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
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.
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.
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.
Setting off from a snowy mountain ski resort in Cyprus, Simon finds an island and a capital city still deeply divided between Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south. Simon joins the UN troops who patrol the line that separates the two sides, one of the world's longest-running peacekeeping missions. From Cyprus, Simon heads to the Middle East, a region of the Mediterranean that's also no stranger to conflict and division. In Lebanon, Simon explores a country of breathtaking landscapes, with spectacular coastline, soaring mountains and a sacred valley known as the Qadisha, a holy site for Lebanese Christians. Staying overnight in an abandoned monastery carved into the rock face, Simon learns that in a Muslim-dominated Middle East, Christians are facing persecution and numbers are collapsing. Travelling south, Simon's next stop is Israel, a country that perhaps more than any other depends on the Mediterranean for its survival. With few friends in the region, Israel has to transport most of its goods by sea. Simon joins the Israeli Navy who patrol the coast and protect the country's offshore oil reserves using the latest military weaponry and technology, including unmanned, combat-ready drone boats. From Israel Simon crosses one of the world's most heavily fortified borders to reach the Gaza Strip. Palestinians and Israelis have endured a seemingly endless cycle of violence and in Gaza the result has been devastating destruction. Many building materials are restricted by an Israeli blockade on Gaza, but Simon meets an inspiring young woman who has helped reconstruction efforts by inventing an ingenious method of making bricks from ash. It's a rare ray of hope in one of the most troubled regions of the Mediterranean.