Voice Risk Analysis
Voice Risk Analysis is a type of speech scanning software which is used in the insurance industry, and which is now being trialled by county councils to help identify suspect benefits claims. In Harrow in north west London, a pilot which began in May - funded by the Department of Work and Pensions - has attracted enough attention for other councils, including Edinburgh and Birmingham - to plan trials of their own. However, critics say there is no independent evidence to show that the software works. Simon visits Harrow Council to see the software in action. So far, explains Councillor Paul Osborn, the trial has been a success, saving them over £100 000. But can that saving be directly attributed to the technology? Back in the studio, forensic speech scientist Professor Peter French voices his concerns about the validity and reliability of VRA; psychologist Dr Albert de Vries from Nemesyco, the Israeli company which developed the software is there to defend the system.
Think of the life of a student vet, and white coats and wellies spring to mind more readily than wikis and webcams. But at The Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, web technologies are changing the way young vets are taught. Hermione Cockburn takes a tour around their virtual veterinary practice.
Print on Demand
As technology develops, a vision is developing of a world where every book ever published is available digitally, and could be ordered up, printed out and bound in your local bookshop - all at the click of a mouse. Simon meets bookseller Matthew Crockatt, who believes that by combining the power of the internet with the versatility of books, print on demand could revolutionise the book trade; and Francis Bennett, chair of the Booksellers' Association's Digital Task Force, explains why digitisation is the biggest issue facing the publishing world today.
Digital Rights Management
Digital Rights Management (DRM) the term used to describe the technologies which allow copyright holders to control the use of digital works - for example, the extent to which a music file or DVD can be copied and moved around. Its supporters say it's important to prevent unauthorised duplication of copyrighted works, but opponents argue that copyright law cannot be applied by computers, and that DRM is restricting use of material to such an extent that consumers are suffering - becoming "locked in" to using particular systems, and even unable to access material they have acquired legitimately. Becky Hogge from the Open Rights Group and Struan Robertson, a technology lawyer with Pinsent Masons, join Simon in the studio to discuss the pros and cons of DRM.