Science fiction has long anticipated the rise of machine intelligence. Today, a new generation of self-learning computers is reshaping every aspect of our lives. Incomprehensible amounts of data are being collected, interpreted, and fed back to us in a tsunami of apps, smart devices, and targeted advertisements. Virtually every industry on earth is feeling this transformation, from job automation to medical diagnostics, from elections to battlefield weapons. Do You Trust This Computer? explores the promises and perils of this developing era. Will A.I. usher in an age of unprecedented potential, or prove to be our final invention?
2018 • Technology
Facebook is thought to know more about us than any other business in history, but what does the social network that Mark Zuckerberg built do with all of our personal information? Reporter Darragh MacIntyre investigates how Facebook's powerful algorithms allow advertisers and politicians to target us more directly than ever before, and he questions whether the company's size and complexity now makes it impossible to regulate.
SILICON VALLEY tells the story of the pioneering scientists who transformed rural Santa Clara County into the hub of technological ingenuity we now know as Silicon Valley. The film spotlights the creativity of the young men who founded Fairchild Semiconductor and in particular the brilliant, charismatic young physicist Robert Noyce. Their radical innovations would include the integrated circuit that helped make the United States a leader in both space exploration and the personal computer revolution, transforming the way the world works, plays and communicates, making possible everything from the Apollo program to smart phones, from pacemakers to microwaves.
Explore the hidden history and super science of hot air balloons, synthetic rubber and metal detectors.
We explore the hidden history and super science of the wrist watch, the digital watch and the prosthetic leg.
In March 2015, Solar Impulse II launched the greatest aviation undertaking of our time: to be the first solar-powered airplane to fly around the world. It was a feat 12 years in the making, and was anything but a sure bet. NOVA follows intrepid pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg - two men bent on pushing the boundaries of human flight and proving renewable energy's potential. Along with a team of brilliant engineers, the two designed and built Solar Impulse from scratch - though top airplane manufacturers told them would be too big, too light, and impossible to control. NOVA follows the team as it overcomes seemingly insurmountable challenges to build and fly the first solar plane around the world.
Imagine a world without the power to capture or transmit sound. Journey with Steven Johnson to the Arcy sur Cure caves in northern France, where he finds the first traces of the desire to record sound — 30,000 years ago. He also learns about the difference that radio made in the civil rights movement and reveals the Hollywood star who designed a WW2 weapon that would make possible the modern cell phone network. During an ultrasound on a pregnant dolphin, he realizes just how big a role sound has played in medicine. The unsung heroes of sound have had an impact on our working lives, race relations, saving lives and the radical alteration of cities.
Only in the last 200 years have humans learned how to make things cold. Steven Johnson explains how ice entrepreneur Frederic Tudor made ice delivery one of the biggest export business in the U.S. and describes the place where Clarence Birdseye, the father of the frozen food industry, experienced his eureka moment. He also travels to Dubai to see how mastery of cold has led to penguins in the desert. From IVF to food, politics and Hollywood to human migration, the unsung heroes of cold have led the way.
Steven Johnson relates the story of people who take us out of the dark and into the light. Hear about Edison’s light bulb, which he didn’t actually invent, and learn how an 18th-century shipping community discovered a source of illumination by putting a kid inside a whale’s head. See how a French scientist accidentally discovered how to create neon light, leading to a revolution in advertising. Dispelling the myth of the individual “eureka” moment, Johnson reveals that teamwork and collaboration led the way to the most transformative ideas. Whether, altering the world’s sleeping patterns, giving rise to mass spectator sports, revolutionizing how global business is done or triggering one of the great social reforms in American history, the pioneers of light have made themselves indispensable throughout human history.
Join Steven Johnson and consider how the invention of the mirror spurred on the Renaissance, how glass lenses allow us to reveal worlds within worlds and how, deep beneath the ocean, glass is essential to communication. Johnson learns about the daring exploits of glassmakers who were forced to work under threat of the death penalty, a physics teacher who liked to fire molten glass from a crossbow and a scientist whose tinkering with a glass lens allowed 600 million people to see a man set foot on the moon. The link between the worlds of art, science, astronomy, disease prevention and global communication starts with the little-known maverick innovators of glass.
Board a submarine with Steven Johnson to discover what a lack of natural light means for a sailor’s working day and visit Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport, to try to get timings right at air traffic control. The story of getting a grip on time is full of curious garage tinkerers. One of them, railway clerk William F. Allen, was so exasperated by the chaos caused by the hundreds of local times zones in the U.S. that he fought tirelessly to standardize time into four zones. Learn how advancements in navigation, the way we work, technology and travel would have been impossible without the unsung heroes of time.
Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations and unsung heroes have changed our world. Steven Johnson plunges into a sewer to understand what made a maverick engineer decide to lift the city of Chicago with jackscrews in order to build America’s first sewer system. He talks about John Leal, who deliberately “poisoned” the water supply of 200,000 people when, without authorization, he added chlorine, considered lethal in 1908, into Jersey City’s water and made it safe to drink. This isn’t only about the world becoming a cleaner place — the iPhone, the subway, flat screen TVs and even the two piece swimsuit are the result of the valiant efforts of the unsung heroes of clean.
There's a power revolution heading for our homes – a device that allows you to take power into your own hands. It starts with batteries, home batteries, and they've been called the holy grail of renewables – the key to the transition away from fossil fuels.
The surprising story of the hidden powerhouse behind the globalised world - the diesel engine, a 19th-century invention that has become indispensable to the 21st century. It's a turtle versus hare tale in which the diesel engine races the petrol engine in a competition to replace ageing steam technology - a race eventually won hands down by diesel. Splendidly, car enthusiast presenter Mark Evans gets excitedly hands on with some of the many applications of Mr Diesel's - yes, there was one - original creation, from vintage submarines and tractors to locomotive trains and container ships. You'll never feel the same about that humble old diesel family car again.
The Boeing 787 according to its manufacturers is a revolution in air travel. Similar to the Airbus A380, the plane is made from carbon fiber reinforced plastics and aluminum glass fiber materials which are lighter and more resistant to fatigue. It is one of many planes that have been developed to reduce the carbon footprint while improving space, comfort and entertainment for its passengers.
Traditionally, regulators had insisted that all passenger aircraft be powered by at least three engines. But the development of more sophisticated airplanes eventually made twin-engine, long-distance travel feasible. A new standard was introduced, known as Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards, or ETOPS.
The Boeing 737 twin-engine jetliner was to become Boeing's greatest success. It had one of the lowest approach speeds of any jet transport, a great asset when landing at smaller airports with shorter runways. It also required minimum equipment for use in refueling. However, despite all its advantages, the 737 was soon overshadowed by the new, improved 747 Jumbo Jet.
Britain and France collaborated to build the world's first Concorde, a jet that could traverse the Atlantic in just 3 hours, at twice the speed of sound. The all-metal Trident jet was a popular choice for airlines but couldn't compete with the glamour and allure of the Concorde
In the early years, air fields were more concerned with utility than comfort with the first passengers becoming used to enduring the elements as they walked out to their flight. As the popularity of air transport increased, cities recognized the need to provide better service to passengers, and airports grew in design, to become the hub of activity and convenience they are today.
Airlines began to spring up everywhere, catering to the demands of passengers wanting to go just about anywhere, but the flights were only domestic at the time. Pre-war travel was sold as a luxury experience afforded only by the rich, but post war, the emphasis was on comfort and customer service for both the rich and middle class.
In 1966, British aviation expert Sir Frank Whittle was honored for his services to the aviation industry. Twenty-five years earlier, the aeronautical engineer had invented the jet engine, and ushered in a new era of air travel. On May the 15th, 1941, the first experimental flight using Whittle's engine took off over Cranwell, England and flew for 17 minutes, at a top speed of 545km per hour.
Seaplanes saw the dawn of the aviation industry as they could accommodate large numbers of passengers between continents, and only required a smooth body of water to land. Since the 1920's, advances in floatplane technology saw metal hulls introduced, a cantilevered design and single engine. Seaplanes continue to be an extremely popular mode of transportation.
The years following the First World War saw flying take off as serious business. Previously unimagined opportunities opened up, among them, skywriting and sightseeing tours. Flying became a bigger feature of life all around the world, not just as a novelty "adventure" for rich people but as a mode of transport available to just about anyone.
The decades following the First World War saw aircraft designers pushing the boundaries of aeronautical technology, moving the industry forward at a rapid pace. With new commercial markets opening up, it was the visionaries who held the key to success. Each invention promising a future filled with endless possibilities.
To fly an early airplane required skill, courage and a sense of adventure. The advent of the movie camera meant that their exploits could be broadcast to every corner of the globe, and recorded for posterity. The pilots of Germany, France and Britain who were able to master combat flying in time to prevent an early death were known as "Air Aces".
This program looks at the beginnings of flight, with innovators such as Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo DaVinci coming up with new ways to give man wings, and chronicles the invention of hot air balloons, Zeppelins, box kites, and of course the story of the most influential aviation inventors of all - Wilbur and Orville Wright.
