Episode 7 Technobytes


Episode 7

Investigating new and future technology. This episode showcases transport tech and explores whether its possible to turn off the internet.


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Transcript


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Hello, Tech fans. This is Technobytes,

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here to serve finger-food-sized Technobabble morsels

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that satisfy even the biggest of tech appetites.

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Let's see who's first to the tech buffet today.

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Via our randomly named messaging app.

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Vlogster, how will transport change in the future?

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Oh, good one.

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But if you're not all travelling around in wormholes like me,

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I don't want to know. I'll send Lucy today,

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this one's right up her street.

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I'm sending Lucy to visit a car-maker

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who's developed one of the first self-driving cars

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to be allowed on UK roads.

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She's meeting techspert Laura Hardy,

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who is going to teach her all there is to know

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about this impressive vehicle.

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So, Laura, I believe you're going to show me a car that drives itself.

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And I'm assuming this good-looking machine is it.

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It's a little normal looking, though. I'm not going to lie,

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I was expecting something a little bit more futuristic looking.

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Yeah, it does look pretty normal. But if you take a look around,

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I think you'll notice some major differences.

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Let's take a look.

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OK. It's empty. Where's the engine, Laura?

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Where's the engine?

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Well, why don't you take a look at the back?

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OK. Let's go to the boot.

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OK. Now, I'm really confused.

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All I can see are car seats.

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Still no engine.

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Laura, how on Earth does this car drive?

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If you want to press the button to shut the boot, I'll explain.

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I'll press the button.

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And this is the chassis. And here's the motor.

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Oh, my gosh, it's tiny.

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Yes. It doesn't need much. Just a rotor, and then it's powered

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by the batteries in the floor of the car.

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So, this thing is 100% electric and powered by batteries.

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That's right. And thousands of these little cells.

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Amazing. So, how do you charge one of these?

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Well, you can charge them anywhere.

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There's thousands of charging points all over the country.

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And you can also charge in your house overnight.

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That's amazing. So, I can park this in my garage

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and have the comfort of charging it in my own home.

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Yes, and 300 miles ready to go the next day.

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-That's a pretty long journey.

-Yes.

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OK, I'm ready to see one of these things drive themselves.

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-Shall we do it?

-Let's do it.

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Whoa, that is a whopping great display on the dashboard.

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-This thing is huge.

-Oh, I likey.

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This is the sort of screen I could get used to.

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Jog on, Vlogster. I'm about to look at some serious hi-tech,

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and I'm going to need that screen. So, I'm ready to drive.

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Let's get going.

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So, we're just coming onto the motorway now.

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And you can set the speed now.

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So, the top speed that you want to be going at.

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It's not going to go any faster than that.

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And then we can activate the auto steer.

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-Yes.

-And that means that the car is now braking,

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accelerating and steering for you.

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Does this car actually drive on its own?

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No, you still need to be behind the wheel.

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Oh, so no naps in the back.

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No, definitely not. Definitely not.

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I am so impressed with the self-steering.

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I like the fact that I can just quickly scratch my ear,

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then scratch the other one and the car's looking after me.

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And it's really smooth, as well.

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As I'm driving, I can feel it altering the speed.

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How is it able to do that? In fact, now, we're slowing down.

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Now, we're speeding up. It's blowing my mind.

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So, it's keeping track of the car in front.

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If that car slows down, you'll slow down.

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And if that car speeds up,

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it will speed up to your top speed that you've set.

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Obviously, we're staying within the lane.

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How is it able to do that? Is that via sensors?

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Yes, so the car has got 12 sensors around it.

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So, it is able to sense vehicles around you,

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objects around you, and also it's looking at the white lines.

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And it's keeping us within the white lines and in a safe distance.

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Talk to me about the tech inside this thing.

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-What else can it do?

-The technology, it is updatable at all times.

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So, we can change the user interface. People can download new

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functionality overnight on their driveway.

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So, in a way, this car's a bit like a smartphone.

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I think that's really cool.

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-Do you see cars being completely driverless in the future?

-Yeah.

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At the moment, the safest combination is you and the driver

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assistance system. As soon as the car is safer than the driver,

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then we've got more chance of tipping that the other way.

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That is insane.

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I think my mind has actually just been blown.

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What do you think about that then, Vlog?

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Well, I'm a very good driver.

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But how about one for the road?

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This is not Transformers, but it is Motobot.

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A robot that can ride a motorbike all on its own.

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Designed to perform better than a world-champion racer,

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this Robo rider will one day race

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around the track at more than 125mph.

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Talk about putting you in the driving seat, Vlogs.

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-What else have you got for me?

-Ever wanted to float in thin air?

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A bit like yours truly?

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Then this future concept hover car could be for you.

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Using electromagnetic road networks,

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the car travels a couple of feet in the air.

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It has a series of onboard sensors

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and a computer to take you safely from A to B.

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Time to put the brakes on, Lucy.

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Consider yourself parked.

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Let's just hope she doesn't get a parking ticket.

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Meanwhile, down the road, we've got another techie quandary.

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Vlogster, could you turn off the internet?

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Whoa! What's the internet ever done to you, Kamal?

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Apart from show you how to bite Charlie's finger.

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Ow, Charlie.

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The internet is very robust because it doesn't rely on just one

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supercomputer or giant cable.

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It's a network of other computer networks, all working together,

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crossing over continents, under oceans and even through space.

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When you connect to the internet,

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data follows one of millions of pathways.

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And if a particular connection is damaged,

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the data finds a different route to your device.

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Trying to turn off all these pathways would be a bit like

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herding one million cows.

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Come by, come by.

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It's a messy business, I can tell you.

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The internet was first switched on in 1990, and since then some nations

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have intentionally switched it off in their own countries.

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They can be lots of reasons for this, but it's usually

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in times of crisis, like a threat to national security

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or during conflict.

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But clever people can find quick fixes.

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Landline phones could still make international calls

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to logon to dial up Internet in the outside world.

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And voicemail services might be used to turn spoken messages

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into text and tweets on social media.

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Something that could turn off the internet

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with disastrous consequences is an electromagnetic pulse or EMP.

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A large enough EMP could make all electronic equipment useless.

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And giant pulses happened during solar storms created by the sun.

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The last one struck in 1859,

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when a mega flare hurled around one trillion kilograms

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of charged particles towards the Earth.

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Thankfully, it's unlikely a solar pulse

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would cover the entire planet, and the countries that weren't affected

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would send supplies to the areas that were

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and rush to repair communication networks.

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So, the internet would be back.

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Quicker than the Terminator.

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You see, it's not as easy as you think to plunge the world

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into techno chaos. Phew. Ciao for now!

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Technobtyes is the snack-size version of CBBC's Technobabble which investigates new and future technology. This episode showcases transport tech and explores whether its possible to turn off the internet.


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