The first results from the mission depict a complex Martian interior and geology, but raise new questions about the planet’s history

An illustration of the Mars InSight rover perched on the surface for observations. Image: NASA/JPL-CALTECH


These canaries in the coal mines of AI would be signs that superintelligent robot overlords are approaching

Image: MS Tech


IBM thinks quantum supremacy is not the milestone we should care about.

Image: Rigetti Computing/Justin Fantl


It has fueled prosperity of the last 50 years. But the end is now in sight.

Image: MS Tech


Without design fiction, critical hits like Black Mirror would look very different

Images: Maltese falcon / 1930: Dashiell Hammett’s MacGuffin was a piece of proto-design fiction. Flavanoid / 2007: A wearable device that measures your activity and uses the data to change your avatar in the virtual world second life. Slow Messenger / 2007: This gadget deliberately slows down the receipt of messages to push back against rushed, always-on culture. Buttons: Blind Camera / 2010: Sascha Pohflepp’s digital camera has no lens: Instead, it shows you a photo taken and shared by somebody else at the exact same moment. Little Printer / 2012: A design fiction idea that became a real product, Berg London’s Chirpy thermal printer took your feed of social media, news, and weather updates and turned it into a physical object. TBD Catalog / 2014: Combines Silicon Valley fever dreams with a satiric Skymall presentation. “Uninvited Guests” / 2015: This short film by Superflux shows an elderly man getting the better of surveillance devices. 6andMe / 2015: The service analyzes your social-media accounts to diagnose various fictional ailments.


The robot mandala is a faster and — proponents argue, easier — way to create the traditional sand artwork used for Buddhist meditation

Image: MS Tech/Getty


Synthetic versions of the deadly virus could help test treatments. But what are the risks when viruses can be synthetized from scratch?

Image: CDC


Artificial intelligence won’t be very smart if computers don’t grasp cause and effect. That’s something even humans have trouble with.

Illustration: Saiman Chow


The AI moonshot was founded in the spirit of transparency. This is the inside story of how competitive pressure eroded that idealism.

From left to right: Greg Brockman, co-founder and CTO; Ilya Sutskever, co-founder and chief scientist; and Dario Amodei, research director. Photo: Christie Hemm Klok


A lack of government regulation isn’t just bad for consumers. It’s bad for the field, too.

Image: Franziska Barczyk

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