Our lives are going digital. We shop, bank, and even date online. Computers hold our treasured photographs, private emails, and all of our personal information. This data is precious—and cybercriminals want it. Now, NOVA goes behind the scenes of the fast-paced world of cryptography to meet the scientists battling to keep our data safe. They are experts in extreme physics, math, and a new field called "ultra-paranoid computing," all working to forge unbreakable codes and build ultra-fast computers. From the sleuths who decoded the world's most advanced cyber weapon to scientists who believe they can store a password in your unconscious brain, NOVA investigates how a new global geek squad is harnessing cutting-edge science—all to stay one step ahead of the hackers.
Gordon Welchman was one of the original elite codebreakers crucial to the allies defeating the Nazis in World War II. He is the forgotten genius of Bletchley Park. Filmed extensively at Bletchley Park, the centre for codebreaking operations during World War II, this documentary features the abandoned buildings where thousands of people worked tirelessly trying to crack the codes, Hut 6, where Welchman pioneered his groundbreaking work, and the machines that Welchman helped design.
2015 • Technology
Imagine you could make a copy of a loved one. A digital clone with a life of its own – their Avatar. That’s the dream of biomechanical engineer, Dr Jordan Nguyen, and he says we have the technology to do it right now in the form of Virtual Reality.
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.
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.
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?
Game Loading Rise of the Indies, explores the new global subculture of independent game development. In the spirit of movements like the French New Wave, the Punk and Grunge scenes, hundreds of indie auteurs are emerging and finding success with their own unique voices and artistic goals. Independent filmmakers Lester Francois and Anna Brady began their project documenting the indie gaming scene in Australia. However, the scope of the project expanded from there with dozens of prominent independent game creators from more countries, including the US, Britain, Canada and Belgium. Developers like Davey Wreden, creator of the critically acclaimed The Stanley Parable,a free modification for Half-Life 2.
2015 • Technology
Atari: Game Over chronicles the fall of the Atari Corporation through the lens of one of the biggest mysteries of all time, dubbed “The Great Video Game Burial of 1983.” As the story goes, the Atari Corporation, faced with an overwhelmingly negative response to “E.T.,” the video game for the Atari 2600, disposed of hundreds of thousands of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico.
2014 • Technology
As YouTube turns ten, we chart the history of the last decade through the lens of the world's most famous video sharing site. It's the human story of those who created it, the stars it gave birth to, and the countries whose fates it changed. On April 23, 2005 the first YouTube video, "Meet Me at the Zoo," featuring co-founder Jawed Karim, was uploaded. Ten Years later, the video sharing platform has harnessed a power that has changed the world -transforming pop culture, rewriting the rules of politics, overthrowing governments, redefining the nature of news, and exposing us all to tweaking, planking, Psy, Beiber, and the car in the shark outfit on the robo-vac.
2015 • Technology
Automation in the Information Age is different.
Each day, some 2.5 trillion bytes of data are exchanged, a deluge known as "big data." How can we classify, store, and give meaning to this mass of digital information? Will our digital society remain capable of producing a lasting memory? Learn the fate of memory storage in the future.
2014 • Technology
Looks at the black market website known as the Silk Road, which emerged on the darknet in 2011. This 'Amazon of illegal drugs' was the brainchild of a mysterious, libertarian intellectual operating under the avatar The Dread Pirate Roberts. Promising its users complete anonymity and total freedom from government regulation or scrutiny, Silk Road became a million-dollar digital drugs cartel. Homeland Security, the DEA, the FBI and even the Secret Service mounted multiple investigations in the largest online manhunt the world had ever seen. But it would be a young tax inspector from the IRS, who had grown up in the projects of Brooklyn, who would finally crack the case and unmask 'DPR'.
2017 • Technology
The world's electric grids are aging and vulnerable. Now, engineers are making a dangerous trek to prove there is a better way to bring power to the people. Engineers make a dangerous trek across the Himalayas to bring power to a remote monastery.
In the future will we spend our leisure time with smart and sophisticated machines designed for fun - Entertainment Robots? Marvel at Mantis, a two ton insect and Tradinno, a giant fire-spitting dragon. Then take a seat and watch a mechanical actor and a robotic pianist perform.
From brains to eyes, hands to legs, and deep down to the internal organs; implants, prosthesis and rehabilitation are entering a new era potentially creating a new type of human being - The Bionic Man- in reality, not on retro TV. But what ethical concerns arise as we mix technology with biology?
Inhospitable environments that would normally be unreachable become accessible thanks to a new class of robot - Robot Explorers. Robots can help us in difficult tasks like search and rescue operations. Is there any danger in letting machines handle so many tasks that used to belong to us?
