This Valentine’s Day – are you ready for AI love?

Valentine’s Day: a celebration of cherubs, chocolates and human contact. Until COVID-19 hit. As the global pandemic continues to rip up the dating rulebook, and with loneliness at an all-time high, is now the right time to consider if we can start to love machines?


Robot relationships become a real possibility this Valentine’s

Tinder. Bumble. Grindr. The notion of digitized matchmaking is nothing new, but normally a love match is followed by dating in real life. However, with COVID-19 bringing feelings of isolation, detachment and loneliness, even digital dates don’t satisfy our need for human interaction. The answer? AI-powered sex companions and robot relationships.

Back in 2018, Forbes described sex robots as “the most disruptive technology we didn’t see coming,” predicting robots will become familiar companions in the future. As people attempt to replace Netflix with new interactions, we may be on the cusp of a surge in AI, robot and virtual relationships.

The year of love and loneliness

Found in Kaspersky’s Love and Loneliness campaign, 84 percent of people across Europe admitted they are lonelier during the pandemic than before. This detachment from human contact meant that nearly two in three 18 to 34-year-olds used technologies like video-calling, online dating and chatbots to fight feelings of loneliness. A clear sign that we’re now more likely to seek companionship using tech in times of need.

Be still, my mechanical heart

A year has passed since COVID-19 entered most of our lives. During this time, we;ve become more confident and creative with the tech we use. And as feelings of loneliness intensify, it’s fair to say that the idea of artificial comfort, company or closeness is no longer as bizarre as it may have seemed before the pandemic.

We’re heading towards another Valentine’s Day, and for those already feeling detached, technology could provide a (literal) release. Using AI and robots to enhance sex and relationships won’t be for everyone, but for those who do explore this novel territory, it’s a meaningful option. Just as using dating apps or going on a Zoom date was considered bizarre just a few years ago, this tech could be the future of love.

We need to keep this new tech secure. The past year has called for heightened education around email scams and other escalating cybercrime threats. It’s knowledge that keeps people safe. And knowledge can only be shared if we’re open to discussing these new technologies without stigma.

Can we learn to love robots? Watch more stories about AI, robots and love in the Imagine Beyond episode: Build Me Somebody To Love.


Why do these farmers hack their tractors?


Taylor Rees is one of the most exciting filmmakers around, making documentaries from forgotten volcanic archipelagos to red-hot reflections on the American civil war. Who is Taylor Rees and what other documentaries has she made that you must see?

Who is Taylor Rees?

Director. Adventurer. Photographer. Environmental documentary filmmaker. The list goes on, but this description gives you an idea of her versatility and talent.

Taylor Rees’ work focuses on environmental and humanitarian issues, exploring stories beneath the surface with insatiable curiosity, deepening public understanding of natural resource conflicts, climate change and human rights. Her middle name is Freesolo: No moniker but a lasting reminder of her parents’ love of free climbing.

Where did Taylor Rees start making films?

Her career dates back to a Masters’s degree from Yale in environmental management and anthropology. This is the foundation for her stories, giving them a rigorous scientific and social justice approach.

Taylor Rees’ filmmaking style

Stylistically, Taylor’s work uses the power of landscape – skies, mountain ranges and large expanses. She also looks at a landscape’s story – the intricacies of its beauty, connection and how life interacts within different places. For storytellers out there, her TED talk is a must.

Taylor Rees said in a recent interview with culture and adventure journalist Simon Schreyer, “The love of what’s beautiful to me is deeply personal and it gives me a lot of intention, desire and drive to find aspects of beauty within a human life, or in a landscape, or in a way to incorporate that beauty in my own life. It’s like an indescribable phenomenon, that we don’t even know how to talk about rationally.”

Taylor Rees films

Down To Nothing (2015)

Her first film Down To Nothing follows a five-person team who set out on an ambitious trek to find out whether Burmese peak Hkakabo Razi is really Southeast Asia’s highest point.

Life Coach (2017)

Alaska’s Ruth Glacier is a climber’s dream. When director Taylor Rees and climbers Renan Ozturk and Alex Honnold choose a specific route to the top, unfortunately – or perhaps, fortunately – the weather puts a swift stop to their expectations. What follows is remarkable.

Watch Taylor Rees’ film Life Coach

Mentors: Hilaree Nelson (2018)

Is there room for glamour in the testosterone-filled world of ski mountaineering? Taylor and her team ask big questions as they follow ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson in a stunning depiction of masculinity and femininity in sport.

Watch Taylor Rees’ film Mentors: Hilaree Nelson

Ashes To Ashes (2019)

Both Black history and US history, Ashes to Ashes is one of Taylor Rees’ more poignant and at times horrific explorations of humanity. She follows Winfred Rembert, an artist and rare survivor of a Jim Crow-era attempted lynching, as he explains a dark past.

