11/02/2017 Click


11/02/2017

Click visits 500 Years of Robots at the Science Museum in London. Plus how Cuba is getting online and top tech for cats.


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Transcript


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Few things say the future better than robots.

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We seem to be in an era of massive advances at the moment.

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This week, a leaked video from Boston Dynamics shows

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off its latest machine, called Handle, something its founder

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described as "nightmare-inducing".

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Rolling on with the wheel theme, Piaggio, known for its desperate

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Rolling on with the wheel theme, Piaggio, known for its vespa

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motorcycles, has revealed a new robot servant called Gita.

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This robo-suitcase follows its owner's every move,

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using cameras in its body and in the user's belt.

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But sometimes it's good to look at where we've come from.

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The Robots Exhibition at London's Science Museum

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is a 500-year history of humanity's attempts to create robots that

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resemble us and our behaviours.

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There are more than 100 robots here, including some old friends that

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we've met before.

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And this amazing swan, made from silver, is all the more

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incredible because it was made over 200 years ago, in 1773.

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It's incredibly fragile inside.

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One of the issues is, how do you get a machine that

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old to work.

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So we've had two weeks of highly esteemed conservation colleagues

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piecing things back together.

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How does it work?

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What's inside?

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You've got a whole series of these silver rings,

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almost stacked one on top of the other.

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They are designed to move as it moves as well.

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The earliest robots worked in a clockwork fashion.

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Clocks are the earliest self-regulating devices,

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so they are robots, effectively.

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If you accept that these clockwork creations are indeed robots,

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then you can also argue that the earliest robots were clocks.

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It was these mechanical marvels that made the Industrial Revolution

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possible, mobilising hundreds of workers to be at the same place

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at the same time, enabling goods to be transported,

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trains to run accurately, and allowing industry to become

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an efficient machine.

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The Industrial Revolution was also the catalyst for massive social

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change across the world, bringing about the rise

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of the working class, and sparking ideas like capitalism and Marxism.

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Now, in the West, Cuba found itself at the epicentre of this shift.

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It was the poster child for communism in the West,

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right in the back garden of the US, the heart of capitalism.

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Richard Taylor has been to Cuba to see how the island is now moving

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with the times.

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The iconic images are strikingly familiar.

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Cuba today still feels in some ways otherworldly,

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stuck in a 50s time warp.

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Life for most of its 11 million citizens is simple.

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They've been living in a state enforced digital wilderness.

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A decade ago, you needed a permit just to buy a PC.

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Today, if you're lucky enough to own a smartphone,

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chances are it's offline.

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There's no mobile data, so Cuban apps are designed to work

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without a connection.

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Until recently, even basic internet access could only be found

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at desktop computers inside state communication centres.

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Long queues persist but now people are coming to buy internet

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scratchcards which can finally get them online elsewhere.

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In this Havana park, small gatherings of Cubans

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are all enjoying the internet.

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But getting online is slow, unreliable and,

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perhaps unsurprisingly, censored.

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Luiz Rondon Paz is a self-proclaimed hack-tivist, and as a former

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government IT administrator, he knows the system well.

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Everything in Cuba is restricted, filtered, as the rest of the world.

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Basically, they censor everything that might

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threaten government power.

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It might be porn, gay, or political things.

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Basically, most political things.

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But the biggest barrier for locals - the price.

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A single hour of full web access costs $2,

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three days' salary.

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They don't have the time to see what's the internet,

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really, because of the price of the internet.

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And they push them to do what they need to do,

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which is Facebook, communicate with their families and make

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a free phone call.

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The government says expanding the internet is a priority

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and central Havana is now conducting trials of in-home net access

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for 2000 properties.

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And it boasts of a growing number of public wifi hotspots,

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too, around 300 in total, and growing.

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Still, not exactly blanket coverage for a country 700 miles wide.

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Cuba blames its ageing communications network

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on the six-decade old trade embargo with the US.

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Critics say that's a convenient excuse for a communist state that

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fears losing control over information.

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Relations with America are now at best uncertain

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in the post-Obama era.

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In the aftermath of the President's historic visit here two years ago,

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prospects for American companies doing digital business

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on the island have improved.

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Amongst them, Google, company boss Eric Schmidt inking

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a deal in December that gives Cubans fast access to content from services

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like YouTube and Gmail.

