Become a
Friend of Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or make a one-off donation

Automation & Robotics

Latest Popular

Agriculture Automation & Robotics Biotechnology Computing & Artificial Intelligence Data & Information Energy, Resources, & Sustainability Engineering Future of Technology Geoengineering History of Technology Internet & Communication Making Space Exploration Surveillance Technology & the Self Transport Virtual Reality
Idea/Automation & Robotics

Science has outgrown the human mind and its limited capacities

Ahmed Alkhateeb

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

Raising good robots

We already have a way to teach morals to alien intelligences: it's called parenting. Can we apply the same methods to robots?

Regina Rini

Idea/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

The body is the missing link for truly intelligent machines

Ben Medlock

Video/Automation & Robotics

Dance dance automation: music from the factory floor

8 minutes

Video/History of Technology

The last day of hot metal press before computers come in at The New York Times

29 minutes

Essay/Internet & Communication

In proof we trust

Blockchain technology will revolutionise far more than money: it will change your life. Here’s how it actually works

Dominic Frisby

Essay/Philosophy of Mind

Consciousness creep

Our machines could become self-aware without our knowing it. We need a better way to define and test for consciousness

George Musser

Video/Automation & Robotics

If we are what we do, how can we stay human in an era of automation?

7 minutes


We have greater moral obligations to robots than to humans

Eric Schwitzgebel

Video/Design & Fashion

Rustic automata – a world built out of spare parts powered by solar energy

9 minutes

Video/Cognition & Intelligence

How do you get a robot to seem more like a human? You make it a liar robot

4 minutes


The mini robots that may show how to ‘programme’ cells for improved performance

4 minutes

Video/History of Science

A chess-playing machine hoax that beat the best and helped inspire the computer

10 minutes

Video/Medical Research

Could these printable, self-assembling origami robots transform medicine?

3 minutes


The robots are coming… for our jobs! Why the human workforce is at risk

15 minutes

Video/Automation & Robotics

How the world’s first ‘recognised cyborg’ senses colour through sound

4 minutes

Essay/Automation & Robotics

Preternatural machines

Robots came to Europe before the dawn of the mechanical age. To a medieval world, they were indistinguishable from magic

E R Truitt

Essay/Automation & Robotics

How to design the future

As technological choices become ever more complex, design fiction, not science, hints at the future we actually want

Jon Turney

Essay/Automation & Robotics


Get ready for companies that run themselves. But will the autonomous economy set us all free, or just make the rich richer?

David Z Morris


Could organless plasmodial slime mould hold secrets about intelligent life?

2 minutes


Quarrying massive blocks of marble takes huge machines – and precise gestures

3 minutes

Essay/Automation & Robotics

Numbing the imagination

CGI has become wearingly dull and cliched. Can its deep weirdness be recovered and filmgoers’ minds stretched again?

Jonathan Romney


The workflow at a container terminal becomes a mesmerising mechanical ballet

8 minutes

Essay/Automation & Robotics

Automated ethics

When is it ethical to hand our decisions over to machines? And when is external automation a step too far?

Tom Chatfield

Essay/Automation & Robotics

I, cockroach

Do insects feel pain? Are they conscious? A science kit for at-home cyborg cockroaches provokes the hard questions

Brandon Keim


Welcome to a world of existential threats, philosophers and clever robots

11 minutes

Essay/Automation & Robotics

Robot evolution

Hod Lipson’s artificial organisms have already escaped from the virtual realm. Now he wants to send them out of control

Emily Monosson

Essay/Automation & Robotics

Slaves to the algorithm

Computers could take some tough choices out of our hands, if we let them. Is there still a place for human judgment?

Steven Poole

Essay/Automation & Robotics

The golden age

The 15-hour working week predicted by Keynes may soon be within our grasp – but are we ready for freedom from toil?

John Quiggin