By the year 2050, three quarters of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Looking at robotic systems being developed worldwide we can take a glimpse at the city life of the future. Private transportation with self-driving cars, our homes with automated systems - robots are in our future.
Mankind has always looked at nature to solve problems, taking a cue from the solutions that biological systems have refined through natural selection. In this episode we look at a robotic plant that mimics the mechanics of plant roots, and dive underwater to see robots inspired by fish.
They look like us. They move like us. And very soon they will live among us. They are humanoid robots. Meet an astonishing group of humanoids, among them: iCub, the world's first baby robot, and REEM, the Service Robot, ready to be launched as a guide in public spaces. Get to know humanoids!
The car has shrunk the world, increased personal freedom and in so many ways expanded our horizons, but there is a flipside. Fumes from car exhausts have helped to destroy our environment, poisoned the air we breathe and killed us in far more straightforward ways. But all that is going to change. Horizon enters a world where cars can drive themselves, a world where we are simply passengers, ferried about by wholesome green compassionate technology which will never ever go wrong. And it is almost here. Horizon explores the artificial intelligence required to replace human drivers for cars themselves, peers into the future driverless world and discovers that, despite the glossy driverless PR (and assuming that they really can be made to work reliably), the reality is that it might not be all good news. From the ethics of driverless car crashes to the impact on jobs, it might be that cars are about to rise up against us in ways that none of us are expecting.
Look at a parallel world that humans cannot see. Among other stories, we delve into how boxers and table tennis pros see; the skills of Shaolin Monks; the way a bee transmits the locale of flowers, and the amazing lion fish and how it hunts.
Phenomena of incredible speed that we cannot see, captured in stunning detail using high-speed cameras. Watch the mechanics of dogs in motion (do their feet touch the ground?) Learn how a cat’s tongue works, experience the shockwaves of explosions, see the dynamics of fire -- and more!
With specialized photography we can view some amazing sights not visible to the human eye. Watch the "Kiss Experiment", the dynamics of the oldest weapon ever discovered, the brain waves of musicians and the scales on a butterfly's wing, amongst other awesome moments captured for our eyes to see.
We cannot see things like the movement of a sponge because its movements are too slow. But with specialized photography we can see imperceptibly slow and fast movements. See the dynamics of a child's first steps, rainfall, nocturnal animals and butterflies in flight-and the incredible archer fish.
Horizon looks at the issues that will change the way we live our lives in the future. Rather than relying on the minds of science fiction writers, mathematician Hannah Fry delves into the data we have today to provide an evidence-based vision of tomorrow. With the help of the BBC's science experts - and a few surprise guests - Hannah investigates the questions the British public want answered about the future. Hannah tries to discover whether we could ever live forever or if there will ever be a cure for cancer. She finds out how research into the human brain may one day help with mental health, and if it is possible to ever ditch fossil fuels. Hannah and her guests also discover the future of transport - and when, if ever, we really will see flying cars. She discovers whether a robot will take your job or if, as some believe, we will all one day actually become cyborgs. The programme predicts what the weather will be like and discovers if we are on the verge of another mass extinction. Hannah's tenth prediction is something she - and Horizon - are confident will definitely happen, and that is to expect the unexpected!
In 50 years from now, cities will be home to 70% of all human beings. They will have seven billion mouths to feed and will face an immense challenge in terms of food supply. Are hydroponics and vertical farming going to solve this challenge?
Megalopolises are spreading out and becoming denser -- and there is nowhere left to park. Luckily, the technology is there to deal with this growing chaos. Technological urbanism promises hyper-rational cities that are 100% sustainable and perfectly safe. They are known as smart cities.
DOWN THE DEEP, DARK WEB reverses everything you thought you knew about the internet and the dangers of the digital world. Our guide is Yuval Orr, a young journalist born in 1984 and well-aware of the gradual encroachment of Big Brother, but like many of his generation, too busy updating his Facebook status to pay it much attention. Assigned with writing an article about the Darknet, he dives headfirst down the rabbit hole. On a journey that takes us through Tel Aviv, Prague and Berlin, Yuval meets tech experts, cybercrime watchmen, and a group of self-appointed underground freedom fighters.
2016 • Technology
Uncovering what is left of Hitler's ambitious structures which were built in a bid for world domination, beginning with a look at the Atlantic Wall. Created in order to protect Europe from an Allied invasion it stretches thousands of kilometres from France to Norway, and on D-Day the fortifications were put to the ultimate test.
Get in the driver seat of the fastest, smartest and most high-performance cars of tomorrow. See the supercars that will reach speeds unimaginable with today's technology. They will operate on voice command and drive without a drop of gas, and cruise over land and water.
