The Ancient History of Intelligent Machines

Artificial servants, autonomous killing machines, surveillance systems, and sex robots have been part of the human imagination for thousands of years. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 2 days ago

'Art Is the Opposite of Spectacle': The Notebooks of Gabriel Orozco

Sketches and texts from the conceptual artist’s earliest notebooks offer a rare look inside his art-making process. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 4 days ago

Why People Vote Against Redistributive Policies That Would Benefit Them

New explanations from economics research. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 8 days ago

How Industry Weaponizes Science and Sows Doubt to Serve Their Agenda

“When you’re shining a light on something, almost everything else remains in the dark. And sometimes that darkness is deliberately kept dark.” | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 19 days ago

The Paradox of a Man’s Most-Feared Test, the PSA

The prostate-specific antigen test is one of the most lauded tests for prostate cancer. It’s also controversial and fraught with uncertainty. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 25 days ago

Before Pong, There Was Computer Space

Fifty years ago, Computer Space launched the video game industry. Here's why it never took off. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 1 month ago

How to Fire Frank Lloyd Wright

The untold story of a world-renowned architect, an obsessive librarian, and a $5,500 house that never was. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 1 month ago

AI Is No Match for the Quirks of Human Intelligence

We may sometimes behave like computers, but more often, we are creative, irrational, and not always too bright. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 1 month ago

Why Science Can't Settle Political Disputes

Attempts to scientifically “rationalize” policy, based on the belief that science is purified of politics, may be damaging democracy | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 2 months ago

The Truth, by Stanisław Lem

Lem's 1964 story, published in English for the first time, tells the tale of a scientist in an insane asylum theorizing that the sun is alive. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 2 months ago

Walking Trees, Parasitic Flowers, and Other Remarkable Plants

A series of botanical encounters in the rainforest, excerpted from Francis Hallé’s book “Atlas of Poetic Botany.” | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 2 months ago

The Engineered Student: On B. F. Skinner’s Teaching Machine

The story of teaching machines is deeply intertwined with Skinner’s psycho-technologies, which laid a foundation from which education technology has never entirely broken. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 2 months ago

How American Environmentalism Failed

Traditional environmentalism has lacked a meaningful, practical democratic vision, rendering it largely marginal to the day-to-day lives of most Americans. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 2 months ago

An Illustrated Guide to Post-Orwellian Censorship

Modern authoritarian regimes don’t attempt total, absolute control. Their censorship is more selective and calibrated — and thus more resilient. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 3 months ago

When in Doubt, Copy

Easy and effective, copying is how we cope with unpredictability. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 3 months ago

Psychogeography: A Purposeful Drift Through the City

If geographers “carve,” “draw,” or “write” the earth, psychogeographers add a zest of soul to the mix, linking earth, mind and foot. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 3 months ago

Alien Dreams: The Long History of Speculation About Extraterrestrials

The idea that other worlds might be home to alien beings has been part of our thought for as long as we have been looking skyward. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 3 months ago

The Cold War Fashion Showdown

The Russians may have been winning the space race in the 1950s, but they couldn’t hold a candle to the sophistication of Western dress. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 3 months ago

A Century of Science Fiction That Changed How We Think About the Environment

Even before the idea of climate change took hold, sci-fi began to think of the planet as something that preceded our species and could conceivably continue without us. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 4 months ago

Powers of Hearing: The Military Science of Sound Location

During WWI the act of hearing was recast as a tactical activity — one that could determine human and even national survival. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 4 months ago

The Silences Between: On the Perils and Pitfalls of Translation

From literature to films and advertising, when it comes to translation, the opportunities for misinterpretation are rife. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 4 months ago

Frogs Want to Be Heard. Yannick Dauby Is Listening

For nearly two decades, French sound artist Yannick Dauby has journeyed all over Taiwan capturing the songs of frogs. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 5 months ago

Paris Sportif: The Contagious Attraction of Parkour

In a city fixated on public health and order, a viral extreme sport offers a challenge to the status quo. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 5 months ago

Re-counting the cognitive history of numerals

Linguistic and cognitive anthropologist Stephen Chrisomalis reckons with numbers and the mind. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 5 months ago

