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BBC4 programs AI special

BBC4 in the UK is preparing two nights of experimental programming featuring new and classic programmes exploring artificial intelligence (AI).

Cassian Harrison

Produced in collaboration with the UK pubcaster’s research and development (R&D) department, BBC 4.1 AI TV will include clips from programmes dating back to 1953 sourced using the latest AI technology from BBC R&D.

The AI learned what BBC4 audiences might like, based on the channel’s previous schedules and programme attributes, and then ranked programmes it thought were most relevant.

The shows, which will air on September 4 and 5, include Made By Machine: When AI Met The Archive, a programme part-made by AI to help demonstrate how it works.

Presented by Dr Hannah Fry and a virtual co-presenter, it features four segments of archive clips sourced and edited together by the AI.

The Joy of AI, meanwhile, will see Professor Jim Al Khalili tell the story of the pursuit of AI, the emergence of machine learning and recent breakthroughs.

Cassian Harrison, channel editor at BBC4, said: “AI and machine learning sit at the centre of a huge ongoing debate. With its brief to experiment, BBC4 is grasping the nettle with this bold experiment to investigate just how AI might open up new creative opportunities.”

George Wright, head of internet research and future services at BBC R&D, said: “Helping BBC4 scour the BBC’s vast archives more efficiently is exactly why we’re developing this kind of AI. It can find very specific pieces of content in large libraries of programmes, which has massive benefits for BBC programme makers and audiences.”

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