Catch a first-time glimpse at smart technology that will put android helpers in the home, network commuters and entire cities to the Web, and bring us entertainment systems that can virtually make dreams come true. Advances in artificial intelligence are creating machines with near human-like mental agility. Intelligence will be embedded everywhere -- even in our clothing, thanks to smaller, more powerful computers.
Learn about the technologies that will usher in a whole new way of life: we will live in floating cities, fly to work and travel in cars capable of operating underwater. And, with new technologies, humanity will find new ways of protecting and conserving resources to meet the needs of a growing population by using renewable sources of water, food and electricity. The era of smog-filled skies will be over, because fewer of us will be driving cars. Where we’re going, we won’t need roads. We’ll be piloting environmentally friendly personal vehicles between cities and under the seas. And the good news is we’ll never be lost, thanks to new advances in GPS-driven virtual mapping. Then again, with the ability to teleport our presence anywhere on Earth, we might not have to travel at all. And, best of all, we’ll all have more time to enjoy the astounding advances of our near future, because we’ll all be living longer. A lot longer.
Documentary which tells the story of the most ambitious project ever conceived on the internet and the people who tried to stop it. In 1937 HG Wells predicted the creation of the 'world brain', a giant global library that contained all human knowledge which would lead to a new form of higher intelligence. 70 years later the realisation of that dream was under way, as Google scanned millions of books for its Google Books website. However, over half those books were still in copyright and authors across the world launched a campaign to stop them, climaxing in a New York courtroom in 2011. A film about the dreams, dilemmas and dangers of the internet, set in spectacular locations in China, USA, Europe and Latin America.
2013 • Technology
The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron's story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties
2014 • Technology
Documentary which follows the construction of a trailblazing 36,000-tonne steel structure to entomb the ruins of the nuclear power plant destroyed in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. It films close up with the team of international engineers as they race to build the new structure before Chernobyl's original concrete sarcophagus - the hastily built structure that covers the reactor - collapses. Built to last just thirty years, the temporary sarcophagus is now crumbling, putting the world at risk of another release of radioactive dust. Radiation levels make it impossible for workers to build the new shelter directly over the old reactor, so engineers are erecting the new megastructure - taller than the tower of Big Ben and three times heavier than the Eiffel Tower - to one side and will then face the challenge of sliding the largest object ever moved on land into place over the old reactor.
2016 • Technology
Documentary exploring the latest developments in artificial intelligence. Gemma Chan, who plays android Mia in sci-fi drama Humans, meets experts in robotics and computer programming from around the world, and visits a project attempting to create a computer more powerful than the human brain. Gemma participates in an experiment to create a robotic version of herself, which is then tested for its ability to produce convincing human responses.
2016 • Technology
In Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, the Oscar-nominated Herzog chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with the same curiosity and imagination he previously trained on earthly destinations as disparate as the Amazon, the Sahara, the South Pole and the Australian outback. Herzog leads viewers on a journey through a series of provocative conversations that reveal the ways in which the online world has transformed how virtually everything in the real world works - from business to education, space travel to healthcare, and the very heart of how we conduct our personal relationships.
2016 • Technology
It’s a universe where scientists explore matter on a scale 80,000 times smaller than a human hair. Nanotechnology promises groundbreaking solutions to the most serious problems that threaten our future, but it’s also a realm that poses serious philosophical, political and ethical questions. We have always counted on new technologies to help us shape our world. Now researchers are crossing another technological frontier. In this nano-dimension they’re learning to manipulate the most intimate mechanics of life and they promise us more control of our bodies and of our environment. This three-part series explores a mysterious and unknown universe, the world of the infinitesimally small, and the revolution it promises.
2011 • Technology
What if we could travel not just through space, but through time itself? If you could travel through time, would you change the past or the future? What if you found it couldn’t be changed? What price does the time traveller — and the people they are closest to — pay? This is a journey from H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine through ideas like The Grandfather Paradox and The Butterfly Effect to the professional time traveller that is the ever popular Doctor Who. Steven Moffat, David Tennant, Karen Gillan, and Neil Gaiman offer a unique perspective on the Doctor. Edward James Olmos reveals the hidden meaning of the language he created for the vision of the future that is Blade Runner. Bob Gale and Christopher Lloyd take us behind the scenes of Back to the Future, while Ed Solomon describes the joy of solving a time travel conundrum for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But what would be the physical and emotional cost to the time traveller? Audrey Niffenegger explains what inspired her novel The Time Traveller’s Wife. And what if someone from the future tried to travel back in time to warn us? Would we believe them? From the apocalyptic tones of 12 Monkeys to the drama of Quantum Leap and the comedy of Groundhog Day, time travel is a subject that has been irresistible to the creators of every type of science fiction.
