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.
The Singularity, or the arrival of superhuman intelligence, has been described as both the “rapture of the nerds” and inevitable. Futurist and philosopher Jason Silva explores the ways in which this radical transformation may occur through biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
2016 • 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 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.
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.
The World Trade Center and Sears Tower were record-setting skyscrapers made possible by cutting-edge engineering innovations, but just as these American icons set new standards in construction, dark and insidious forces were poised to undo it all.
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