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At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Digital Life initiative endeavours to create high-quality 3D digital models of living organisms – especially those on the brink of extinction. This modern Noah’s Ark is just one of the ways humanity is digitising a world in ecological peril. But what does this impulse, combined with the rise of ‘simulation theory’, say about us? Is the idea that we can digitally preserve and simulate biology, or that we already exist in a computer-simulated reality, merely a way to comfort ourselves as we drive our world further toward ecological collapse? In a collage pulled together from the world of digitisation, the experimental short Our Ark ponders whether these notions of parallel simulated worlds are a means of offering ourselves ‘solace in the face of paralysis’.
The two women behind a world-changing scientific discovery
Values and beliefs
A Zen Buddhist priest voices the deep matters he usually ponders in silence
Rituals and celebrations
Meet the entrepreneur whose business is crafting perfect peak experiences
Human rights and justice
A reporter orphaned by night raids in Afghanistan investigates their cruel legacy
Does capitalism make ‘non-playable characters’ of us all? An uncanny exploration
‘I listen to the land’ – poetry and greenery intertwine in Emilio Ambasz’s architecture
Design and fashion
The ornate, the aromatic, the cruel – Valentine’s cards before the age of Hallmark
Why surgery and barbering were one occupation in the Middle Ages
Thinkers and theories
‘My art is oratory, Socrates.’ An ancient warning on the power and peril of rhetoric