Strategic Partner

Santa Fe Institute

Through this series of essays and ideas, Aeon and the Santa Fe Institute investigate limits – the parameters that define our complex world, and our own ability to comprehend it.

website twitter facebook

©John Lemieux 2012

The view towards Milano Centrale station down via Vittor Pisani during lockdown, 29 March 2020. Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket/Getty

Essay/
Engineering
Uncertain times

The pandemic is an unprecedented opportunity – seeing human society as a complex system opens a better future for us all

Jessica Flack & Melanie Mitchell

The dilution refrigerator for the IBM Q quantum computer, September 2019. Photo by Graham Carlow/IBM

Essay/
The future
At the limits of thought

Science today stands at a crossroads: will its progress be driven by human minds or by the machines that we’ve created?

David C Krakauer

An aerial view shows a typically busy Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province, deserted amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak that originated in the city. 27 January 2020. Photo by Hector Retamel/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Technology and the self
Collaborators in creation

Our world is a system, in which physical and social technologies co-evolve. How can we shape a process we don’t control?

Doyne Farmer, Fotini Markopoulou, Eric Beinhocker & Steen Rasmussen

Detail of White Cat (1935-38), by Gertrude Abercrombie. Courtesy the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Essay/
Biology
Life ≠ alive

A cat is alive, a sofa is not: that much we know. But a sofa is also part of life. Information theory tells us why

Michael Lachmann & Sara Walker