Forging the Future (series)
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Filmed across North America, Europe, and Australia, and mastered in 4K, this six-part series focuses on the most exciting disciplines in popular science today.
Each episode features a deep dive into: Artificial Intelligence, Achieving Immortality, Living Off the Earth, Genetic Engineering, Cyborg Technology, and creating a Disease-Free World with the Human Microbiome.
By showing how the most cutting-edge technologies work across these fields, the series reveals the real-world impact they will have, and the hopeful futures they will create—and which this series dramatically reveals—for humanity and the planet.
Through immersive, ‘you are there’ filmmaking, each episode presents the most esteemed technologists and scientists in action at the world’s most advanced facilities—including those at elite institutions like Harvard University, MIT, Columbia University.
To overcome some of our greatest challenges, they are using gene-editing technologies to fight life-threatening genetic disorders, using Artificial Intelligence to develop robotic consciousness, creating outside-the-box treatments that can reverse ageing, or even using Computer-Assisted Telepathy that gives a person control of another person’s body!
Forging the Future offers unique, first person perspectives from some of the most respected scientists today, as they help to create a better future for everyone.
Episode 1 – Cyborg Revolution
We’ve all seen Cyborgs in Hollywood blockbusters. But it turns out these fictional beings aren’t so far-fetched. In fact, this episode features a true-to-life cyborg, who at four months of age, was the youngest American to be outfitted with a myoelectric hand. And at one ground-breaking engineering facility, engineers are developing biotechnologies that can even further enhance high-tech like this by giving mechanical prosthetics something incredible: the physical sensation of touch!
Other engineering firms are gearing up powerful exoskeletons that both rehabilitate and enhance the power of the human body… improving the lives of those with paralysis and transforming the work force.
But the real pivot is getting machines inside the body. An out-of-the-box ‘transhumanist’ featured in the episode installs a chip inside a person’s hand. It works as a key that unlocks doors, literally and figuratively.
However, brain-machine integration poses the biggest challenges, and the biggest rewards. Cutting-edge neuroscientists and technologists reveal how computer chips can directly interface with the human brain in ways that not only rehabilitate, but which can also ‘read thoughts’ in real-time.
Remarkably, a breakthrough technology called ‘Computer Assisted Telepathy’ is achieving the impossible. Through a test subject’s mind only, she’s able to control another person’s body. Technologies like these will pave the way toward the Cyborg Revolution.
Episode 2 – Hyper Intelligence
Everyone has heard about Artificial Intelligence (or AI), but very few people know what it is or how it actually works. This episode brings this otherwise abstract topic to life by visiting the most cutting-edge engineering firms where innovative technologists are using AI to transform machines into thinking robots.
Leading institutions are preparing robot rovers and flying drones to navigate through unmapped territories, in order to save lives in bold Search and Rescue missions. By ‘mapping as they go’, these thinking machines generate their own intelligence—allowing them to self-navigate without human input. Additionally, some technologists are coordinating swarms of drones to operate and collaborate together—all with the explicit ambition of improving the efficiency of farming and increasing food production.
Though the news media often reports on how machines could cause unemployment, that’s not what AI inventors in this program are saying. In fact, their AI-driven robots are using machine-learning to work better with humans. Through observation, AI robots are learning to anticipate the actions of human co-workers, keeping people safer in the workplace – and making it more productive.
Some scientists in this show are even developing AI robots that are achieving the beginnings of robotic consciousness. By comprehending their own self-image, they are able to learn about their environment, make decisions, and navigate the space around them – just as human babies do. Other engineers are taking this technology even further to develop real-world Androids – that is, robots that look, feel, and act like people.
Becoming consultants, advisors, and even friends, these Androids will ultimately help individuals adjust to realities of the human condition.
Episode 3 – Human Immortality
If you thought Human Immortality was just a concept in science fiction, this episode reveals how it will become science fact. For some scientists featured in this program, achieving Immortality is not a question of ‘If’. The real question is ‘When?’.
