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Scientists still have much to learn about how life materialised on earth, but the concept of emergence – complex systems developing from smaller, simpler parts – goes a long way towards demystifying it. To help better understand emergence, researchers at Harvard are programming small, simple ‘kilobots’ to simulate emergent patterns found in nature. Beyond revealing more about how order and intelligence can emerge from chaos, it’s possible that the kilobots could reveal shortcomings and inefficiencies in our own biology that we might someday be able to reprogramme.
Producer: Josh Cassidy
Website: Deep Look
Beauty and aesthetics
Not just a meme, but a masterpiece – why the Mona Lisa earns its exalted place in art
How the Hindu myth of Annapurna, goddess of food, connects sustenance with spirituality
Computing and artificial intelligence
Who, exactly, authored this AI-generated spin on Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo?
Gender and identity
LGBTQ+ retirees celebrate their hard-earned self-acceptance at a belated prom night
Peering into the eerie world of plankton reveals a variety of vital creatures
Biography and memoir
Meet the Liverbirds! The bittersweet tale of Liverpool’s all-female answer to the Beatles
Take in the sounds of silence via this unique performance of John Cage’s infamous piece
‘My people!’ A Trinidadian’s love letter to his island, just before its 1962 independence
A Viking axe struck a Newfoundland tree in the year 1021. Here’s how scientists proved it