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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.

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The Contenders

3 minutes

Video gamers solve a biological puzzle that has stumped scientists for years

Video games are frequently seen as an unproductive pastime, but the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington hopes its crowdsourcing puzzle game, Foldit, might eventually help cure debilitating and terminal diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. Taking inspiration from classic 8-bit video game sights and sounds, Lucy Walker’s The Contenders reveals how nine Foldit players ended up as the first gaming group ever to co-author an academic research paper. The film argues for the value of basic human intelligence and for crowdsourcing as agents of positive change in the modern world.

Director: Lucy Walker

Producer: Joseph Peeler

Support 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

Essay/Biology
The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us

Laura Ruggles

Essay/Earth Science
Life goes deeper

The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms

Gaetan Borgonie & Maggie Lau