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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.

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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

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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

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

Support Aeon

Essay/
Future of Technology
Do platforms work?

The distributed network has gobbled the hierarchical firm. Only by seizing the platform can workers avoid digital serfdom

George Zarkadakis

Essay/
Future of Technology
Fuelling the future

Fantasies about new power sources for human ambitions go back a century or more. Could these past visions energise our own future?

Iwan Rhys Morus