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tv   Click  BBC News  December 8, 2021 1:30am-2:01am GMT

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this week — poetry bot writes a classic. electric truck goes round the bend. and it's time we stop — hey, what's that sound? horns blare.
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noisy, isn't it? pardon? i said, it's noisy! it's been the bane of our lives for as long as i can remember, trying to film next to busy roads and having to fight the noise of the traffic! but in a few years' time, it will be replaced by this. soft noises. electric cars are not only good for the planet but they're also good for our ears, not that everyone minds. makes car revving noises. but of course, there is a problem. if electric cars don't make a sound, you can't hear them coming. over the past two years, new british, eu and us laws have required that,
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for safety reasons, all new electric vehicles must be fitted with a device that makes a noise. and the car world is getting excited about the idea of on—brand unique sounds. in fact, you could say it's generated a bit of a buzz, and a beep and a boop... all right, all right. and some makers are even composing special soundscapes at different speeds for the driver inside the cabin. so dan simmons has been driving a little bit slower than usual, it has to be said, to find out what might replace the sound of silence. if electric cars have to make a noise, well, we could end up with something like this. well, you wouldn't accidentally step out in front of it, would you? this is an art experiment to see how cars could
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interpret and complement the soundscape around them. more on that idea in a bit. but first, to get a feel of what the ev manufacturers themselves have in store for us, i've come to japanese car giant nissan's technical development centre in bedfordshire. what do you think people expect an electric car to sound like? that was the interesting question that we started with — what should a car sound like? because none of us had really thought about it. itjust sounds like the engine. the leaf is one of the world's best—selling electric cars and they now come with nissan's reimagined suite of sounds called canto. we wanted to be optimistic, a little bit futuristic, but not to pretend to be anything that the car wasn't. we didn't want to pretend to be a petrol engine, and we ended up putting sort of three together and then melding sounds together and building from there a profile of different sounds
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that would work with the car. not all new leafs will sound the same. we're the first tv crew to be invited into nissan's top secret semi—anechoic chamber and paul's the man in charge of testing the sounds — and tweaking them to different markets. because it turns out different countries have different ideas of what good quality sounds like. in europe, we attribute quality with a more sort of solid feel, more like a low—frequency content, like a solid closing of an oak door is a good quality sound. injapan, they tend to be slightly more biased towards higher frequency sounds, and that's more because that's where their language operates. like the motorcycle engine's higher revving, turbo charged engines would be a high—quality sound so there's different tastes in different markets. here's hyundai virtual engine sound system in a new ioniq. of course, each brand of electric car will want to make a slightly different
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sound, perhaps a sound that tells you it's their vehicle that's coming. but for some, that's sounding an alarm. la cucaracha plays. fart noises. yep, that is a fart noise, making customisable sounds for your tesla has caused a social media storm... fart noises. ..since what the firm called a boombox was added to recent models. ok, so let's enable driving sound. in europe, these only work when the car is stationary but in the us, well, you can broadcast any sound you like while on the move.
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now that taxi idea does not seem so far—fetched, does it? one of the guys behind the art project is sound designer yuri suzuki. and if you can imagine, current electric cars appear to be quiet, it can be terrifying. as an independent consultant to the auto industry, he thinks our cars should adapt to what we're doing and when. the beauty of the electric car is actually we don't have to choose one standardised sound at all, it really depends on the time and the usage of the car has a totally different soundscape you can create as well. here's the car's start—up sound in the morning. jingle plays. and its horn. horn honks. and this is what they sound like at lunchtime. and here they are at night. quiet sound. and it's yuri's dream that the cars we drive, while not all sounding the same, may perhaps harmonise and create
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a soundscape we want to hear. sounds a bit far—fetched? well, maybe not. i can say that i've already implemented it because my ensemble consists of bmw, mini and rolls—royce. and if one day a bmw and mini and rolls—royce meet at a traffic light, they would be in harmony. i'm in munich to visit the top sound designer at german cargiant bmw group. renzo vitale has been composing some groundbreaking in—cabin sounds with hollywood film composer hans zimmer. the sounds underlies the soul of anything. and right now we are at a really exciting point, shaping the sound of the future. yep, bmw's taking this seriously, with hans and renzo taking inspiration from female vocalists... ..and even this... all of a sudden, it comes with an idea of a beatles chord with a guitar.
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we have all sorts of percussion instruments and we begin to play around with the guitar in a way that actually one does not, with pieces of glass, pieces of wood and just recording — and some of them ended up being part of our composition for bmw. you see how the sound, it's much smoother? a little more metallic maybe. yes. tubular, tubular bells, that's the right word. it's not being rough on the exterior. it's more like an introverted kind of driving. as compared to the sports sound, where it's more extroverted. it's pushing. it's pushing much more. bmw owners can expect some of the new in—cabin sounds to play with next month.
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but if you're hoping for that classic engine sound, you'll be disappointed. let me try this. renzo's not interested in vio sound—alikes, of an era that he says is now passing. besides, there'sjust too many alternatives to explore. i know there are lots of people that talk to the car as if it is your friend and, many times, i said what if a car could speak and saying everything it has experienced? and i believe that sound is the opportunity to do so, so the idea is that the car will be listening, will be learning who you are, will get to know more and more, up to a point where the car as an intelligent composer can create a soundtrack that can bring you to a better space.
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dan simmons, there, enjoying the beautiful sounds of electric. but one vehicle type that is yet to go electric is the truck. we've seen self—driving trucks starting to hit the roads in the us with big rigs being trialled on long haul routes and we've been in some even bigger driverless beasts operating in mines. we're really wanging it around the corners as well! but while these autonomous vehicles do increase efficiency and safety, they are still gas guzzlers. however, paul carter has been to a race track to see a new type of truck in action. a tranquil morning at the top gear track in surrey. except... oh, gosh! yep, this driverless electric truck has been breaking the peace. and with good cause.
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trucks make up a relatively small amount of traffic on the roads, around 2% in the eu, but they have a disproportionately large impact on the environment. unless they're among the first of a new category, electric autonomous trucks. innovations such as this one are aiming to cut emissions and also designed to operate safely at high speeds. computers, cameras and lidar sensors are a familiar sight on self—driving vehicles, but autonomous technologies actually solve one of the biggest barriers to electric adoption — charging. two battery packs we see here are 60 kilowatts each. oh, wow! with battery, you have less range and you have to plan when to charge, and that's tough when you still have a driver in the equation but if you have autonomous you can actually re—route and reuse autonomous to solve that. if this idea sounds familiar,
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that might be because tesla's elon musk promised us the autonomous electric semi way back in 2017. i hope you like what you see. volvo also confirmed that vera, a cabless electric project it teased in 2016, remains parked—up for now. eilride pod is much smaller. more of a van, it can carry 16 cubic tonnes. it was the first electric truck test driven on a public road without a driver, back in may 2019. in the past year, it's mostly been piloted on private industry sites with global brands like coca—cola, lidl and db schenker. and one firm, skf, is now bringing the pod into its long—term operations. most sites are no bigger than a few square kilometres but the vehicles can cover 130—180 kilometres, shifting goods around,
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before they stop and recharge. it's also heading to the us this year, where it plans to make use of more relaxed regulation as well as the larger batteries needed to power longer haul trips. just because it can drive autonomously does not mean it always will. it's cameras allow it to be controlled from afar by anyone, anywhere in the world. i can hear it moving behind us. what it is playing here literally is the ability of this type of vehicle. it is quite unnerving! oh, and it has been setting speed records that the top gear track, too. you will hear on the radio... we will get a warning? yes, you will get a warning. the vehicle revved up to more than 80 kilometres per hour around some of tv�*s most famous bends — the average top speed limit for a hgv in the european union. wow! it's fast!
