The Rise Of The Robots

Episodes

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0120170207

012017020720170213 (R4)

The idea of robots goes back to the Ancient Greeks. In myths Hephaestus, the god of fire, created robots to assist in his workshop. In the medieval period the wealthy showed off their automata. In France in the 15th century a Duke of Burgundy had his chateau filled with automata that played practical tricks on his guests, such as spraying water at them. By the 18th century craftsmen were making life like performing robots. In 1738 in Paris people queued to see the amazing flute playing automaton, designed and built by Jacques Vaucanson.

With the industrial revolution the idea of automata became intertwined with that of human workers. The word robot first appears in a 1921 play, Rossum's Universal Robots, by Czech author Carel Chapek.

Drawing on examples from fact and fiction, Adam Rutherford explores the role of robots in past societies and discovers they were nearly always made in our image, and inspired both fear and wonder in their audiences. He talks to Dr Elly Truitt of Bryn Mawr College in the US about ancient and medieval robots, to Simon Shaffer, Professor of History of Science at Cambridge University and to Dr Andrew Nahum of the Science Museum about !8th century automata, and to Dr Ben Russell of the Science Museum about robots and workers in the 20th century. And Matthew Sweet provides the cultural context.

0120170207

The idea of robots goes back to the Ancient Greeks. In myths Hephaestus, the god of fire, created robots to assist in his workshop. In the medieval period the wealthy showed off their automata. In France in the 15th century a Duke of Burgundy had his chateau filled with automata that played practical tricks on his guests, such as spraying water at them. By the 18th century craftsmen were making life like performing robots. In 1784 in Paris people queued to see the amazing flute playing automaton.

Adam Rutherford explores the role of robots in past societies and discovers they were nearly always made in our image.

0120170214

0120170214

Robots are becoming present in our lives, as companions and as helpers. Some are humanoid, others are like dustbins. Adam Rutherford explores our relationship with these machines. Have we made them to be merely more dextrous versions of us? Why do we want to make replicas of ourselves? Should we be worried that they could replace us at work? Is it a good idea that robots are becoming carers for the elderly and for children with autism? In this programme Adam Rutherford meets some of the latest robots and their designers and compares the current reality with fictional robots from films.

01More human than human20170214

01More human than human2017021420170220 (R4)

Robots are becoming present in our lives, as companions, carers and as workers. Adam Rutherford explores our relationship with these machines. Have we made them to be merely more dextrous versions of us? Why do we want to make replicas of ourselves? Should we be worried that they could replace us at work? Is it a good idea that robots are becoming carers for the elderly?

Adam Rutherford meets some of the latest robots and their researchers and explores how the current reality has been influenced by fictional robots from films. He discusses the need for robots to be human like with Dr Ben Russell, curator of the current exhibition of robots at the Science Museum in London. In the Bristol Robotics Laboratory Adam meets Pepper, a robot that is being programmed to look after the elderly by Professor Praminda Caleb-Solly. He also interacts with Kaspar, a robot that Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn at the University of Hertfordshire has developed to help children with autism learn how to communicate better.

Cultural commentator Matthew Sweet considers the role of robots in films from Robbie in Forbidden Planet to the replicants in Blade Runner. Dr Kate Devlin of Goldsmiths, University of London, talks about sex robots, in the past and now. And Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, looks ahead to a future when robots may be taking jobs from us.

01Where is my mind?20170221

01Where is my mind?20170221

From HAL in the spaceship in 2001, to The Matrix and the disembodied voice in Her, artificial intelligences pervade our cinematic experiences. But AI s are already in the real world, answering our questions on our phones and making diagnoses about our health. Adam Rutherford asks if we are ready for AI, when fiction becomes reality, and we create thinking machines.

01Where is my mind?2017022120170227 (R4)

From Skynet and the Terminator franchise, through Wargames and Ava in Ex Machina, artificial intelligences pervade our cinematic experiences. But AIs are already in the real world, answering our questions on our phones and making diagnoses about our health. Adam Rutherford asks if we are ready for AI, when fiction becomes reality, and we create thinking machines.

0103Where Is My Mind?20170221

From HAL in the spaceship in 2001, to The Matrix and the disembodied voice in Her, artificial intelligences pervade our cinematic experiences. But AI s are already in the real world, answering our questions on our phones and making diagnoses about our health. Adam Rutherford asks if we are ready for AI, when fiction becomes reality, and we create thinking machines.