Photo bt Emin Ozmen/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Knowledge
Nihilism

The risk of nihilism is that it alienates us from anything good or true. Yet believing in nothing has positive potential

Nolen Gertz

Photo by Carre Philipe/Getty

Essay/
Technology and the self
Who pushes the button?

From elevators to iPhones, the rise of pushbuttons has provoked a century of worries about losing the human touch

Rachel Plotnick

Are we missing something? The French author Georges Perec, whose novel La disparition (1969), containing not a single instance of the letter ‘e’, was translated by Gilbert Adair as A Void (1995). Photo by Guy Le Querrec/Magnum

Essay/
Stories and literature
L’art de la traduction

What is the task of the translator – to be a servant to the source or to create a new work of illuminated meaning?

Mark Polizzotti

Azuma Hikari, the virtual home robot from Gatebox. Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg/Getty

Essay/
Love and friendship
Embracing the robot

Robot relationships need not be kinky, exploitative or fake. In fact they might give human relationships a helpful boost

John Danaher

A general view of the Terracotta Warriors photographed in 2017 in Xi’an, China. Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
The copy is the original

In China and Japan, temples may be rebuilt and ancient warriors cast again. There is nothing sacred about the ‘original’

Byung-Chul Han

An average increase; Eric Kassel's 24 hrs in Photos in which he exhibited 24 hours worth of photos uploaded to Flickr. Photo by Boris Horvat/Getty

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Art by algorithm

From book critiques to music choices, computation is changing aesthetics. Does increasingly average perfection lie ahead?

Ed Finn