Rodney’s Robot Revolution
Episode available within Canada only.

Come on a nail-biting journey as robot scientist Rodney Brooks attempts to build a robot as sophisticated as a human being.

For nearly a hundred years, science fiction has heralded a brave new world of robots. For scientists, the reality of that dream is much harder to achieve � but there are pioneers who relish the enormous challenge of integrating mind and machine.

Australian-born Rodney Brooks is one such pioneer. With a vision that is truly revolutionary, Brooks wants to do to robots what billionaire Bill Gates did to the computer - to make them so affordable and personal that they will become commonplace both at home and in the workplace.

As former head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Professor Brooks is once again going to test his robot-building mettle with what has become the most challenging project of his entire career: to build a robot for the Pentagon capable of playing an ancient Chinese board game of GO against a human opponent. Brooks has only five months to build it from scratch, making his challenge that much more outrageous.

His team must work around the clock if they are to accomplish the task. To play the boardgame, the robot will need to possess subtle human-like touch and dexterity, characteristics yet to be conquered by any robot anywhere. Perceptual problems must also be overcome, if the robot is ever going to be safe enough to play against a human. It's precisely this unique inbuilt awareness that will be crucial for a robot to possess before it can become a reliable member of society.

There is a lot at stake. Brooks has a history of doing amazing things, but can he do it again? We will meet some of the GO-playing robot's fascinating predecessors - Genghis, Kismet and Domo.

Robot Revolution is a fascinating journey inside one of the greatest minds and robot labs in the world. The documentary is thought provoking and explores, if Brooks has his way, the new world we are fast approaching - one where we could soon see intelligent robots living among us, in all corners of life.

Also on CBC