From Kurils With Love (2020)

When the guardian of an almost unreachable archipelago in the Far East of Russia hitched a ride with Taylor and her team, no one expected the result. From Kurils With Love’s team includes Rees’ spouse and fellow filmmaker Renan Ozturk. They set out to make a classic adventure story but what they got was something far more powerful.

The Ghosts Above (2020)

Taylor’s most recent work is set on Mount Everest and narrated by Renan Ozturk. The big question: Who was the first to reach the summit? Rees directs this gripping and sometimes strained look at the history of Everest expeditions, the fraught relationship between indigenous guides and the commercialization of a sacred mountain.

What will Taylor Rees do next?

If her previous work is anything to go by, the future is bright. To make sure you don’t miss her next project, keep up to date with Taylor’s adventures on her Instagram or the Taylor Freesolo Rees website.

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What data secrets can 185 hard drives tell you?


Join presenter Rainer Bock to explore the great privacy challenges we face today, and what we can do to protect ourselves.

Join the privacy debate

Online privacy is more important than ever right now. Given the digital world’s meteoric expansion, the ever-evolving threat landscape and murky data privacy court cases, this is the perfect time to brush up on what we’re up against and how to stay safe.

Rainer Bock meets cybersecurity experts from Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team, Marco Preuss and Félix Aimé. They discuss the critical stalkerware threat, programs that fight unwanted data sharing, and a bold privacy experiment involving 185 used hard drives, USB sticks and notepads.

The tech fuelling a new wave of gender violence

How could her partner know where she is every day? Why does his girlfriend know who he’s messaging? The answer could be a disturbing new technology that’s fuelling a new wave of violence across the globe. The worst thing? It’s as easy as downloading an app.


This app can install violence

Consumer surveillance and privacy are hot topics. Not only because they’re the cornerstone of our human rights, but now digital tech is pressing the fast forward button on spying techniques. One dangerous software, fuelling a new wave of gender violence, is stalkerware.

Spouseware. Legal Spyware. Stalkerware. It has many names, but the premise is simple. Stalkerware is software used to secretly spy on another person’s private life via a smart device. Usually installed secretly on mobile phones by co-called ‘friends’, paranoid partners (hence the spouseware title) and others, stalkerware tracks everything from the victim’s physical location and internet activity, to text messages and phone calls to friends. Even though it’s sometimes defined as legal spyware, it’s anything but. Victims can’t spot it too. Meanwhile, stalkers are accessing a wide range of personal data, and it’s having bad repercussions for today’s relationships.

A new form of relationship violence

Stalkerware is on the rise. In 2019, Kaspersky detected a 67 percent year-on-year increase of stalkerware on users’ mobile devices globally; Germany, Italy and France were the most hit countries in Europe. Perhaps more shockingly, early data suggests the situation didn’t improve in 2020. Alessandra Pauncz, Executive Director of WWP European Network, highlights how dangerous this threat is, “The effects of cyber-violence on women and girls are devastating because they’re part of a continuum of violence that deprives them of their freedom.”

It’s fuelling a new type of violence across the globe, in which people take away their partner’s freedom – in more ways than one. But aside from violating privacy, for victims and their abusers, there are other dangers. As a form of malware – short for “malicious software,” a type of computer program designed to infect a user’s computer and inflict harm – these programs can expose the victims’ data and breach protection tech, increasing the chances of their device getting infected by other malware.

It might sound like attackers are predominantly men, but Eva Galperin, Director of Cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, notes that “this is not just a ‘men spying on women’ issue.” From former spouses spying on people through internet-connect thermostats to men being outed as gay, Eva and her team have seen all manner of stalkerware victims and cases.

Fighting for online privacy and data protection

Before stalkerware hit the mainstream, Eva was leading the fightback. She was outraged by a hacker who abused women then threatened to compromise their devices if they spoke out. Now she’s an influential voice in the fight against stalkerware, helping thousands of victims get their privacy back. Watch her story, featured in our series Defenders of Digital.

Education can combat stalkerware

Stalkerware isn’t the easiest enemy to spot, but it starts with education. As Alfonso Ramirez, General Manager at Kaspersky Spain says, “It’s quite hard to fight against stalkerware using only tech tools. However, it would really help if practitioners and users are aware stalkerware exists, know how to recognize the signs of this software being installed on their devices and what to do next.”

As awareness rises, with Eva and others leading the charge, new global initiatives to fight back are cropping up, like DeStalk. Created by Kaspersky and NGO partners, DeStalk is an EU-wide project designed to educate people, professionals and the government on how to spot stalkers and deal with them.

