Channel 4 sci-fi drama Humans showed us a world where subservient, anthropomorphic robots — known as ‘Synths’ — have become the norm for mankind. But how far away is that world from becoming a reality? That’s the question that Gemma Chan, the star of Humans, will be asking in an upcoming documentary — one that will see her take part in a unique experiment to create a robot that thinks, talks and looks just like her.
Airing later this month, one-off documentary How to Build a Human will follow the creation of ‘Gemmabot’, which will be built by a leading team of AI experts, designers and special effects companies. Chan, who plays Synth Mia in the show, will undergo a gruelling range of procedures including an entire head cast to build the machine to her exact dimensions as well as 3D scanning to determine her facial speech patterns and hours of voice record recognition.
Her simulated ‘brain’, body and voice will then be combined to create the finished android and revealed to Gemma before she tries to convince journalists that they are interviewing her, and not in fact the Gemmabot, at a fake press junket. (NB. RadioTimes.com’s very own Huw Fullerton unwittingly took part in the experiment and figured it out pretty much straight away).
Alongside the experiment, Chan will also delve further into the questions that surround A.I — including what advances like driverless cars mean for our future. Answering these will be interviewees such as Demis Hassibis, the founder of DeepMind, (bought by Google), who sit on both sides of the moral and ethical artificial intelligence debate.
Is it the path to a bright and booming future? Or are we sleep-walking into eradication?
How to Build a Human will air later this month, while Humans series two returns on October 30th