A.I. Revolution

NOVA ‘A.I. REVOLUTION’ DIVES INTO THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF ONE OF THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS OF OUR TIME

BOSTON, MA; Feb.12, 2024 — The award-winning PBS science series, NOVA, a production of GBH, will premiere the one-hour film “A.I. REVOLUTION” Wednesday, March 27 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on PBS. Can we harness the power of artificial intelligence to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems without creating an uncontrollable force that ultimately destroys us? New A.I. tools like ChatGPT can now answer complex questions, write essays, and generate realistic-looking images in a matter of seconds. In “A.I. REVOLUTION,” which will also be available for streaming at pbs.org/nova, NOVA on YouTube,and the PBS App, correspondent Miles O’Brien meets some of the scientists who are at the forefront of A.I. advancement and explores the promise, perils, and possible future of this unprecedented technology taking the world by storm.

There’s been a lot of media coverage of people’s fears of A.I. and the idea that it could one day turn against us,” said NOVA Co-Executive Producer Julia Cort. “At the same time, many scientists we’ve talked to are excited and optimistic, convinced that A.I. will help us build a substantially better, healthier future. We hope this film will provide audiences with a deeper understanding of the technology, so they can make informed decisions about the best path forward.”

“The conversation around A.I. in our world is changing rapidly every day,” said correspondent Miles O’Brien. “‘A.I. REVOLUTION’ aims to show people what this new technology is capable of, as well as some of the concerns that emerge when you are creating something that has the power to perceive things far beyond the scope of our own understanding of the world.”

“A.I. REVOLUTION” dives into how scientists have modeled A.I. to mimic the human brain in so-called neural networks on powerful supercomputers. The film highlights the development of AlphaGo, software created to play the Chinese board game, Go — a notoriously complex strategy game. Tasked with beating reigning champion Lee Sedol, A.I. researcher Mustafa Suleyman details the strategies that the team at DeepMind employed to coach AlphaGo to victory — taking inspiration from the way human brains work. Researchers trained AlphaGo with a large data set of expert Go games so that it could learn how the game is played. Then, the software played against itself millions of times. Not only did AlphaGo beat Sedol, but the software made a completely novel move — so creative that some initially believed it to be a mistake.

The power of A.I. to recognize complex patterns and make predictions has already grown beyond the capacity of the human brain in several key areas, opening up major opportunities in many fields, including medicine. Using pattern recognition software similar to AlphaGo along with deep learning models, theoretical chemistPetrina Kamya and her team at biotech startup Insilico Medicine are developing new drugs by predicting protein structures significantly faster than human researchers were previously able to. Additionally, the film follows Miles — whose left arm was amputated after an accident a decade ago — as he visits a bioengineering company called CoApt. The company has developed a machine learning algorithm that can interpret faint electromyographic (EMG) signals from amputees to allow them more control of myoelectric limbs. CEO Blair Lock attached Miles to a virtual prosthetic depicted on a screen, in order to begin the process of training the AI model which will be in his new arm.

Beyond drug discovery and prosthetics, the film explores several other ways that A.I. is transforming science. Computer scientist Regina Barzilay at Massachusetts General Hospital has trained a neural network to detect breast cancer from mammograms years before they are detectable by human eyes with over 85% accuracy. A.I. is also being used to help detect lung cancer. Lives are even being saved from natural disasters, as A.I. is now being deployed in California to detect wildfires early before they rage out of control. 

In addition to these hopeful stories, “A.I. REVOLUTION” also presents some of the threats that A.I. poses to our society. Miles speaks with Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley, on the rise of A.I.-generated deep fake videos featuring false impersonations of any individual. To demonstrate, Hany creates two deep fake videos of Miles — one showing an exact replica of Miles speaking words that the real Miles never spoke, and another placing Miles’s face on “The Terminator” from the blockbuster science fiction franchise. Hany shares his concern that A.I. generated photos and videos will lead people to distrust the world around them.

While deep fakes are already starting to fool people, some fear that A.I. could cause far greater harm. Yoshua Bengio, a pioneer of A.I., deep learning, and neural networks, says that he has now shifted his research to focus solely on the threat A.I. poses to humankind. He, along with many other experts, signed a public statement saying that mitigating the risk of extinction from A.I. should be a global priority.

Premieres Wednesday, March 27 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m CT on PBS

Also available for streaming at pbs.org/nova, NOVA on YouTube, and thePBS App

pbs.org/nova | @novapbs

“This is the perfect time for NOVA to lift the veil on A.I. and provide a clear picture of what this technology is, how it works, what it can — and cannot — do, and explore the key potential risks and benefits,” said NOVA Co-Executive Producer Chris Schmidt. “‘A.I. REVOLUTION’ is the newest installment in a story NOVA has been following over the last fifty years, at a moment where researchers are at a crossroads — confronting thorny issues around regulation and ethics.”

WHO

“A.I. REVOLUTION” features interviews with experts who have unparalleled insight into the most cutting-edge A.I. innovations. Experts in the series include Inflection AI CEO Mustafa Suleyman, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) director Daniela Rus, MIT CSAIL computer science professor Manolis Kellis, CoApt CEO Blair Lock, MIT CSAIL professor for AI and health Regina Barzilay, MIT CSAIL researcher Alexander Amini, Head of AI Platforms and President of Insilico Medicine Canada Petrina Kamya, University of California, Berkeley professor of computer science Hany Farid, Cal Fire’s staff chief for fire intelligence Phillip SeLegueg, and A.I.pioneer, founder, and scientific director of the Mila-Quebec AI Institute Yoshua Bengio as they untangle the world of artificial intelligence.

NOVA “A.I. REVOLUTION” premieres Wednesday, March 27 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on PBS and will be available for streaming at pbs.org/nova, NOVA on YouTube, and the PBS App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO, as well as on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.

 

“A.I. REVOLUTION” is a NOVA Production by MOBIAS Media, Inc. for GBH. Produced by Will Toubman. Reported, produced, and directed by Miles O’Brien. Senior Producer for NOVA is Caitlin Saks. Executive Producers for NOVA are Julia Cort and Chris Schmidt. NOVA is a production of GBH. A.I. REVOLUTION is distributed internationally by PBS International.

 

Funding for “A.I. REVOLUTION” is provided by Carlisle Companies, Viking Cruises, the NOVA Science Trust with support from the Hoveida Family Foundation and the Kaia and Jonathan Goldstein Family Fund, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.

 

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About NOVA

NOVA is the most popular primetime science series on American television, demystifying the scientific and technological concepts that shape and define our lives, our planet, and our universe. The PBS series is also one of the most widely distributed science programs around the world, and is a multimedia, multiplatform brand reaching more than 55 million Americans every year on TV and online. NOVA’s important and inspiring stories of human ingenuity, exploration, and the quest for knowledge are regularly recognized with the industry’s most prestigious awards. As part of its mission to make the scientific enterprise accessible to all, NOVA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its work, from the production process to the range of stories we tell and the voices we amplify. In addition, science educators across the country rely on NOVA for resources used in the classroom as well as in museums, libraries, and after-school programs. NOVA is a production of GBH; more information can be found at pbs.org/nova, or by following NOVA on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), or Instagram.

 

 

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