What if aliens landed on Earth? Much of science fiction explores the moment of first contact – what will people do when the aliens land? From H. G. Wells’ pioneering The War of the Worlds to Independence Day, Men in Black, and District 9, Invasion deals with our fears of alien invasions of earth. David Tennant explains the appeal of Doctor Who’s Daleks and Cybermen while John Carpenter and Chris Carter explore the rich appeal of the paranoia fuelled by hidden aliens with The Thing and The X-Files. It also asks what if the monsters were our own creation? With the aid of rarely seen animation tests, Phil Tippett takes us behind the scenes in the creation of the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. But not all invasions are hostile. Peter Coyote and Richard Dreyfuss discuss the creation of Spielberg’s spellbinding classics E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There is more than one kind of invasion.
What if we could explore the vastness of Space? Science fiction has always fed upon our need to explore – to wonder what is out there. Space journeys from Jules Verne’s earliest ideas about attempts to leave our planet, to the Star Wars far away galaxy through to Nichelle Nichols revealing how her groundbreaking role as Lt. Uhura in Star Trek led to her participation in the recruitment of NASA’s astronauts. It explores the deep sea inspiration for Avatar, finds out why Ursula K Le Guin wrote The Left Hand of Darkness and discovers how Stanley Kubrick was able to make 2001: A Space Odyssey seem so believable. In addition, the program looks at the way Dune and The Mars Trilogy embraced the challenge of world building and discusses the appeal of the beaten up ‘dirty space’ of Dark Star and Firefly. From the horrifying scenes of Alien, to the epic spectacle of Star Wars, this is a journey to the stars and the alien encounters that await us there.
What if our creations turn against us? The idea of creating life has fascinated society since the earliest days of science fiction. The first installment of the four-part series, Robots transports viewers from the first steps of Frankenstein’s monster to the threat provided by the Terminator and the world of Cyberspace. Find out how Rutger Hauer created one of the greatest speeches in all of science fiction for Blade Runner. Discover from Kenny Baker the challenge of acting in Star Wars while inside the body of R2D2, and learn how Anthony Daniels was drawn to the role of C-3PO by concept art modeled closely on the robot from the silent classic Metropolis. Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner) discusses how he managed to create a whole new approach to robot design. The creators of the original Robocop describe how its hidden depths have given it enduring appeal and William Gibson reveals the origins of his seminal novel Neuromancer. From HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey to the Cylons of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica and the world of The Matrix, this is a journey that asks – what does it mean to be human?
Liz Bonnin delves in to the world of invention, revealing the people and technologies set to transform all our lives. She examines the conditions that are promising to make the 21st century a golden age of innovation and meets some of the world's foremost visionaries, mavericks and dreamers. From the entrepreneurs that are driving a new space race, to the Nobel Prize wining scientist leading a nanotech revolution, this is a tour of the people and ideas delivering the world of tomorrow, today.
Our ability to see and record live events from right across the world has shrunk the globe, making virtual neighbours of us all. It is a defining characteristic of our modern world. The final episode in the series reveals the fascinating stories that made such everyday miracles possible. It tells the story of the handful of extraordinary inventions and their inventors who tackled the complexities of chemistry and electronics and discovered how to capture and reproduce still and moving images. Michael Mosley and academics Prof Mark Miodownik and Dr Cassie Newland tell the amazing story of three of the greatest and most transformative inventions of all time - photography, moving pictures and television.
Nothing has shrunk the globe more than our extraordinary ability to talk to one another across the oceans and continents. Episode three of The Genius of Invention reveals the fascinating chain of events that made such every-day miracles possible. It tells the story of the handful of extraordinary inventors and inventions who helped build the modern world by harnessing electricity and electromagnetism to enable us to send instant messages across vast distances. Michael Mosley and academics, Prof Mark Miodownik and Dr Cassie Newland tell the amazing story of three more of the greatest and most transformative inventions of all time; the electric telegraph, the telephone and wireless communication. Our experts explain how these inventions came about by sparks of inventive genius and steady incremental improvements. They separate myth from reality in the lives of the great inventors and celebrate some of the most remarkable stories in British history.
This episode reveals the fascinating chain of events that made quick and safe travel possible even across the greatest distances a possibility. From the Rolls Royce aero-engine factory in Derby, Michael Mosley, Prof Mark Miodownik and Dr Cassie Newland tell the amazing story of three more of the greatest and most transformative inventions of all time, the steam locomotive, the internal combustion engine and the jet engine. Our experts explain how these inventions came about by sparks of inventive genius and steady incremental improvements hammered out in workshops. They separate myth from reality in the lives of the great inventors and celebrate some of the most remarkable stories in British history.
