Aldous Huxley

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’We could soon reach a point at which our smartest machines become more intelligent than we are and accelerate away from us on an exponential learning curve.’

The self-driving car has become the poster gadget for the next wave of automation powered by artificial intelligence. It is a terrifying idea. Turni(...)

The cover of ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. “It may be not be far from the truth to say that the Beatles were exponents of what is known as Christian humanism.”

On June 25th, 1967, three weeks after the release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles heralded a great leap forward in communications(...)

Regardless of your position on the modern surveillance state, no real new benchmarks in the audacity of western intelligence have been exposed by Wikileaks’ latest files dump. File photograph: Olivier Doulier/Getty Images

How to judge the importance of WikiLeaks’ latest dump of stolen US intelligence files? The whistleblowing site boasts of a trove greater in size than(...)

The Folio Society edition of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso

As hundreds of thousands of women gathered in Washington to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the novelist Margaret Atwood began get(...)

Having a hangover or excess alcohol means that we can’t be trusted to do much except to stay out of everyone’s way. Photograph: iStockphoto

Aldous Huxley once described chronic and inescapable sobriety as a most horrible affliction. I reckon Huxley must have had a stash of soma, the wonder(...)

Star power: Angela Lansbury in the Broadway musical Mame, in 1966. Photograph: Jack Mitchell/Getty

One might imagine that Angela Lansbury has had her fill of awards and gleaming statuettes. Today she’s in New York, walking down the red carpet as an (...)

Jumping off the Forty Foot in Dublin: ‘When I first plunged into the water I set the seal to my new life.’ Photograph: Giovanni Frazzetto

It’s four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and the Forty Foot is crowded. The tide is high, the water is choppy, a few kids swear as they jump from the r(...)

Brave New World: has our watchfulness against a frontal attack from tyrants blind-sided us to the threat from within?

A book appeared in 1930 with a fascinating, haunting idea: a pill that replaces all human concerns and inner conflict with a mood of serene conform(...)

Planet Business

Image of the week: Passion and politics It probably wasn’t the most interesting conversation he has had lately, but for UK prime minister David(...)

The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka (1915) Gregor Samsa’s unusual transformation from human to giant bug didn’t go down well with the Fascists and was ba(...)

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