Britain is on the brink of a technological revolution. Machines and artificial intelligence are beginning to replace jobs like never before. Reporter Rohan Silva looks at the workplaces already using this new technology and asks whether we should feel threatened by it, or whether it will benefit all of us. Are we ready for one of the biggest changes the world of work has ever seen?
Planned Obsolescence is the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand. As a magazine for advertisers succinctly puts it: “The article that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business “ - and a tragedy for the modern growth society which relies on an ever-accelerating cycle of production, consumption and throwing away. THE LIGHT BULB CONSPIRACY combines investigative research and rare archive footage to trace the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel, set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, to present-day stories involving cutting edge electronics (such as the iPod) and the growing spirit of resistance amongst ordinary consumers. This film travels to France, Germany, Spain and the US to find witnesses of a business practice which has become the basis of the modern economy, and brings back disquieting pictures from Africa where discarded electronics are piling up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste. Economists and environmentalists believe that the growth society as we know it is unsustainable in the long run and that Planned Obsolescence needs to become a thing of the past, as it is impossible to combine the limitless consumption of resources with a finite planet. But what are the alternatives? The film offers thought-provoking analysis by thinkers working on ways of saving both the economy and the environment, and presents hands-on stories showing entrepreneurs putting new business models into practice.
2010 • Economics
Using mind-boggling data and CGI, it traces humankind’s story from hunter-gatherer to dominant global species. Seen from the global perspective of space, this special shows the breathtaking extent of our influence, revealing how we’ve transformed our planet and produced an interconnected world of extraordinary complexity.
2015 • Economics
Robert Peston travels to China to investigate how this mighty economic giant could actually be in serious trouble. China is now the second largest economy in the world and for the last 30 years China's economy has been growing at an astonishing rate. While Britain has been in the grip of the worst recession in a generation, China's economic miracle has wowed the world. Now, for BBC Two's award-winning strand This World, Peston reveals what has actually happened inside China since the economic collapse in the west in 2008. It is a story of spending and investment on a scale never seen before in human history - 30 new airports, 26,000 miles of motorways and a new skyscraper every five days have been built in China in the last five years. But, in a situation eerily reminiscent of what has happened in the west, the vast majority of it has been built on credit. This has now left the Chinese economy with huge debts and questions over whether much of the money can ever be paid back. Interviewing key players including the former American treasury secretary Henry Paulson, Lord Adair Turner, former chairman of the FSA, and Charlene Chu, a leading Chinese banking analyst, Robert Peston reveals how China's extraordinary spending has left the country with levels of debt that many believe can only end in an economic crash with untold consequences for us all.
In the second of this three-part series, Jacques reveals how fear remains one of the most powerful drivers of our spending. Visiting a neuroscience lab, Jacques hears from a consumer psychologist about how our brains are much more responsive to negative than to positive stimuli. He also meets some experts who have turned this knowledge into an art form, helping manufacturers make billions from our anxieties and insecurities. At the remote chateau of French anthropologist Clotaire Rapaille, Jacques learns how our sense of fear drives us in ways many of us do not understand - and how Rapaille's insights have helped companies sell us everything from SUVs to cigarettes. At the Beverley Hills pad of multimillionaire marketer Rohan Oza, he hears how Oza's connections to celebrities helped propel VitaminWater into the soft drink stratosphere, despite the fact that the product's health claims have been called into question. Jacques also confronts the men who say they are combating our most deep-seated fear - of age and decline. In Las Vegas, he mingles with the doctors and businessmen attending a global conference aimed at selling us ways to stay young and healthy, challenging them to justify their claims for the anti-aging business that has made them rich.