This episode reveals the fascinating chain of events that made everyday miracles such as turning on a light or boiling a kettle possible. Michael Mosley, Professor Mark Miodownik and Dr Cassie Newland tell the amazing story of three of the most transformative inventions of all time: the steam engine, the electrical generator and the steam turbine. They explain how these inventions came about by sparks of inventive genius and steady, incremental improvements hammered out in British workshops.
Dallas and Hannah conclude the series by examining the process of bringing a plane safely to the ground. Hannah meets air traffic controllers at the world's busiest airport and visits a site that has seen over 2000 unscheduled landings in the last decade. Dallas sits in the cockpit of a plane heading for Paro, Bhutan, a place where only 26 pilots in the world are qualified to land.
Dallas Campbell and Dr Hannah Fry examine the advanced technology needed to ensure the safety of the one million people estimated to be travelling by plane at any given time. They discover the daily routines of air traffic controllers in the busiest airspace in the world and pilots flying thousands of miles at night. Plus, transporting horses by planes and in-flight medical advice.
Dallas Campbell and Dr Hannah Fry present a documentary exploring aviation, beginning with a look at the challenges of getting aircraft into the air. The programme features a visit to the world's busiest airport to discover the work that goes into getting its millions of visitors off the ground. Plus, the construction of the world's largest passenger plane and the dangers of taking off from the coldest city on Earth.
They are constantly circling hundreds of miles above our heads, driving our daily lives - yet we barely give satellites a second thought. Satellite engineer Maggie Aderin Pocock wants to change all that. She wants to make us realise and appreciate what these unsung heroes of the modern world have done for us. Maggie reveals how satellites have revolutionised exploration, communication, location-finding and spying. She discovers how they have transformed not only the way we see our planet but our understanding of the dangers within it, like volcanoes and earthquakes. Plus, she discovers the jaw-dropping power of the technology used by satellites to make our lives run smoothly.
2012 • Technology
From the Stone Age to the Silicon Age, materials have helped drive forward our civilisation. By manipulating materials we have been able to transform our world and our lives - and never more so than in the past century when we have discovered and designed more materials than at any other time in human history. (Part 3: Ceramic) Professor Mark Miodownik traces the story of ceramics. He looks at how we started with simple clay, sand and rock and changed them into pottery, glass and concrete - materials that would allow us to build cities, transform the way we view our world and communicate at the speed of light. Deep within their inner structure Mark discovers some of ceramics' most intriguing secrets. He reveals why glass can be utterly transparent, why concrete continues to harden for hundreds of years and how cooling ceramics could transform the way we power cities of the future.
From the Stone Age to the Silicon Age, materials have helped drive forward our civilisation. By manipulating materials we have been able to transform our world and our lives - and never more so than in the past century when we have discovered and designed more materials than at any other time in human history. (Part 2: Plastic) Professor Mark Miodownik tells the story of plastics - created in the lab, they have brought luxury to the masses and shaped the modern age. He recounts tales of the mavericks responsible for some of plastic's most outrageous failures and heady successes, from the explosive attempts to make a replacement for ivory billiard balls to the ultimately ubiquitous Bakelite. Investigating at atomic level, Mark discovers the properties that have allowed plastics to dominate our world and reveals how the next generation of plastics will take its inspiration from nature, creating man-made materials which behave as though they are alive and which could help rebuild the human body.
From the Stone Age to the Silicon Age, materials have helped drive forward our civilisation. By manipulating materials we have been able to transform our world and our lives - and never more so than in the past century when we have discovered and designed more materials than at any other time in human history. (Part 1: Metal) Professor Mark Miodownik travels to Israel to trace the history of our love affair with gleaming, lustrous metal. He learns how we first extracted glinting copper from dull rock and used it to shape our world and reveals how our eternal quest for lighter, stronger metals led us to forge hard, sharp steel from malleable iron and to create complex alloys in order to conquer the skies. He investigates metals at the atomic level to reveal mysterious properties such as why they get stronger when they are hit, and he discovers how metal crystals can be grown to survive inside one of our most extreme environments - the jet engine.
This documentary presented by Professor Simon Schaffer describes the amazing story of automata Designed and built with pen and paper in the 18th Century leveraging the mechanisms employed in making timepieces, these mechanical devices containing 1000’s of parts and are programmable to mimic human actions in Mechanical Theatre. The program describes how there development has led to the creation of the mechanical devices we take for granted today showing the first mechanical weaving looms allowing for the mass production of fabrics and in effect started the industrial revolution.
