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.
Professor Jim Al-Khalili looks at how we have created machines that can simulate, augment, and even outperform the human mind - and why we shouldn't let this spook us. He reveals the story of the pursuit of AI, the emergence of machine learning and the recent breakthroughs brought about by artificial neural networks. He shows how AI is not only changing our world but also challenging our very ideas of intelligence and consciousness. Along the way, we'll investigate spam filters, meet a cutting-edge chatbot, look at why a few altered pixels makes a computer think it's looking at a trombone rather than a dog and talk to Demis Hassabis, who heads DeepMind and whose stated mission is to 'solve intelligence, and then use that to solve everything else'. Stephen Hawking remarked 'AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilisation. Or the worst'. Jim argues that AI is a potent new tool that should enhance our lives, not replace us.
2018 • Technology
McLaren's high-tech production center is as remarkably distinctive as the handcrafted automobiles they design and produce, overtaking its Supercar rivals through the application of Formula One science and sophisticated production standards.
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.
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.
Richard Clay, art historian and expert on semiotics and iconoclasm and the interplay between new technology and shifts in meaning, compares and contrasts cultural symbols from across the centuries, unpicking iconic images, music, and other cultural outputs to explain where ‘stickiness’ comes from.
2019 • Technology