building just across the lake is the current Skype office, he explains. The red brick building right outside the window is where Estonia's most famous tech company started.

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Becoming a virtual Estonian

Image caption Rory is now a signed-up e-resident of Estonia

I've just acquired a whole new identity. It comes in the form of a plastic card with a chip in it, and it means that I am now a resident of Estonia. Or rather an e-resident, because this card is a symbol of Estonia's bold ambition - to export its expertise in digital identity to the wider world.

The e-Residency programme, which has already attracted 10,000 people from around the world, offers anyone who pays 100 Euros some of the benefits of the digital ID cards which Estonia's 1.3 million citizens have had for more than a decade.

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O2, Three and our 5G future

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The UK would have been reduced to three major phone network operators

It was the deal that was supposed to be the final stage in the reshaping of Britain's mobile phone market. But now the O2/Three marriage has been blocked by Brussels, where does that leave phone users?

Better off, according to regulators. The UK's communications regulator Ofcom, in particular, had argued that allowing the number of players in the market to fall from four to three would inevitably lead to higher prices, poorer service or both.

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'Bitcoin creator': I do not have the courage

Craig Wright Image copyright PA
Image caption Dr Wright blogged that he was "not strong enough" to publish proof that he invented Bitcoin

On Monday, the BBC gave extensive coverage to Craig Wright's claims that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. The following day, as many in the cryptographic community tore into his claims, he promised further "extraordinary proof".

But in the last 24 hours, he has first initiated an experiment designed to show that he does possess Satoshi's cryptographic keys, then done an about-turn with a blog saying he "does not have the courage" to carry this through.

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The Bitcoin affair: Craig Wright promises extraordinary proof

Craig Wright

The man who has identified himself as the creator of Bitcoin plans to provide further proof of his claim.

Craig Wright's spokesman told the BBC that the Australian would "move a coin from an early block" known to belong to the crypto-currency's inventor "in the coming days".

Read full article The Bitcoin affair: Craig Wright promises extraordinary proof

Meetings with Satoshi

Craig Wright
Image caption Craig Wright says he is the creator of Bitcoin

It was in a conference room above a coffee shop a fifteen minute walk from BBC Broadcasting House that we first met the man who says he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

As we walked in, three or four people were waiting around a table - but which one, I wondered, was the father of Bitcoin?

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Six searches that show the power of Google

  • 26 April 2016
  • From the section Magazine
google search with magnifying glass Image copyright Alamy

There is a word that you never heard anyone use 20 years ago. But today, according to research from Lancaster University, which examined millions of words of casual conversation, it crops up more frequently than "clever", "eggs", "fridge", or "death". That word is Google.

To search is to Google, to Google is to search.

Read full article Six searches that show the power of Google