Blaming Our Genes: The Heritability of Behavior (2012)

Learn how to perform a deep-learning side-channels attack using TensorFlow to recover AES cryptographic keys from a hardware device power traces, step by step. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 5 months ago

Removing Borders, Erasing Palestinians: Israeli Population Maps After 1967

Facebook has developed a machine learning system that can recognize speech without the need for transcribed data.. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 6 months ago

Amo, Ergo Cogito: A Philosopher on Love as a Way of Seeing

Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 6 months ago

Alphonse Bertillon and the Troubling Pursuit of Human Metrics

To measure was to apprehend and be made accountable, and nowhere was this more resonant than in the identification and classification of criminals. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 6 months ago

The Eldritch Roots of Dungeons and Dragons

Two D&D experts discuss the influences on the world’s most popular role-playing game, from pulp magazines to fantasy fiction. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 7 months ago

America’s Conflicted Landscapes

A nation that identifies itself with nature begins to fall apart when it can no longer agree on what nature is. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 7 months ago

Experience is in unexpected places, including in all animals, large and small, and perhaps even in brute matter itself. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 8 months ago

A Short History of the Sublime

The sublime underlies the nobility of Classicism, the awe of Romantic nature, and the terror of the Gothic. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 8 months ago

Cherokee Numerals

Nearly consigned to oblivion, Sequoyah’s numerals can be seen as evidence for the ongoing capacity and tendency for humans to develop new numerical notations. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 8 months ago

Is Consciousness Everywhere?

Experience is in unexpected places, including in all animals, large and small, and perhaps even in brute matter itself. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 8 months ago

Future Encyclopedia of Luddism: Alternate Economic-Industrial History and Future

A glimpse of an alternative economic and industrial history and future, in which the Luddites were successful in their battle against alienating technology. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 9 months ago

Gravesites of Architects

An illustrated guide to the often-humble final resting places of famous architects, from Alvar Aalto to Frank Lloyd Wright. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 9 months ago

Cognitive Bias Can Explain Post-Truth

Our built-in biases help explain our post-truth era, when “alternative facts” replace actual facts, and feelings have more weight than evidence. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 10 months ago

Tech companies are profiling us from before birth

Children today are the very first generation of citizens to be datafied from before birth. The social and political consequences of this historical transformation have yet to be seen. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 10 months ago

A Brief History of Consumer Culture

Over the course of the 20th century, capitalism preserved its momentum by molding the ordinary person into a consumer with an unquenchable thirst for more stuff. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 10 months ago

When Birds Migrated to the Moon

From the ancient Greeks to the 17th century, a terrestrial phenomenon baffled scientists: Where did the birds go in winter? | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 11 months ago

Stanisław Lem's Reflections on the Objects of His Childhood Home

An excerpt from the science fiction master's memoir “Highcastle: A Remembrance." | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 11 months ago

The Remarkable Ways Our Brains Slip into Synchrony

Many of our most influential experiences are shared with and, according to a growing body of cognitive science research, partly shaped by other people. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 11 months ago

Death Dust: The Story of U.S. and Soviet Pursuit of Radiological Weapons

Three international security experts chart the rise and fall of radiological weapons programs in the United States and the Soviet Union. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 11 months ago

Pac-Man Revolutionized Gaming

The original game is at the root of a rich design tradition, one that goes well beyond detailed graphics and fluid controls. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 1 year ago

What the Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon Says About Cognitive Aging

While word-finding failures can be taken as evidence of memory problems, they may not be harbingers of befuddlement after all. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 1 year ago

New Chemistry and the Birth of Public Hygiene

Controlling pollutions through disinfection, rather than preventing them outright, marked a critical feature of the chemical revolution that crested in the 1770s. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 1 year ago

The Air-Conditioned Cowboy: A History of El Rancho Vegas

The El Rancho, a self-contained and luxurious resort built along a busted-up highway in 1941, set the tone for the Las Vegas Strip. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 1 year ago

When Objects Become Extensions of You

Whether they are tools, toys, or mirror reflections, external objects temporarily become part of who we are all the time. | Continue reading


@thereader.mitpress.mit.edu | 1 year ago