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The thing is, when you are running an internet-based business,

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the last thing you want to do is traipse across town

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to find a connection.

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So some Cubans who are fed up with the government strategy

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on access have come up with inventive solutions.

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The results are found on rooftops in towns and cities

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across the nation in the form of pole-mounted antennae

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which are pointed towards the local communications centre,

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giving them internet access and even wifi.

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The practice isn't exactly legal but as I discovered that minor

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detail doesn't deter Cubans from getting their information fix.

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This is the paquete semanal, literally the weekly packet.

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It refers to a highly organised service in back streets and front

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rooms across the country, giving locals content downloaded

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often only hours earlier via satellite.

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There's pirated movies, news shows, documentaries,

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dramas, magazines and mobile apps.

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It's hugely popular with customers who can fill their USB drives

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with an entire terabyte, hundreds of hours, for the price

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of a single hour online.

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And the rise of the paquete is the price the Cuban regime itself

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is paying, a reaction to the state dogma of keeping

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its people restricted.

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Cuban authorities should be less afraid of the free flow

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of information because the need for information is a hunger.

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People need information and people will get information,

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no matter if you are going to provide it or not.

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There is a political need to understand differently

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what the internet means.

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Progress is undoubtedly too slow for many Cubans.

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But recent overtures do at least give some people

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here cause for hope.

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Hello and welcome to The Week In Tech.

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It was the week that Samsung's Chinese factory supplying

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batteries for the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 suffered a blaze.

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Luckily no one was hurt.

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Twitter announced its new anti-abuse policy, which will introduce safe

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search, collapse potentially troubling replies and aims

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to prevent abusive accounts being reopened.

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And YouTube is launching live video streaming from their mobile app

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but only for channels with over 10,000 subscribers.

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Uber have employed a former Nasa engineer and are working

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on a flying car.

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Yes, a flying car, that they say could be ready in five years.

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Although there are a few obstacles to overcome,

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like the authorities allowing them to actually fly.

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We've seen a few ideas of how to take quad copter drones out

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of the sky but here is something for heavier duty drones.

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Project Sidearm has been developed by the Pentagon's research wing.

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It aims to safely grab unmanned aerial vehicles from airspace

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using a crane type setup.

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And finally, there's a new way of finding love,

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by sharing hate.

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New dating app Hater matches users by the things that rile them,

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with topics including bad pavement etiquette,

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rent costs, and even politicians.

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I'm sure that first date will be a laugh a minute.

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There are plenty of friendly faces at the Robots Exhibition

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at London's Science Museum.

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There are some which are different enough to look

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unthreatening and lovable.

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And there are some, well, some really quite unnerving.

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Currently, the European Commission is considering the ethical issues

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that robots raise, including whether they should have a kill

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switch, whether they should have rights, and whether they should be

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considered as electronic persons.

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And what about those ethical, or even life or death decisions?

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This is a representation of an experiment in which one robot

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was programmed to save one of two smaller bots from falling

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down a hole.

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If one was in more danger than the other, their big brother

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would save it.

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However, if both smaller robots were equally in danger,

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big bro would often freeze with indecision.

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In that split second where the robot is going,

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"Oh, no, there is an equal chance of both dying,

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I don't know what to do", something kicks in,

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in the human brain.

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We are drawing on our attachment to the things that

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might need saving.

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We're drawing on maybe a set of moral beliefs or values.

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We're not entirely sure what is going on in there but we can

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do what feels right in that moment.

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So, for now, robot ethics raise more questions than they answer.

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But while robots are learning how to avoid causing real harm,

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some humans seem way ahead in causing virtual harm.

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In video games at least.

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Sword fighting game For Honour is an unusual medieval mash up

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which pits knights, Vikings and samurais against one another.

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This is Bodiam Castle.

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What better place to come and get hands-on with a video game

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all about swordplay than here?

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There's just one thing preventing that from happening, though.

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At 6ft nine, and weighing nearly 30st, Icelandic strongman Thor

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is this closest thing the game creators could find

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to a Viking warrior.

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Fans of Game of Thrones will be familiar with him as Sir Gregor,

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better known as the Mountain.

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In order to play the game, it's going to be a case of Mark

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versus the Mountain in a series of challenges.

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The game allows players to assume the role of a range of different

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characters, from heavy hitting, muscle-bound warriors,

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to nimble lightweight assassin-type characters.

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But in the real world, how important is brute strength?

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Well, if a warrior can't even lift their weapon,

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how are they going to fight with it?

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So a test of strength against a guy who competes

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in the World's Strongest Man.

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Sure, I can do that. All right.

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Hold on. I've got to hold it here, yeah?

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Right, get into position. Fantastic.

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Like this. Hold it as long as possible.

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OK, I think I'm doing all right. Straighten your arm.

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Straight. Oh, my word.

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That is really... Straighten your arm.

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Come on! Hold it.

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It's gone.

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Excuse me while I go and have a lie down.

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I think I've pulled something.

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Oh, my word. You captured zone A.

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You captured zone A.

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Next up, combat.

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Medieval warriors didn't have to worry about health and safety.

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We do, so plastic goggles are on.

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Fortunately, my opponent is made of straw.

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My task is to do as much damage to this dummy with this sword

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as I possibly can.

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En guard!

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That's not bad.

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No good.

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I'll show you how it's done.

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So the second round belongs to Thor, but I think the tide may

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turn in round three.

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Thor has bested me in a test of strength and in martial skills.

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However, this is my arena.

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Welcome to my dojo.

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So we're going to have a one-on-one duel.

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His character is, of course, a Viking.

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Mine is a medieval knight.

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The match will be best of five.

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When it comes to getting hands-on with the game,

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there's not a chance that the big fella is going to beat me.

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Or is there?

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This is not filling me with confidence here.

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Game face.

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Game face on.

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Here we go.

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This is a bit more like it.

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The thing about this game is you can't just button bash.

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You won't get very far at all.

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It's got a very fluid combat system.

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At the heart of it is matching the stance of your opponent

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and countering it.

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You have to think a little bit more tactically.

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How do you like the taste of them apples?

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Bring it.

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Flipping heck.

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He did me in about two hits.

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I've got the upper hand, I've got the upper hand!

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I actually won.

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I will see you, sir, in Valhalla!

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Thank you, Thor, that was a very challenging game indeed.

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We are in the middle of nowhere and if I could ask you for one

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favour, that would be great.

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Can I get a lift back to London?

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Sure, why not?

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Come on, jump on.

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I had thought of a slightly different sort of lift,

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but there you go.

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Ever wondered what cats get up to when no one's there?

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Meet Roxy and Zara, who seemed agreeable to taking part

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in some gadget testing.

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Sorry.

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If you've ever wanted to watch, talk to or even play with your cats

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when you're not with them, then this could help.

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Once the device is connected to your home wifi, you can

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login anywhere you can get your phone online.

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There's a laser game to play, snacks at the tap of an icon,

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and a function to proudly make and share videos and cat snaps.

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This rather unusual looking setup works in quite a similar way.

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There's a camera so you can see the cats remotely.

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Also the ability to give them food wherever you are.

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Plus this toy, which is apparently something that cats

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might like to play with.

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Zara and Roxy were possibly slightly intimidated by the jolting

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of the feathery thing, and the app was extremely

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temperamental, making setup a rather tedious experience.

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But when it came to the cat reactions, maybe us being there

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was a distraction for them, so there's a chance the devices

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could have fared better if they were home alone.

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I think the food dispenser, if they'd been hungry,

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might have attracted more interest.

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They found the whole thing a little bit unsettling.

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This smart collar has been around a little while now

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and is available for cats and dogs.

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It allows owners to keep an eye on temperature,

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pulse, breathing rate, heart rate variability and even

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the positions a pet is in, so could be particularly beneficial

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if there are health concerns or an injury to keep an eye on.

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Don't worry, it's OK.

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I know my friend's cats are not willing to wear any sort of collar

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and I have to say this one is pretty large.

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Look how much bigger than a cat I am, and my activity

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tracker is only this size, so I can see it could be

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a little bit intimidating.

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Meanwhile, there seems to be a game of cat and mouse

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going on here, the latter played by a remote control rodent.

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Although it actually consists of the cat being chased

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by the mouse, which probably says it all about my day's filming.

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That was Lara, and this is Maria, the first blockbuster robot

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from the ground-breaking 1927 film Metropolis.

