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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Ghosts | Aeon
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video

Film and visual culture

With human help, AIs are generating a new aesthetics. The results are trippy

9 minutes

Recoding art | Aeon
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video

Art

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

15 minutes

Can we create the perfect farm? | Aeon
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video

Ecology and environmental sciences

Producing food while restoring the planet – a glimpse of farming in the future

7 minutes

The power of shit | Aeon
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essay

The environment

The power of shit

Our excrement is a natural, renewable and sustainable resource – if only we can overcome our visceral disgust of it

Lina Zeldovich

Forever | Aeon
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video

Technology and the self

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

7 minutes

Learn from machine learning | Aeon
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essay

Future of technology

Learn from machine learning

The world is a black box full of extreme specificity: it might be predictable but that doesn’t mean it is understandable

David Weinberger

The cliché writes back | Aeon
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essay

Stories and literature

The cliché writes back

Machine-written literature might offend your tastes but until the dawn of Romanticism most writers were just as formulaic

Yohei Igarashi

Should computers run the world? | Aeon
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video

Computing and artificial intelligence

Algorithms are sensitive. People are specific. We should exploit their respective strengths

36 minutes

How Big Tech betrayed us | Aeon
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video

Future of technology

Tech companies shroud their algorithms in secrecy. It’s time to pry open the black box

4 minutes

How vulnerable is the world? | Aeon
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essay

Future of technology

How vulnerable is the world?

Sooner or later a technology capable of wiping out human civilisation might be invented. How far would we go to stop it?

Nick Bostrom & Matthew van der Merwe

Zoom and gloom | Aeon
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essay

Technology and the self

Zoom and gloom

Sitting in a videoconference is a uniformly crap experience. Instead of corroding our humanity, let’s design tools to enhance it

Robert O’Toole

Is our attention for sale? | Aeon
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video

Technology and the self

A handful of executives control the ‘attention economy’. Time for attentive resistance

4 minutes

Where did the grandeur go? | Aeon
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essay

The future

Where did the grandeur go?

Superlative things were done in the past century by marshalling thousands of people in the service of a vision of the future

Martin Parker

3D-printing coral reefs | Aeon
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video

Future of technology

Ceramic coral reefs and sawdust houses – the architects 3D-printing the future from scratch

4 minutes

Algorithms associating appearance and criminality have a dark past | Aeon
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idea

Computing and artificial intelligence

Algorithms associating appearance and criminality have a dark past

Catherine Stinson

Engines of life | Aeon
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essay

Future of technology

Engines of life

At the level of the tiny, biology is all about engineering. That’s why nanotechnology can rebuild medicine from within

Sonia Contera

Collaborators in creation | Aeon
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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

Could mining gold from waste reduce its great cost? | Aeon
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idea

Chemistry

Could mining gold from waste reduce its great cost?

Wendy Lee Queen & Mirko Bischofberger

Robogamis are the real heirs of terminators and transformers | Aeon
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idea

Automation and robotics

Robogamis are the real heirs of terminators and transformers

Jamie Paik

Dreams of Dalí | Aeon
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video

Art

Silence your lobster phone and melt into a Dalí-inspired dreamscape

6 minutes

Privacy is power | Aeon
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essay

Technology and the self

Privacy is power

Don’t just give away your privacy to the likes of Google and Facebook – protect it, or you disempower us all

Carissa Véliz

The economics of bubbles | Aeon
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essay

Economic history

The economics of bubbles

Market booms and busts might be irrational, but we can understand why they happen – and what to do to mitigate the damage

Brent Goldfarb & David A Kirsch

But what is a neural network? | Aeon
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video

Computing and artificial intelligence

Why artificial neural networks have a long way to go before they can ‘see’ like us

19 minutes

Keeper of our collective consciousness: I need to understand myself | Aeon
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video

Technology and the self

God used to know our deepest fears, darkest thoughts and greatest hopes. Now Google does

2 minutes