A disgusting factor which separates consuming human flesh from consuming muscle tissue of non-speaking animals is that you can’t separate eating dead humans from eating live humans. In the way that you call a baby cow “veal” or a pig “pork,” human flesh is just human flesh—you wouldn’t think about eating Dave’s…
Films and TV shows like Blade Runner, Humans, and Westworld, where highly advanced robots have no rights, trouble our conscience. They show us that our behaviors are not just harmful to robots—they also demean and diminish us as a species. We like to think we’re better than the characters on the screen, and that when…
It’s a reasonable goal to want everyone on Earth to be more moral. Maybe there’d be less suffering, and people would be happier or more prosperous. But what is morality? Are there any drugs that can make us more moral humans? Are they ready for us to debate about their use?
Courts in New Zealand and India have granted legal personhood status to three rivers. The strange status is meant to protect the waters from pollution, but the measure could lead to unintended consequences, while undermining efforts to grant personhood status to living beings who actually deserve it.
It’s not the fault of Hollywood or Netflix or even the internet. Or, well, it’s not all their fault. We’re to blame for encouraging all these nostalgic re-releases and poorly re-hashed versions of things from our childhood, too. 8-Bit Philosophy delves into our need for nostalgia and cites philosopher Svetlana Boyn,…
There is inequality everywhere. But in San Francisco, it seems to be drawn by a cartoonist with an unrefined taste for absurdity.
In a vat of liquid nitrogen on storage platform 17, the youngest person ever to be put into cryogenic storage has been waiting for the future for one year and eight months.
Jupiter is often referred to as a “failed star,” leading some futurists to wonder if our descendants might set it ablaze in a process called planetary stellification. A new study suggests this is indeed theoretically possible—and that we should be on the hunt for galactic aliens who have already converted their gas…
The future looks bright, except when it doesn’t. Here are 10 exceptionally regrettable developments we can expect in the coming decades.
The disturbing Fermi Paradox suggests we should have made contact with an extraterrestrial civilization by now, yet we haven’t. By applying a 500-year-old philosophical principle, a Cornell University researcher has shown that the Great Silence is not unexpected—we just need to give it more time.
We live in an era of accelerating change, when scientific and technological advancements are arriving rapidly. As a result, we are developing a new language to describe our civilization as it evolves. Here are 20 terms and concepts that you’ll need to navigate our future.
Last week the world mourned for the 1986 explosion of the Challenger space shuttle that claimed seven lives. Today, we mark the 13th anniversary of Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia’s breakup upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
Each year, Edge.org editor John Brockman poses a provocative question to a select group of thinkers. For this year’s installment, nearly 200 brainy contributors were asked: “What do you consider the most recent scientific news?” Here’s what they had to say.
The Knobe Effect is a psychological double-standard that allows us to blame people for a bad outcome, yet not give them credit for a good one. Researchers have now studied the brains of the blamers to pinpoint a possible culprit for why we do this.
Stelarc has made a career of blending his body with technology. In his latest work, the Australian performance artist strapped himself to an industrial robotic arm and went for a spin.
Here’s a nice, simple topic for first thing on a Friday morning: do numbers really exist? Well, do they?
European languages often use the same word for “story” and “history,” but many English speakers regard these words as antonyms. But how different are they really? At The Last Word on Nothing, Ann Finkbeiner asked some practicing PhD historians for their opinions.
Imagine the day when we finally receive a signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence, only to find that there’s a message embedded within. Given that we don’t speak the same language, how could we ever hope to make sense of it? We spoke to the experts to find out.
When moral philosopher Gary Steiner first adopted his cat Pindar, the vet advised him to put the cat to sleep. A rescue animal, Pindar had tested positive for FIV (feline AIDS) and feline leukemia, and has since developed other chronic health issues, including kidney disease. Steiner decided to keep Pindar, triggering…
Despite the weirdness of existence, most of us are able to get on with our lives and avoid debilitating feelings of despair, personal failure, and cosmic meaninglessness. But every once in a while we’re tugged out of our complacency and forced to re-evaluate our lives. Here’s what you need to know about existential…