Computing in schools - alarm bells over England's classes

Student Image copyright Getty
Image caption Experts fear a shortage of skilled computing students could harm England's prospects

Computing education in England's schools is going through a revolution, but there is evidence that too few pupils want to be part of it.

Figures from the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) show only a modest rise in students taking the new computer science GCSE.

Experts are concerned.

The British Computer Society warns the number studying for a computing qualification could halve by 2020.

The organisation - which is the professional body for the IT industry - says that would be a disaster for the economy.

Read full article Computing in schools - alarm bells over England's classes

Tech Tent - gaming futures, Uber culture and a rocket man

Rory Cellan-Jones

It was the week when the gaming console wars took a new turn, when accusations of a poisonous culture at Uber saw the founder take a leave of absence - and when a real-life rocket man wowed a gathering of elite tech founders and investors. That's all in this week's edition of Tech Tent.

Console battles

Image copyright Microsoft
Image caption No mention of VR in the unveiling of the Xbox One X

The E3 expo in Los Angeles is the biggest event in the games calendar, the place to see where the industry is heading. Back in 2005, when I first attended, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft showed off its Xbox 360, setting the scene for a titanic battle between the two giants - although Nintendo's Wii turned out to be a more engaging and disruptive force in the console wars than anyone had expected.

Read full article Tech Tent - gaming futures, Uber culture and a rocket man

Tech Tent: fake news, algorithms and listening gadgets

Rory Cellan-Jones

In an era of fake news and alternative facts, how can scientists re-engage with the public and make sure they are respected and understood? That's a big theme at the Cheltenham Science Festival from which this week's edition of Tech Tent comes.

We also discuss the growing importance of algorithms in our lives - and ask whether we should be worried that our gadgets are listening to us.

Science under siege

Read full article Tech Tent: fake news, algorithms and listening gadgets

Something must be done...but what?

Facebook and Twitter apps on a phone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Tech firms such as Facebook and Twitter have been asked to do more to prevent the spread of extremist content

In the days since the London Bridge attack, the pressure on internet companies has been building. They have been told they must take action in two areas - preventing the spread of extremist content, and ending the provision of a safe space for terrorists.

But when I talked to representatives of the major firms they were confused. "We're told 'something must be done,'" one executive told me. "But it's not clear what that "something" is."

Read full article Something must be done...but what?

Is it dangerous for humans to depend on computers?

China's 19-year-old Go player Ke Jie reacts during the first match against Google's artificial intelligence programme AlphaG Image copyright Getty Images

In the last week, we have seen the best and worst of computer technology.

In China, Google's DeepMind artificial intelligence program took on and beat the world champion of the complex game of Go, reducing him to tears. Nineteen-year-old Ke Jie described the AI computer as "perfect, flawless, without any emotions".

Read full article Is it dangerous for humans to depend on computers?

Tech Tent: BA’s computer meltdown

Rory Cellan-Jones

This week has seen another example of the chaos that can ensue when complex computer systems fail. On Tech Tent we try to draw some lessons from the British Airways IT fiasco.

We also discuss bullying in online games and hear what the criminal underworld is saying about the WannaCry ransomware attack.

Lessons from an IT disaster

Read full article Tech Tent: BA’s computer meltdown

What went wrong at BA?

Travel chaos at Heathrow Image copyright Getty Images

As British Airways (BA) finally starts to recover from a disastrous IT failure, an inquest is under way into what went wrong and why it has taken so long to fix it.

I've been contacted by someone who spent 30 years in corporate IT with some interesting theories.

Read full article What went wrong at BA?

Tech Tent: Safer social networks and retro phones

Rory Cellan-Jones

How do social media giants cope with an ever increasing torrent of offensive material posted by their users? On this week's Tech Tent we look at the problem of moderation, after Facebook's training manual detailing how it decides what to allow and what to delete was leaked.

We also talk about the future of work as the robots advance, and we ask whether a retro phone is a sign that we are getting tired of being connected all the time.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption UK PM Theresa May urged action against online extremism when she addressed the G8 summit

The Moderation Game

Read full article Tech Tent: Safer social networks and retro phones

Tech Tent: France's tech ambitions

Rory Cellan-Jones

Just as Tech Tent was winding up last Friday, a message flashed on my screen about computer problems at NHS hospitals.

It rapidly became clear that one of the most damaging cyber-crimes we've seen was under way - and on this week's programme we look at what's emerged about the possible identity of the people behind the Wannacry ransomware.

Read full article Tech Tent: France's tech ambitions

Ransomware and the NHS - the inquest begins

Accident and Emergency entrance Image copyright EPA

We now know that Friday's ransomware attack was a global cybercrime, hitting organisations ranging from the Russian Interior Ministry to the delivery firm Fedex.

But the most serious impact was here in the UK on the National Health Service. So what made our hospitals so vulnerable?

Read full article Ransomware and the NHS - the inquest begins