Category archives: Humanities & Social Sciences

Deadbots can speak for you after your death

Deadbots can speak for you after your death

Computer scienceEthicsSociology

By Invited Researcher

Machine-learning systems are increasingly worming their way through our everyday lives, challenging our moral and social values and the rules that govern them. These days, virtual assistants threaten the privacy of the home; news recommenders shape the way we understand the world; risk-prediction systems tip social workers on which children to protect from abuse; while […]

Is Ukrainian a language or a dialect? That depends on whom you ask and how the war ends

Is Ukrainian a language or a dialect? That depends on whom you ask and how the war ends

LinguisticsSociology

By Invited Researcher

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the number of people studying Ukrainian on Duolingo, a language learning website and mobile app, has increased by more than 500%. Most of those who are taking up Ukrainian are probably unaware that there is a long-running controversy about this particular form of speech. One side views […]

Future evolution: from looks to brains and personality, how will humans change in the next 10,000 years?

Future evolution: from looks to brains and personality, how will humans change in the next 10,000 years?

AnthropologyBiologyEvolution

By Invited Researcher

Humanity is the unlikely result of 4 billion years of evolution. From self-replicating molecules in Archean seas, to eyeless fish in the Cambrian deep, to mammals scurrying from dinosaurs in the dark, and then, finally, improbably, ourselves – evolution shaped us. Organisms reproduced imperfectly. Mistakes made when copying genes sometimes made them better fit to […]

On theory and observation (1):  The theoretician’s dilemma

On theory and observation (1): The theoretician’s dilemma

Philosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

Contemporary philosophy of science was, at least during its first decades (those of the glorious Vienna Circle), a kingdom of radically empiricist and positivist intellectuals: scientific knowledge had to be obtained and tested mainly through experiment, and everything that could not be robustly grounded on experimental observations was just dangerous speculation and metaphysics. The connections […]

The dawn of what?

The dawn of what?

AnthropologyHistory

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

For the intellectual history of our century, one of the most important books published in 2021 will probably be David Graeber’s and David Wengrow’s The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity , a monumental description of the evolution of the first human societies and of our understanding thereof. The book is conceived as […]