We have a gender violence pandemic on our hands. Help fight stalkerware. Check out Stop Stalkerware to educate yourself and your loved ones.

Touchdown: Perseverance Rover lands on Mars


Taylor Rees is one of the most exciting filmmakers around, making documentaries from forgotten volcanic archipelagos to red-hot reflections on the American civil war. Who is Taylor Rees and what other documentaries has she made that you must see?

Who is Taylor Rees?

Director. Adventurer. Photographer. Environmental documentary filmmaker. The list goes on, but this description gives you an idea of her versatility and talent.

Taylor Rees’ work focuses on environmental and humanitarian issues, exploring stories beneath the surface with insatiable curiosity, deepening public understanding of natural resource conflicts, climate change and human rights. Her middle name is Freesolo: No moniker but a lasting reminder of her parents’ love of free climbing.

Where did Taylor Rees start making films?

Her career dates back to a Masters’s degree from Yale in environmental management and anthropology. This is the foundation for her stories, giving them a rigorous scientific and social justice approach.

Taylor Rees’ filmmaking style

Stylistically, Taylor’s work uses the power of landscape – skies, mountain ranges and large expanses. She also looks at a landscape’s story – the intricacies of its beauty, connection and how life interacts within different places. For storytellers out there, her TED talk is a must.

Taylor Rees said in a recent interview with culture and adventure journalist Simon Schreyer, “The love of what’s beautiful to me is deeply personal and it gives me a lot of intention, desire and drive to find aspects of beauty within a human life, or in a landscape, or in a way to incorporate that beauty in my own life. It’s like an indescribable phenomenon, that we don’t even know how to talk about rationally.”

Taylor Rees films

Down To Nothing (2015)

Her first film Down To Nothing follows a five-person team who set out on an ambitious trek to find out whether Burmese peak Hkakabo Razi is really Southeast Asia’s highest point.

Life Coach (2017)

Alaska’s Ruth Glacier is a climber’s dream. When director Taylor Rees and climbers Renan Ozturk and Alex Honnold choose a specific route to the top, unfortunately – or perhaps, fortunately – the weather puts a swift stop to their expectations. What follows is remarkable.

Watch Taylor Rees’ film Life Coach

Mentors: Hilaree Nelson (2018)

Is there room for glamour in the testosterone-filled world of ski mountaineering? Taylor and her team ask big questions as they follow ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson in a stunning depiction of masculinity and femininity in sport.

Watch Taylor Rees’ film Mentors: Hilaree Nelson

Ashes To Ashes (2019)

Both Black history and US history, Ashes to Ashes is one of Taylor Rees’ more poignant and at times horrific explorations of humanity. She follows Winfred Rembert, an artist and rare survivor of a Jim Crow-era attempted lynching, as he explains a dark past.

From Kurils With Love (2020)

When the guardian of an almost unreachable archipelago in the Far East of Russia hitched a ride with Taylor and her team, no one expected the result. From Kurils With Love’s team includes Rees’ spouse and fellow filmmaker Renan Ozturk. They set out to make a classic adventure story but what they got was something far more powerful.

The Ghosts Above (2020)

Taylor’s most recent work is set on Mount Everest and narrated by Renan Ozturk. The big question: Who was the first to reach the summit? Rees directs this gripping and sometimes strained look at the history of Everest expeditions, the fraught relationship between indigenous guides and the commercialization of a sacred mountain.

What will Taylor Rees do next?

If her previous work is anything to go by, the future is bright. To make sure you don’t miss her next project, keep up to date with Taylor’s adventures on her Instagram or the Taylor Freesolo Rees website.

Read More Show Less

Venezuela’s failed cryptocurrency experiment

Fighting hyperinflation with a state-backed cryptocurrency. What could possibly go wrong?


What happens when an authoritarian regime that controls every aspect of an economy creates a currency based on decentralization, free movement, and transparency? This is the explosive true story behind the world’s first state-backed cryptocurrency.

A country-wide crypto experiment gone wrong

How many state governments do you know who’d put their faith in a cryptocurrency to level out hyperinflation and stop nation-wide riots? Not many, probably. And yet, that’s exactly what Venezuala did to reinvigorate its economy amid financial carnage. Truthfully though, they didn’t do too many of the hard yards. Instead, they supported entrepreneur Gabriel Jimenez to create the petro (₽), or petromoneda – the world’s first state-backed cryptocurrency.

But as you can expect, when an authoritarian regime meets tech based on decentralization, there will be fireworks. As part of Tomorrow Unlocked’s Coded series three, (now launching on Freethink) episode four focuses on entrepreneur and crypto-expert Gabriel Jimenez’s journey from national hero to enemy of the state. Brace yourself for this one.