2013 • Technology
With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives in ways from the microscopic to the gargantuan: Big Data, a word that was barely used a few years ago but now governs the day for almost all of us. This award-winning film explores how the real time visualization of data streaming in from satellites, billions of sensors and GPS enabled cameras and smart phones is beginning to enable us, as individuals and collectively as a society, to sense, measure and understand aspects of our existence in ways never possible before. Together these devices are helping create a new kind of planetary nervous system. This massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is also allowing us to address to some of humanity biggest challenges, including pollution, world hunger, and illness. But as Edward Snowden and the release of the NSA documents have shown, the accessibility of all this data comes at a steep price.
Tyger Drew-Honey has never really experienced virtual reality. But all that is about to change. With high-spec virtual reality headsets expected to become widely available within the next few months, Tyger explores how they could change everything - from how we meet up with our friends to the way we have sex. He experiences one of the most successful virtual worlds and has his own lifelike avatar created. And he meets the man who makes robot sex dolls that you can programme via an app on your tablet to be the perfect partner. 'If you don't want her to be smart she won't be smart, if you want her to be shy she will be shy.'.
2016 • Technology
On Jan. 28, 1986, seven astronauts "slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God." America's space program was never the same.
2014 • Technology
Ada Lovelace was a most unlikely computer pioneer. In this film, Dr Hannah Fry tells the story of Ada's remarkable life. Born in the early 19th century Ada was a countess of the realm, a scandalous socialite and an 'enchantress of numbers'. The film is an enthralling tale of how a life infused with brilliance, but blighted by illness and gambling addiction, helped give rise to the modern era of computing. Hannah traces Ada's unlikely union with the father of computers, Charles Babbage. Babbage designed the world's first steam-powered computers - most famously the analytical engine - but it was Ada who realised the full potential of these new machines. During her own lifetime Ada was most famous for being the daughter of romantic poet Lord Byron ('mad, bad and dangerous to know'). It was only with the advent of modern computing that Ada's understanding of their flexibility and power (that they could be far more than mere number crunchers) was recognised as truly visionary. Hannah explores how Ada's unique inheritance - poetic imagination and rational logic - made her the ideal prophet of the digital age. This moving, intelligent and beautiful film makes you realise we nearly had a Victorian computer revolution.
2015 • Technology
Scientific advancements are challenging the concept of what it means to be human. Technology embedded in our bodies is fairly common: artificial limbs, pacemakers. But new research is taking us beyond replacement parts and into a new realm that is changing the nature of the human body and the human mind. Will the fusion of biology and technology change how we think, how we feel, how we experience the world?
Where are the limits of human technology? And can we somehow avoid them? This is where quantum computers become very interesting.
Apple is the most valuable brand on the planet, making products that everyone wants - but how are its workers treated when the world isn't looking? Panorama goes undercover in China to show what life is like for the workers making the iPhone 6. And it's not just the factories. Reporter Richard Bilton travels to Indonesia to find children working in some of the most dangerous mines in the world. But is the tin they dig out by hand finding its way into Apple's products?
2015 • Technology
Hackers have stolen the personal details of millions of customers from companies like Talk Talk. So how do cybercriminals get hold of our data? Reporter Daniel Foggo meets the hackers who can break into any website and finds out how criminals profit from our information.
2015 • Technology
The global cyberwar is heating up and the stakes are no longer limited to the virtual world of computers. Now, thanks in part to secret documents released by Edward Snowden, the true scale of the National Security Agency's scope and power is coming to light.
Watch the cybercrime documentary profiling the Romanian town nicknamed "Hackerville" or "Most Dangerous Town on the Internet." Convicted blackhat hackers, like Guccifer (real name), talk worms, viruses, social engineering, identity theft, and even hacking Hillary Clinton's email.
2015 • Technology
Exploring the murky and fast-paced world of the hackers out to steal money and identities and wreak havoc with people's online lives, and the scientists who are joining forces to help defeat them. Horizon meets the two men who uncovered the world's first cyber weapon, the pioneers of what is called ultra paranoid computing, and the computer expert who worked out how to hack into cash machines.
An examination of the varying uses being made of the huge amount of information now available in databases. In Los Angeles, police officers are taking part in an experiment to predict crime before it even happens, one City of London trader believes he has found the secret of making billions with mathematics, and astronomers in South Africa are attempting to catalogue the entire universe.
Where science fiction becomes science fact - that is the place Hank is exploring in today's episode of SciShow. Many inventions we use today were first imagined in stories that described fantastical futures. Hank talks about the origins of four of these: the cell phone, the submarine, the telemanipulator (or robot arm), and the taser.