Most American adults are nervous about the prospect of enhancing humans beyond normal capacities, a new Pew Research Center poll reveals. But while many of those surveyed expressed concerns about brain-boosting chips and designer babies, a significant number had a positive view of technology’s ability to transform…
A few years ago, a burrito joint near my college campus installed computers so that customers could place their orders without ever having to make eye contact with a cashier. It was meant as a convenience, but my friends and I felt oddly detached ordering food through a computer. And we wondered: Did this signal the…
The future looks bright, except when it doesn’t. Here are 10 exceptionally regrettable developments we can expect in the coming decades.
Apocalyptic weapons are currently the domain of world powers. But this is set to change. Within a few decades, small groups — and even single individuals — will be able to get their hands on any number of extinction-inducing technologies. As shocking as it sounds, the world could be destroyed by a small team or a…
We’ve heard a lot of buzz recently about the Anthropocene, the geologic epoch of man and machine. Does it exist? Are we in it right now? Later this summer, the International Stratigraphic Union will convene and attempt to answer these weighty questions.
A recent survey shows that people want self-driving cars to be programmed to minimize casualties during a crash, even if it causes the death of the rider. Trouble is, the same survey shows that people don’t actually want to ride in cars that are programmed this way. That’s obviously a problem—and we’re going to have…
Carbon nanotubes have been pegged as the wonder material that could finally allow us to build a space elevator. A discouraging new study suggests these microscopic strands aren’t as resilient as we thought—and all it could take is a single misplaced atom to bring the whole thing crashing down.
With much of our attention focused the rise of advanced artificial intelligence, few consider the potential for radically amplified human intelligence (IA). It’s an open question as to which will come first, but a technologically boosted brain could be just as powerful — and just as dangerous – as AI.
We’ve seen exoskeletons before, but nothing quite like this one. The new brace, developed by Spanish researchers, will help children with spinal muscular atrophy.
Getting out of Earth's gravity well is hard. Conventional rockets are expensive, wasteful, and as we're frequently reminded, very dangerous. Thankfully, there are alternative ways of getting ourselves and all our stuff off this rock. Here's how we'll get from Earth to space in the future.
Last month, a group of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs gathered in secret to discuss the possibility of creating a synthetic human genome from scratch. Details of the plan have finally been made public, and it’s as ambitious as it sounds. But critics say they founders of the new project are avoiding the tough…
As we head deeper into the 21st century, we're starting to catch a glimpse of the fantastic technological possibilities that await. But we're also starting to get a grim sense of the potential horrors. Here are 10 frightening technologies that should never, ever, come into existence.
Recently, a group of forward-looking thinkers compiled a list of catastrophes that could kill off 10 percent or more of the human population within five years. This Gizmodo video explains how it could actually happen.
Birds, bats, and insects can’t fly forever, and neither can microrobotic drones. A new system that taps into the power of static electricity—the same principle that allows a balloon to stick to a wall—now allows robotic insects to land and stick to surfaces, greatly extending their operational life.
Planet Earth is doomed with a fast growing global population and a limited amount of farmland to produce food for everyone. That means that we’re going to need to figure out how to maximize what we’ve got—and researchers just made a major breakthrough in getting the most from our crops.
A self-assembling space habitat, a deep sleep chamber to shuttle astronauts on long journeys, and a protective magnetic force field are the latest projects NASA is embarking on.
Students taking an online course at Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing were duped into thinking one of their teaching assistants, named Jill Watson, was an actual human. And how can you blame them—the virtual TA managed to answer many of their questions with 97 percent certainty.
Scientists have sustained human embryos in a petri dish for 13 days, shattering the previous record of nine days. The breakthrough will allow researchers to study early fetal development in unprecedented detail, and brings us one step closer to viable “artificial wombs.” But it’s adding fuel to an already heated…
In this new short written and directed by the Brothers Lynch, a pioneering mind transfer procedure offers a quadriplegic soldier the opportunity to start a new life. Naturally, things don’t go quite as planned.
Oxford’s Global Priorities Project has compiled a list of catastrophes—both natural and self-inflicted—that could kill off 10 percent or more of the human population. It’s a real buzzkill of a report and it says that any of these catastrophes could happen within the next five years.