One scientist shows how she is making lab-grown organs called ‘ghost hearts’ that not only grow quickly, but that can be accepted in any host’s body without rejection—ending the agony for those waiting for organ transplants. Another biologist is looking at Immortality at the microbiological level. In his lab, he’s identified the ‘longevity gene’ (called SIR2) that can slow the ageing process, and which holds the key that will unlock our ability to better control the rate at which we age. One gerontologist is unearthing the immortal secrets of lobsters, who never stop growing and naturally live up to the astonishing age of 122 years. Inspired by how their bodies regulate cellular division, he’s developing cutting-edge medications that will boost human longevity.
Incredibly, one pioneer is creating a unique medical cocktail that can even reverse ageing. Medical techniques like these could pave the way to Human Immortality.
Episode 4 – Life Off Earth
If you thought The Space Race peaked with the Apollo missions, wait until permanent research bases on the Moon and Mars start cropping up.
The New Space Race to get humans to Mars is heating up, and this episode presents the visionaries who are making this future possible. Once exclusively financed by governments, private companies are now developing the means of living in outer space.
On the cutting edge of this Copernican Revolution is the Dream Chaser—a new, high-flying space shuttle that will ferry researchers to inflatable research habitats in outer space. But creating permanent habitats in the toxic environments on the Moon and Mars is a serious undertaking. Scientists and engineers take these threats to human life very seriously. One engineer is creating advanced, reusable spacesuits that makes mobility and dexterity less bulky, and more feasible in gravity-free environments.
Other engineers featured in the episode are helping in these efforts by developing high-tech drills and pressurization chambers that allow for the excavation of the most crucial resource for the survival of humanity: Liquid Water.
These are just a few parts of the complex efforts needed to establish habitats on alien planets.
One firm is developing habitats that are 3D printed with Martian soil, and will be pre-built before astronauts arrive. But one of the boldest endeavours lies in creating a living, breathing ecosystem that, through plant growth, generates oxygen and food for the first permanent settlers on the Moon and Mars.
An ambitious research project—30 years in the making—is providing the ‘ground-truth’ of how to create an Earth-like Biosphere in outer space… providing a road map for how humanity will survive and even thrive in the life-threatening conditions of other planets.
Episode 5 – Disease-Free World: The Microbiome
To create a disease-free world, scientists are pushing the envelope in every conceivable corner. This episode features the most cutting-edge scientists out there—including Nobel-prize winners—who are harnessing the power of what’s called “The Microbiome.”
The Microbiome is the full array of the trillions of microorganisms that live in or on the human body, which help it function. By understanding the Microbiome as a kind of ecosystem, scientists are using innovative techniques to discern the microbes’ various functions in the body as a whole.
Incredibly, through revealing the function of one particular micro-organism, one scientist has been able to cure Stomach Cancer. But other scientists armed with this knowledge are attempting the unthinkable: namely, to increase the presence of microbes across the body by intentionally infecting people with more infectious agents. The reason? Increasing microbial diversity in the body boosts its immunity, and helps people fight disease from the inside out.
Radical methods like these are leading to breakthrough remedies, from the erasure of life-threatening infections like C. Difficile, to ending Asthma and Obesity. Innovative research like this will inform the biotechnologies of the future, and in turn create a disease-free world.
Episode 6 – The Rise of Genetic Engineering
Genetic Engineering extends far beyond the controversial news headlines that obsess over ‘designer babies’. In the science community, gene-editing tools like CRISPR and PRIME editing will do nothing less than save the planet.
Methods like this allow scientists to alter and ‘re-program’ the genetics of living organisms.
This episode shows scientists at large using gene-editing technologies to revolutionize the food supply chain, bolstering food crops to prevent famines, and even speed up reforestation efforts that will reverse global warming. Genetic Engineering in farm animals is helping scientists to ‘select’ desirable traits, like physical features and gender. Incredibly, one scientist is using gene-editing technologies to resurrect the DNA of extinct species, like the Wooly Mammoth!
Despite some public concern, gene-editing is definitely a cause for hope in the fight against genetic disorders in humans. It’s already reversing a type of congenital blindness in children. And with the hyper-precision afforded by PRIME editing being prepared for clinical trials, a much more hopeful world will be revealed for families in the future.