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The visual effects in that movie were absolutely stunning,

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given that it is actually 90 years old.

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Next, we are going to continue our look at some

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of the visual effects behind the latest blockbuster movies.

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We have Adam Valdes, BAFTA and Oscar nominee,

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to tell us more about the visual effects he used to bring back

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to life The Jungle Book.

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A lot of people have asked me, "Why would you do a movie

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in the jungle and not just go to the jungle, or some jungle,

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some set that plays for a jungle"?

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And I think the real answer is, you can't find the place

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in reality that we've made, you know.

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We made something special.

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Every time you see the world in Jungle Book, someone

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has fabricated plants, trees, the dead twigs and leaves

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on the floor, all of it.

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And it's only really when this around around him makes him feel

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present within it that the magic trick comes off, that you believe

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that this is just a photograph, that we went somewhere and shot it.

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So we take a shot like Mowgli saying goodbye to his mother and we say,

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John really wants some sort of physical contact.

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It needs to be an intimate moment, their eyes need to be

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locked onto each other.

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We can't have a feeling that he's acting to a tennis ball,

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a stick or some marker.

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We really need to feel the scene emotionally.

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You can locate the positions of his hands, the puppet

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for the mother wolf.

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And we can track it really carefully in three dimensions

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with our computer software.

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That way we make sure the contact is correct,

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and then we simulate the fur on the mother's neck.

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And we actually replace the better part of his hand

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with the digital double of his hand, so that the CG hand and the CG fur

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of the mother wolf are actually in the computer together,

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and when we put our lighting on that and create the final images,

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they really look connected.

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The magic trick is blending the hand into his arm.

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It's easy to focus on the fact that we pulled off two main things,

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these talking animals that people felt emotions from and this complete

0:21:280:21:31

3D world we had to create, and that those two things

0:21:310:21:34

are really major accomplishments.

0:21:340:21:35

Starting off, I did not know if either of them

0:21:350:21:37

were going to work.

0:21:370:21:38

The very first time I combined photography of Mowgli

0:21:380:21:41

with a digital background, the background was grey,

0:21:410:21:43

not even photo realistic.

0:21:430:21:52

But it was just seeing an image come together

0:21:520:21:54

where we had planned a shot, filmed it, brought it home, put it

0:21:540:21:58

together with the digital world.

0:21:580:21:59

The kid was walking along this curvy branch.

0:21:590:22:01

And he looked like he was there.

0:22:010:22:03

And I thought to myself, "OK, maybe this is going to work".

0:22:030:22:06

You know, "Maybe he's really going to look

0:22:070:22:09

like he's in this world".

0:22:090:22:14

The render power required to generate a movie like this,

0:22:140:22:16

I think it was 240 million renderer hours, or something like that.

0:22:160:22:20

Which means if it was one computer it would have taken 3000 years,

0:22:200:22:23

some number like that.

0:22:230:22:25

These individual frames that you see can be 40, 50,

0:22:250:22:28

60 hours on a computer just rendering one frame.

0:22:280:22:34

The difference between a video game and our imagery is that the video

0:22:340:22:38

game uses hardware on your computer to generate in real-time an image.

0:22:380:22:41

And they are amazing, what they are doing.

0:22:410:22:43

To go from there, however, to complete fool your brain,

0:22:430:22:46

fool your eye realism, requires quite a lot more

0:22:460:22:48

computation, because you're simulating the behaviour

0:22:480:22:50

of materials and light.

0:22:500:23:02

And that has come so far in the last five years.

0:23:020:23:04

I think we'll see more and more imagery where we really start to not

0:23:040:23:08

be able to tell the difference between something that's

0:23:080:23:11

computer-generated and real.

0:23:110:23:18

And that can be a little spooky in one sense,

0:23:180:23:21

but it's pretty fascinating for creative people.

0:23:210:23:26

That was Adam Valdes on the magic behind the Jungle Book.

0:23:360:23:39

And that's it from Robots at the London Science Museum.

0:23:390:23:41

I'll put a load of photos up on Twitter for you to browse

0:23:410:23:45

through at BBC Click.

0:23:450:23:47

Thanks for watching and, yeah...

0:23:470:23:48

We'll be back.

0:23:490:24:18

Hi there.

0:24:180:24:18