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NOVA Wonders Can We Build a Brain?

A 6-part series exploring the biggest questions on the frontiers of science.

Premiered: Runtime: 53:43Topic: Tech + EngineeringTech & Engineering
Premiered on PBS

Artificially intelligent machines are taking over. They’re influencing our everyday lives in profound and often invisible ways. They can read handwriting, interpret emotions, play games, and even act as personal assistants. They are in our phones, our cars, our doctors’ offices, our banks, our web searches…the list goes on and is rapidly growing ever longer. But how does today’s A.I. actually work—and is it truly intelligent? And for that matter, what is intelligence? The world’s brightest computer programmers are trying to build brighter machines by reverse-engineering the brain and by inventing completely new kinds of computers, with exponentially greater speed and processing power. NOVA Wonders looks at how far we’ve come and where machines are headed as their software becomes ever more…cerebral. How close are we from a world in which computers take over—from diagnosing cancer to driving our cars to targeting weapons? If we place more and more of our lives under the control of these artificial brains, what are we putting at risk?

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National corporate funding for NOVA Wonders is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA Wonders is provided by the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and public television viewers, with additional funding for “Are We Alone?” and “What’s the Universe Made Of?” provided by the John Templeton Foundation.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1420749. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.