Alien Technology • 2015 • episode "10/10" Catalyst: Season 1

Category: Technology

Is there anyone out there? Does the popular movie quote 'ET phone home' have any substance? Astronomers have been pointing their radio telescopes at the skies for decades trying to pick up alien signals. Hitch a ride as we join astronomers trawling through the galaxy looking for signs of life.

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Catalyst: Season 1 • 2015 • 10 episodes •

Polar People

Each year, over 2000 people apply for jobs in Antarctica, but few are successful. What are the physical and psychological attributes required to work in the most remote location on Earth? Could you snag a job in sub-zero temperatures at an Antarctic station?

2015 • People

Our Chemical Lives

Thousands of chemicals are used in everyday products – in our water, our food and in the air we breathe. It’s the chemical soup of modern life and it’s virtually impossible to escape them. Is there adequate regulation and testing, or are we in the midst of an uncontrolled, human experiment?

2015 • Health

Anti-venom

Good to know as you travel to the Antipodes - Australia has the most venomous snakes and spiders in the world. But, if you’re bitten, can you rely on anti-venom? Dr Graham Phillips investigates the effectiveness of anti-venom.

2015 • Health

Future Cities

It's amazing to think that in the 1900s a mere tenth of the world's population lived and worked in cities. Now it is over half. With soaring populations, how will we keep our cities live-able? And what will the city of tomorrow look like?

2015 • Environment

Quantum Computing

The promise of quantum computers is that what would otherwise take a billion years to calculate, could be done in a few seconds. First-generation quantum computers have started to appear. Indeed, earlier this year, Google bought one, The D-Wave 2. How will this advance change our future lives?

2015 • Technology

Powering the Mind

What is memory? How do our memories change from childhood to adulthood? How we can build up greater brain reserves to power our mind into old age? Brain epigenetics, how the expression of our DNA can be changed by our experiences, is an intriguing new area of science with huge health implications.

2015 • Brain

Extreme Weather

This special report looks at the domino effect of environmental and atmospheric factors that drive the globe to wetter, hotter, drier and colder extremes.

2015 • Environment

Tokyo Flood Prevention

Fifty meters beneath the teeming mega-city of Tokyo is an underworld river system - 6.4km of tunnels, colossal water tanks, massive pillars, giant pumps that remove 200 tons of floodwater every second. It’s an engineering marvel built to protect Tokyo against the increasing threat of flooding.

2015 • Technology

Mega Tsunamis

By investigating the tell-tale signs of earthquakes and tsunamis written into the landscape over the last thousand years, Japanese scientists are rewriting the rule books for disaster prevention in the Pacific.

2015 • Environment

Alien Technology

Is there anyone out there? Does the popular movie quote 'ET phone home' have any substance? Astronomers have been pointing their radio telescopes at the skies for decades trying to pick up alien signals. Hitch a ride as we join astronomers trawling through the galaxy looking for signs of life.

2015 • Technology

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My AI Life

Mike Wooldridge reveals the huge role AI already plays in our daily lives – sometimes without us even realising its role. Mike investigates how games like chess and Go have become a training ground for AI, helping to bring about key advances we are now seeing in the field, and he reveals how simple methods of learning, like rewarding success, have been used to train AI in spectacular ways. We also feature some of the revolutionary innovations that AI has brought about in healthcare, from the use of AI tools in planning cancer treatment, to monitoring Parkinson's. Mike is joined by members of DeepMind's AlphaFold team, who use AI to predict the structures of large numbers of proteins, which will revolutionise the creation of new drugs across the world. We also reveal the huge impact AI has had on our creative lives – as it is able to write songs and create artworks in seconds. With the help of artist Eric Drass (aka shardcore), the audience creates a collaborative artwork and discovers how image generation works. Mike explores the thorny question of who the creator is – the AI itself, the human who set it to work, or the creators of the art that AI has learned from? The Christmas Lectures are the most prestigious event in the Royal Institution calendar, dating from 1825, when Michael Faraday founded the series. They are the world's longest running science television series, and always promise to inspire and amaze each year through explosive demonstrations and interactive experiments with the live theatre audience.

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