Stories have existed in many forms—cave paintings, parables, poems, tall tales, myths—throughout history and across almost all human cultures. But is storytelling essential to survival?
In recent years, machines have grown increasingly capable of listening, communicating, and learning—transforming the way they collaborate with us, and significantly impacting our economy, health, and daily routines. Who, or what, are these thinking machines? As we teach them to become more sophisticated, how will they complement our lives?
Nowadays, the tools for tracing your family tree have advanced far beyond looking back at names in the family Bible or compiling a scrapbook of paper records. Using your genetic information to find long-lost relatives is easier and cheaper than ever before—and scientists are looking to push the technology even further by analyzing our skin and facial features.
In the future, a woman with a spinal cord injury could make a full recovery; a baby with a weak heart could pump his own blood. How close are we today to the bold promise of bionics—and could this technology be used to improve normal human functions, as well as to repair us?
When we try to get rid of a bad habit, whether it involves food or drugs or gambling, it often seems like we’re fighting ourselves inside. The reality’s not far off: Addiction twists the reward pathways of the brain to keep addicts tied to whatever gets them high.
Can the spooky world of quantum physics explain bird navigation, photosynthesis and even our delicate sense of smell? Clues are mounting that the rules governing the subatomic realm may play an unexpectedly pivotal role in the visible world.
We once shared the planet with Neanderthals and other human species. Some of our relatives may have had tools, language and culture. Why did we thrive while they perished?
Alan Alda has issued this year’s challenge to the world’s top scientists: What is sound? In an action-packed hour of interactive demonstrations, Alan and a team of communication experts invite the audience to explore what we hear, how we hear, and what that means for different species.