In Orbit: How Satellites Rule Our World • 2012

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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.

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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.

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Like human arteries, motorways, roads and train-lines are the lifeblood of any healthy megacity. Whether smoothly flowing or clogged, a city's transport routes affect its inhabitants' quality of life. Andrew Marr finds out how the monstrous megacities stay fed. He also finds out just how hard it is to ride a rickshaw taxi in Dhaka, and discovers how the London tube, once the most ground-breaking transport system in the world, has been usurped by modern transport like Shanghai's 400km/hour magnetic railway. Andrew joins Mexico City's traffic cops in the air, then finds out who is in charge of unblocking Mexico's most filthy canals. He looks into Dhaka's waste management problems, and sees what Britain's fast food obsession is doing to London's sewers.

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Space Station

It began as an audacious idea: to establish a permanent human presence in the most hostile environment known to man -- space. It's a dream that would bring together two former Cold War enemies and lead to the most expensive structure ever built. Discover the inside story of the International Space Station. See how NASA engineers triumphed over decades of seemingly insurmountable obstacles to develop Skylab, Space Station Freedom, and finally the International Space Station.

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Airborne

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.

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Sure, it's smelly, dirty and gross. But excrement is more complex than we think, holding many secrets, many problems and, potentially, many solutions.

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