Why Forests Give You Awe
Can you remember the time when you first felt awe, that feeling of being in the presence of something immense and mind-blowing? The natural world—with its domineering mountains, colossal trees, and tall waterfalls—is one of its main sources. I felt awe first when I was a young boy at the feet of the biggest tree […]
The Surprising Relativism of the Brain’s GPS
How new data is transforming our understanding of place cells.
Machine Behavior Needs to Be an Academic Discipline
Why should studying AI behavior be restricted to those who make AI?
Why Do So Many Scientists Want to be Filmmakers?
The problem with C.P. Snow’s famous two-cultures hypothesis.
Why Teens Plea Guilty to Crimes They Didn’t Commit
In 1978, 18-year-old Roy Watford confronted a fateful decision. No, it wasn’t which college to attend—it was whether to plead guilty, while believing himself innocent, to the charge of raping a 12-year-old girl. His grandfather didn’t want him to risk a jury sending him to prison for life, so he caved, plead guilty, and received […]
Why Doing Good Makes It Easier to Be Bad
Oscar Wilde wouldn’t have been surprised to hear of a series of recent scandals in the U.K.
Scary AI Is More “Fantasia” Than “Terminator”
Ex-Googler Nate Soares on AI’s alignment problem.
Al Gore Does His Best Ralph Waldo Emerson
The former vice president reads the transcendentalist poet—and reminds us of one.
Unhappiness Is a Palate-Cleanser
Why it’s impossible to always be happy.
This Neural Net Hallucinates Sheep
If you’ve been on the internet today, you’ve probably interacted with a neural network. They’re a type of machine learning algorithm that’s used for everything from language translation to finance modeling. One of their specialties is image recognition. Several companies—including Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Facebook—have their own algorithms for labeling photos. But image recognition algorithms […]