From Terminator to Blade Runner, artificial intelligence (AI) inspires fear and awe in equal measure, but how does the reality match up to the fiction, and what’s going to happen next?
On 7 June 2014, a chatterbot named Eugene Goostman passed the Turing test – the benchmark for AI that challenges people to decide whether an entity is human or machine, while earlier that year scientists in Germany simulated a simplified honeybee brain on a robot.
Horizon takes a look at the future of AI during August by speaking to researchers at the cutting edge of AI development.
We hear from researchers who are teaching robots to dream and to learn from each other in robot ‘kindergartens’, and we find out about creative computers who can come up with innovative ideas for books and films.
The first full-length mainstream music album co-written with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) was released on 12 January and experts believe that the science behind it could lead to a whole new style of music composition.
What if the world suddenly lost all its wealth? It’s an intriguing idea, but rather than being the plot of the latest futuristic thriller, it’s an idea dreamed up by the What-If Machine, an artificial intelligence (AI) system that is learning to do that very human of activities – think creatively.
Even though we all spend about a third of our lives asleep, there's still plenty left for us to learn about the science of sleep. This month, Horizon looks at the importance of shuteye for our physical and mental health, and how sleep-deprived brains may be both awake and asleep at the same time. Plus, we investigate what exactly drives us to sleep and wake up, the effects of insomnia, and how the way our bodies use sleep to form memories is inspiring scientists to discover ways to improve our brains.
Hormones are blamed for everything from weight gain to mood swings and this December, Horizon takes a closer look at these chemical regulators and their effects on our bodies and minds. We explore the impact of the so-called love hormone on the human-dog relationship and what it can tell us about social disorders. We find out what’s being done to neutralise the hormone-disrupting chemicals that are found in water and sewage, and we discover the importance of hormonal rhythms in tracking disorders that can lead to obesity, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Studying environments that are similar to Mars, and their microbial ecosystems, could help prepare biologists to identify traces of life in outer space.
For many people who struggle to get a good night’s rest, being able to switch on and off the brain circuits that control sleep would be a life-changer. The good news is that’s exactly what scientists hope to do, but first they need to get a better understanding of what’s going on.
Extremophile bacteria have adapted to survive inhospitable niches.
A better understanding of sleep pressure could advance therapies.
Sleep expert says that around 10 % of people are at risk of insomnia and employers should invest in therapy for those affected.