8:30pm – Thursday, September 24 on ABC1
Come on a nail-biting journey as robot scientist Rodney Brooks attempts to build a robot as sophisticated as a human being.
For nearly a hundred years, science fiction has heralded a brave new world of robots. For scientists, the reality of that dream is much harder to achieve – but there are pioneers who relish the enormous challenge of integrating mind and machine. Australian-born Rodney Brooks is one such pioneer. With a vision that is truly revolutionary, Brooks wants to do to robots what billionaire Bill Gates did to the computer – to make them so affordable and personal that they will become commonplace both at home and in the workplace.
Professor Brooks is testing his robot-building mettle with what has become the most challenging project of his entire career: to build a robot for the Pentagon capable of playing an ancient Chinese board game against a human opponent. Brooks has only five months to build it from scratch, making his challenge that much more outrageous.
His team must work around the clock if they are to accomplish the task. To play the board-game, the robot will need to possess subtle human-like touch and dexterity, characteristics yet to be conquered by any robot anywhere. With so much at stake, tensions run high and hopes are dashed at almost every turn as Brooks and his team battle to overcome technological problems to create the complex social robot.
Many believe that the need for social robots has never been so great, from working alongside soldiers on the battlefield to helping society cope with the problem of an unprecedented ageing population.
Rodney’s Robot Revolution is a fascinating journey inside one of the greatest minds and robot labs in the world. The documentary is thought provoking and explores the ethics of a new world approaching – one where we could soon see intelligent robots living among us, in all corners of life.