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Science

Essays and videos exploring physics, evolution, cosmology and other frontiers in science
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Computing and artificial intelligence

Frontier AI ethics

Generative agents will change our society in weird, wonderful and worrying ways. Can philosophy help us get a grip on them?

Seth Lazar

Close-up of an orange Mercedes car with the focus on the front tyre, which is inscribed with ‘In Crypto We Trust’
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Economics

The cruelty of crypto

Selling itself as the new American dream, crypto exposes the vulnerable to fraud and scams, and loads risk onto the poor

Rachel O’Dwyer

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Meaning and the good life

Why strive? Stephen Fry reads Nick Cave’s letter on the threat of computed creativity

5 minutes

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Film and visual culture

An augmented-reality filter reveals the hidden movements all around us

7 minutes

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Computing and artificial intelligence

A scientist’s poor eyesight helped fuel a revolution in computer ‘vision’

9 minutes

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Computing and artificial intelligence

Struggling to learn how to do a backflip, Nikita takes on an unusual training regimen

12 minutes

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Mathematics

How a curious question about colouring maps changed mathematics forever

9 minutes

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Technology and the self

Why we should worry less about ‘sentient’ AIs and more about what we’re teaching them

16 minutes

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Music

Electronic gloves and even potted plants make music in a playground for sound innovation

6 minutes

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History of technology

Ingenious librarians

A group of 1970s campus librarians foresaw our world of distributed knowledge and research, and designed search tools for it

Monica Westin

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Beauty and aesthetics

Patterns of the lifeworld

Machine learning theory is shedding new light on how to think about the mysterious and ineffable nature of art

Peli Grietzer

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Music

As a pianist strikes a chord, visualisations of his notes appear in real time

5 minutes

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Computing and artificial intelligence

What has feelings?

As the power of AI grows, we need to have evidence of its sentience. That is why we must return to the minds of animals

Kristin Andrews & Jonathan Birch

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video

Computing and artificial intelligence

Teaching an AI to beat video games still takes human imagination

5 minutes

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Evolution

What on earth is a xenobot?

The more we understand how cells produce shape and form, the more inadequate the idea of a genomic blueprint looks

Philip Ball

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Art

What does an AI make of what it sees in a contemporary art museum?

15 minutes

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Computing and artificial intelligence

The people of the cloud

Hot, strenuous and unsung. There is nothing soft and fluffy about the caretaking work that enables our digital lives

Steven Gonzalez Monserrate

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Music

Before the Beatles dropped acid, a BBC workshop was creating far-out sounds

6 minutes

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Computing and artificial intelligence

How machine learning can help historians decode ancient inscriptions

7 minutes

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Computing and artificial intelligence

AI’s first philosopher

Alan Turing was a pioneer of machine learning, whose work continues to shape the crucial question: can machines think?

Sebastian Sunday Grève

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video

Computing and artificial intelligence

From ‘chandeliers’ to entangled qubits, here’s what happens inside a quantum computer

9 minutes

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Cognition and intelligence

Modular cognition

Powerful tricks from computer science and cybernetics show how evolution ‘hacked’ its way to intelligence from the bottom up

Michael Levin & Rafael Yuste

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Technology and the self

When an AI rejects him for life insurance, Mitch wonders if he can escape his fate

7 minutes

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Physics

Models capture the world-warping physics of what happens when stars meet black holes

2 minutes