BBC News


The robot that tidies up bedrooms

BBC News

A company in Japan is trying to teach a pair of machines to bring order to the chaos of child's bedroom, using the same artificial intelligence it uses for self-driving cars and smart factories.


Gatwick drone attack possible inside job, say police

BBC News

The drone attack that caused chaos at Gatwick before Christmas was carried out by someone with knowledge of the airport's operational procedures, the airport has said. A Gatwick chief told BBC Panorama the drone's pilot "seemed to be able to see what was happening on the runway". Sussex Police told the programme the possibility an "insider" was involved was a "credible line" of inquiry. About 140,000 passengers were caught up in the disruption. The runway at the UK's second busiest airport was closed for 33 hours between 19 and 21 December last year - causing about 1,000 flights to be cancelled or delayed.


The robot that sorts out recycling

BBC News

Using pressure sensors to detect an item's size and composition, the RoCycle system can place items in the appropriate recycling bins.


Sex attacks involving dating apps on the rise - police figures

BBC News

The number of recorded sexual offences involving online dating sites and apps has almost doubled in the last four years, police figures suggest. Offences where a dating site was mentioned in a police report increased from 156 in 2015, to 286 last year, according to figures from 23 of the 43 forces in England and Wales. The Online Dating Association said apps try to protect users from harm. But the National Police Chiefs' Council said firms had a duty to do more. The figures reveal that between 2015 and 2018 there were a total of 2,029 recorded offences - including sexual offences - where an online dating website or app was mentioned in a police report.


How does it feel to be watched at work all the time?

BBC News

Is workplace surveillance about improving productivity or simply a way to control staff and weed out poor performers? Courtney Hagen Ford, 34, left her job working as a bank teller because she found the surveillance she was under was "dehumanising". Her employer logged her keystrokes and used software to monitor how many of the customers she helped went on to take out loans and fee-paying accounts. "The sales pressure was relentless," she recalls. She decided selling fast food would be better, but ironically, left the bank to do a doctorate in surveillance technology.


LK Bennett bought but 15 stores to close

BBC News

High-end fashion chain LK Bennett has been bought out of administration, saving 325 jobs. However, 15 of the retailer's stores are not included in the deal and will close, leading to the loss of 110 jobs. LK Bennett has been bought by Byland UK which was set up by Rebecca Feng, who runs the company's Chinese franchises. The sale includes the company's headquarters, 21 stores and all of its concessions. The amount paid has not been disclosed.


'I was the only girl in A-level electronics'

BBC News

As a little girl Khadijah Ismail would spend hours watching aeroplanes through the window of the attic bedroom she shared with her sister near Manchester Airport. She even wrote the airport a letter "on fancy paper and everything", giving her address and asking them to send more planes past her house. The eldest of four children, Khadijah loved maths and got a scholarship to a highly academic private day school. Her mum and dad hoped she would be the first in the family with a university degree. At 16 she won a prestigious Arkwright Engineering Scholarship and put the award, of several hundred pounds, towards buying a robot for her school.


Katie Bouman: The woman behind the first black hole image

BBC News

A 29-year-old computer scientist has earned plaudits worldwide for helping develop the algorithm that created the first-ever image of a black hole. Katie Bouman led development of a computer program that made the breakthrough image possible. The remarkable photo, showing a halo of dust and gas 500 million trillion km from Earth, was released on Wednesday. For Dr Bouman, its creation was the realisation of an endeavour previously thought impossible. Excitedly bracing herself for the groundbreaking moment, Dr Bouman was pictured loading the image on her laptop.


Smart speaker recordings reviewed by humans

BBC News

Amazon, Apple and Google all employ staff who listen to customer voice recordings from their smart speakers and voice assistant apps. News site Bloomberg highlighted the topic after speaking to Amazon staff who "reviewed" Alexa recordings. All three companies say voice recordings are occasionally reviewed to improve speech recognition. But the reaction to the Bloomberg article suggests many customers are unaware that humans may be listening. The news site said it had spoken to seven people who reviewed audio from Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Alexa service.


What's the new weapon against money laundering gangsters?

BBC News

Money laundering accounts for up to 5% of global GDP - or $2tn (£1.5tn) - every year, says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. So banks and law enforcement agencies are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to help combat the growing problem. Money laundering, so-called after gangster Al Capone's practice of hiding criminal proceeds in cash-only laundromats in the 1920s, is a huge and growing problem. "Dirty" money is "cleaned" by passing it through layers of seemingly legitimate banks and businesses and using it to buy properties, businesses, expensive cars, works of art - anything that can be sold on for new cash. And one of the ways criminals do this is called "smurfing".