The above

9 minutes

Why has the US military been flying a balloon over Kabul since 2009?

In Kabul, the bustle of the city – shopping, work, conversation and play – takes place beneath a mysterious US military balloon that has hovered in the sky since 2009. Ominous yet somehow part of the landscape given its omnipresence, the balloon’s precise purpose and capabilities are not disclosed. Part of The Intercept’s Field of Vision documentary series, The Above is both an apt metaphor for the state of global surveillance, and an unsettling glimpse into the increasingly common experience of living with unfamiliar, unwelcome objects overhead.

Director: Kirsten Johnson

Producer: Kirsten Johnson, Marilyn Ness

Editor: Nels Bangerter

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence
Art by algorithm

From book critiques to music choices, computation is changing aesthetics. Does increasingly average perfection lie ahead?

Ed Finn

Essay/Data & Information
The bit bomb

It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return

Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni