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Ben Garrod and Danielle George explore whether machines built to enhance our lives could become our greatest rivals. Ben meets one of the most humanlike robots in the world, Erica.

Professor Danielle George MBE, an electronics engineer from Manchester University and a robot supporter, and Dr Ben Garrod, an evolutionary biologist from Anglia Ruskin University and robo-sceptic, uncover whether the rise of the robots will enhance the progress of humanity or ultimately threaten the survival of the human race.

With extraordinary access to the world's leading robot-makers, they meet the trailblazing machines who pioneered key evolutionary leaps for robot-kind, and their most advanced descendants - to uncover just how far we've really come.

Ben is unashamedly unnerved by the tremendous rate that robots are evolving, whilst Danielle is welcoming them with open arms. To make sense of Ben's fears and Danielle's optimism, they set out to investigate the evolution of robots - treating them as if they are an emerging 'species'.

Ben meets one of the most humanlike robots in the world - the disarmingly charming Erica - who might be warm to the touch, but whose sense of humour falls decidedly flat. Their encounter seems weird enough until he meets her creator, who has made a robot twin of himself, and even has cosmetic enhancements to ensure they continue to look the same. He also finds out why it's so difficult for robots to walk like us.

This episode uncovers the roots with our obsession with robots in human form, with a visit to the fearsome Eric - the UK's first robot - to unpack the deep distrust of robots inherent in western culture.

Danielle meets an early pioneer of robotic movement, who led the way for robots to take over the workplace, and ends up in a sea of robot arms, working in beautiful robotic harmony at a car plant. She also meets the latest breed of robots at Boston Dynamics, who combine biology with technology. Videos of their extraordinary robots - inspired by humans, animals and machines in form - have spawned millions of hits on the internet.

The series explores questions over what happens when robots learn to think for themselves, and what that will mean for
the future of humankind.

1 hour

Last on

Wed 5 Sep 2018 00:00

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Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Danielle George
Presenter Ben Garrod
Production Company Windfall Films
Executive Producer Dan Kendall
Executive Producer Leesa Rumley
Director Matt Cottingham
Producer Sue Learoyd
Editor Sabrina Burnard
Editor Steve Clark
Consultant Tony Hirst

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