Support Aeon

‘Becoming an Aeon supporter means joining the conversation of humanity – and ensuring it stays alive.’

Andrés P, Guatemala, Friend of Aeon

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

Give now

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.

Give now

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

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter
Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
Essay/
Automation & Robotics
Robot says: Whatever

What stands in the way of all-powerful AI isn’t a lack of smarts: it’s that computers can’t have needs, cravings or desires

Margaret Boden

Essay/
Future of Technology
The blitzscaling illusion

All the great inventions took painstaking, risky, indirect routes to fruition. Has Silicon Valley really escaped history?

Edward Tenner