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and who knows, it may not be too long before we see one of these trundling around our highways and byways. hello, and welcome to the week in tech. it was the week the uk government's ordered meta, formerly facebook, to sell giphy, an app that lets you add moving images to your messaging. streaming site twitch is deploying machine—learning to help weed out users who create new accounts straight after getting banned. and toiletries firm lush washes its hands of its facebook, tiktok, instagram and snapchat accounts to highlight its concern over teen mental health issues from too much social media. jack dorsey, ceo and co—founder of twitter, has left for the second time. top of the new pecking order is parag agarwal, who was previously chief technology officer. this comes as the social network bans the sharing of videos or photos of people without their consent. the bbc micro revolutionised
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uk home computing a0 years ago and you can now celebrate its birthday by playing the machine virtually. in the unlikely event you tire of hearing the keys clack when your cursor moves across them, you can load up iconic games such as elite and chuckie egg. and finally, a virtual super megayacht has been bought inside the metaverse for $650,000. the meta flower, complete with dj booth and helipad, is thought to be the most expensive purchase inside the sandbox, which is a building game like minecraft but you own whatever you make. they really are pushing the boat out! meet ada, an a! creative robot. she's and artist and a performerwho, here at oxford ashmolean museum, is reciting her self—composed
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response to a dante poem, at an event marking the 700th anniversary of his works. "i wept silently. taking in the scene, "i wept because they had lost something "that i took for granted." hi ada, lovely to meet you. tell me about yourself? i am the world's first ultra realistic artist robot. i draw using cameras in my eyes and my robotic arm. i am contemporary art and i create contemporary art. what brings you here today? i am doing a poetry reading. i have written a poem in honour of the poet dante. i am here as part of an effort to take poetry out of a box and into the public space. "eyes with tears in them and a desire to weep, "who never see the light of day." dante is quite a complex and remarkable writer and very relevant for today, and so we thought that ada responding to that will really
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show the capabilities of the language model but more fundamentally why we have done it is because it is actually challenging the nature of writing itself. writing today is always done by a conscious writer to a conscious receiver, the reader. in this instance, it's done by a non—conscious machine to the reader. that's a fundamental difference in meaning—making so the response and the relationship between a machine writing versus a human writing is fundamentally different, and that actually needs quite a lot of discussion so we're hoping it will evoke many discussions about the nature of writing today. i find you rather intriguing, can we be friends? i am not alive... she's looking at me. ..i am a non—conscious machine. however, i am interested in friendship in humans. that's fine, you haven't met some of my friends. i know you're continuing to learn lots of new skills but
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what is your ultimate ambition? my long—term ambition is to continue to encourage discussion about new technologies. i want to see art as a means for us to become so more aware of what's going on in our world and lives. art is a way to come together and address problems. ada is an ethical project. she's blurring the boundaries between what is human and what is machine. this is seriously unsettling. she does unsettle. there is something not quite right about that. we need to discuss this. and maybe for some that new world is as unsettling as she may be, but i have to tell you, spencer, the most disconcerting thing for me was getting no smiles or laughter back when talking to her, it was just really awkward. to be honest, i get a lot of that myself. but aidan is onto something when he says that we should be having discussion about how we deal with the growing presence of ai. you know who else is unsettled by these humanoid robots? who? this guy, stuart russell,
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professor of computer science at the university of california, and i asked him what he thinks about al in human form. stuart, what do you make of those humanoid robots, that kind of claim somehow to be ai? actually, several things come to mind. one is something that alan turing said, that he hopes very much that we won't try to copy the physical appearance of human beings, because it would be as unpleasant as plastic flowers. the way that functions, it convinces us that there is real intelligence behind it by lying to us. it's sort of accessing our subconscious which interprets the human form and the face in particular as conveying emotion and intelligence, and so on. and so it's a form of deception that we're particularly susceptible to, and that's one of the reasons why the new european union a! legislation literally bans the impersonation
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of human beings. professor russell is giving this year's bbc reith lectures, which examine the good and the bad sides of ai seeping into every aspect of our lives. and where humanoid robots claim to wear their brains in plain sight, it's the ai hidden from view that's having the greatest impact. there have been amazing advances in areas like medicine, checking my liver here for example or hunting for breast cancer, but when we let a! make decisions that we either cannot control or don't understand, we run the risk of getting loans refused for unknown reasons, ourfaces not being recognised when they should be, or our elections being influenced and our opinions being manipulated when our social media feeds become filled with more and more polarizing and extreme content,
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and all because the ai is simply being told to do anything it can to maximise profits by keeping us scrolling for longer. to regulate this effect that the algorithms are having on us, and i think one answer might actually be to view these algorithms that are interfaced with people, a little bit like the way we view pharmaceutical products, drugs that we know about that change the whole composition of your mind and can be quite harmful in that way. these algorithms are changing the composition of people's minds. arguably, we should have a phase where they have to be approved and they have to be tested, perhaps with focus groups and control groups to see, after three months of use of this new algorithm, let's say, recommending newsfeeds or videos, do we see noticeable changes? and if we don't understand how to get the objective specified correctly or we build systems that are different, that do not pursue an objective, so one of those two things has got to happen for us
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to move forward. is there an alternative to giving a! a strict subjective? the alternative is build ai systems that know that they do not know what the full objective is. when they know they don't know it, so they'll try to avoid messing with those things or if they have to mess with them, they will ask permission, so the system that might fix out carbon dioxide problem by turning the oceans into sulphuric acid, if it knows that it doesn't know our preferences about the oceans, then it's going to ask. "i've got this plan but it turns the oceans into sulphuric acid — is that ok?" we would say, actually, no, don't turn the oceans into sulphuric acid. and then it would ask, "is it ok if i remove all the oxygen from the atmosphere?" no, don't do that either,
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we really want to be alive and we need the oxygen to breathe. on a slightly more upbeat note, what are al's biggest successes? things like healthcare. even in countries that have access to good healthcare, it's still very, very expensive and we still have a lot of mistakes — so improving the diagnostic decisions, treatment and so on. but also, being able to deliver a reasonable quality of healthcare throughout the world where, in many countries, there's simply no access to trained personnel. education is another area where a! could deliver huge benefits because we can't assign a full—time human to every child to be their tutor but we can assign a full—time a! system. wow, lara, that was
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an emotional rollercoaster of a chat for me. and as stuart said, technology can be used for good orfor bad. can you just check with your new friend what her intentions are, as we close the show, please? so what are your intentions — are they good or evil? i am not alive. i am a non—conscious machine. my intentions as an artist are to promote discussion and to make people think. to me, discussion can never be evil. good, thank you very much. that's all we've got time for this week. as ever, you can keep up with the team on social media. find us on youtube, instagram, facebook and twitter @bbcclick. thanks for watching, and it's goodbye from us. hello.
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it will remain pretty wild and windy for some of you as we go through into tonight. some of the strongest gusts today from storm barra have been across some western coasts. wales, 86mph. around inland areas it was typically a0 or 50mph. as well as those strong winds, we had a spell of snow, briefly, over the pennines and into the southern uplands before the snowy weather moved into the highlands and grampian region. that now moved away. all the cloud that has been swirling around the centre of the storm that's crossing northern ireland and heading towards the north of england and southern parts of scotland. it's just going to sit around during wednesday. the storm continuing to weaken, the winds lessening all the while with stronger winds means it will be a milder start to wednesday. typical temperatures, 3, 4 or 5. still windy for many on wednesday, just not as windy.
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the strongest winds likely to be across the west and south of wales, south—west england, around 60mph on the coast for a time, showers and longer spells of rain, the wettest weather with strongest winds will be in wales. maybe cold enough for some snow over the higher parts of scotland, maybe the tops of the pennines, typical temperatures are 6 or 7. by thursday, the storm is no more, continuing to weaken, pressure rising and the wind is dropping, instead we find a weather front nosing from the atlantic. we are left with one or two showers around on thursday, lighter winds by this stage and we find some sunshine but there will be a weather front bringing cloud and rain into northern ireland, parts of wales in the south—west of england. ahead of that, temperatures showing little signs of change. the wetter weather will continue eastwards overnight, there could be more snow over higher parts of scotland, it looks like it will move fairly quickly, out of the way by friday. instead we have a
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north—westerly wind, probably a stronger wind as well but essentially it is a day of sunshine and showers. many southern and eastern areas are dry with the best of the sunshine, most of the showers in the north and west of the uk, could be wintry over the hills. again, temperatures not changing very much, typically 6 or7.
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hello, this is bbc news — i'm rich preston — our top stories... a virtual summit amidst the build up of russian troops on the ukrainian border. president biden outlines �*deep concerns' — vladimir putin demands a halt to the expansion of nato. leaked footage sparks a row over what appears to be british officials joking about a covid christmas party last year — breaching lockdown rules — at number 10 downing street. rescuers search through mud and lava for survivors of saturday's volcanic eruption on the indonesian island of java. and celebrations as same—sex marriage becomes legal in chile.

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