Games could help develop better assistive tech


For disabled people, high-tech assistance systems are breaking barriers. Competitors in multi-sport championship Cybathlon are showing how these technologies are changing the game.

State-of-the-art ‘pilots’ are opening doors

It’s easy to take independence for granted, but for someone with a disability, a new piece of assistive technology that lets them perform an everyday task without help can never come soon enough.

To show the power of technological assistance systems (known to many as ‘pilots,’) every four years in Zürich, Switzerland, disabled people with software developers, engineers and neuroscientists use state-of-the-art assistance tech to compete in the multi-sport championship Cybathlon.

Of course, there are medals at stake. But Cybathlon exists to promote experimenting with assistive technologies to extend disabled people’s access to all parts of life. From using brain power to control avatars, to navigating obstacle courses with augmented limbs, Cybathlon wants to make sure we can all expect independence, regardless of impairment or injury.

Even Covid couldn’t stand in the way of Cybathlon 2020. Here’s how Cybathlon’s organizers and competing teams changed tack to deliver its most inclusive events yet.

Why is autonomy important in space?


Taylor Rees is one of the most exciting filmmakers around, making documentaries from forgotten volcanic archipelagos to red-hot reflections on the American civil war. Who is Taylor Rees and what other documentaries has she made that you must see?

Who is Taylor Rees?

Director. Adventurer. Photographer. Environmental documentary filmmaker. The list goes on, but this description gives you an idea of her versatility and talent.

Taylor Rees’ work focuses on environmental and humanitarian issues, exploring stories beneath the surface with insatiable curiosity, deepening public understanding of natural resource conflicts, climate change and human rights. Her middle name is Freesolo: No moniker but a lasting reminder of her parents’ love of free climbing.

Where did Taylor Rees start making films?

Her career dates back to a Masters’s degree from Yale in environmental management and anthropology. This is the foundation for her stories, giving them a rigorous scientific and social justice approach.

Taylor Rees’ filmmaking style

Stylistically, Taylor’s work uses the power of landscape – skies, mountain ranges and large expanses. She also looks at a landscape’s story – the intricacies of its beauty, connection and how life interacts within different places. For storytellers out there, her TED talk is a must.

Taylor Rees said in a recent interview with culture and adventure journalist Simon Schreyer, “The love of what’s beautiful to me is deeply personal and it gives me a lot of intention, desire and drive to find aspects of beauty within a human life, or in a landscape, or in a way to incorporate that beauty in my own life. It’s like an indescribable phenomenon, that we don’t even know how to talk about rationally.”

Taylor Rees films

Down To Nothing (2015)

Her first film Down To Nothing follows a five-person team who set out on an ambitious trek to find out whether Burmese peak Hkakabo Razi is really Southeast Asia’s highest point.

Life Coach (2017)

Alaska’s Ruth Glacier is a climber’s dream. When director Taylor Rees and climbers Renan Ozturk and Alex Honnold choose a specific route to the top, unfortunately – or perhaps, fortunately – the weather puts a swift stop to their expectations. What follows is remarkable.

Watch Taylor Rees’ film Life Coach

Mentors: Hilaree Nelson (2018)

Is there room for glamour in the testosterone-filled world of ski mountaineering? Taylor and her team ask big questions as they follow ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson in a stunning depiction of masculinity and femininity in sport.

Watch Taylor Rees’ film Mentors: Hilaree Nelson

Ashes To Ashes (2019)

Both Black history and US history, Ashes to Ashes is one of Taylor Rees’ more poignant and at times horrific explorations of humanity. She follows Winfred Rembert, an artist and rare survivor of a Jim Crow-era attempted lynching, as he explains a dark past.

From Kurils With Love (2020)

When the guardian of an almost unreachable archipelago in the Far East of Russia hitched a ride with Taylor and her team, no one expected the result. From Kurils With Love’s team includes Rees’ spouse and fellow filmmaker Renan Ozturk. They set out to make a classic adventure story but what they got was something far more powerful.

The Ghosts Above (2020)

Taylor’s most recent work is set on Mount Everest and narrated by Renan Ozturk. The big question: Who was the first to reach the summit? Rees directs this gripping and sometimes strained look at the history of Everest expeditions, the fraught relationship between indigenous guides and the commercialization of a sacred mountain.

What will Taylor Rees do next?

If her previous work is anything to go by, the future is bright. To make sure you don’t miss her next project, keep up to date with Taylor’s adventures on her Instagram or the Taylor Freesolo Rees website.

Read More Show Less