If machines want to make art, will humans understand it?

Assuming that the emergence of consciousness in artificial minds is possible, those minds will feel the urge to create art. But will we be able to understand it? To answer this question, we need to consider two subquestions: when does the machine become an author of an artwork? And how can we form an understanding …

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For the full life experience, put down all devices and walk

Pedestrian: a word fitted to the most drab, tedious and monotonous moments of life. We don’t want to live pedestrian lives. Yet maybe we should. Many of history’s great thinkers have been pedestrians. Henry David Thoreau and William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Walt Whitman, Friedrich Nietzsche and Virginia Woolf, Arthur Rimbaud, Mahatma Gandhi, William …

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The fashionable history of social distancing

Cover: Crinolines, by design, made physical contact nearly impossible. Hulton Archive/Stringer via Getty Images The fashionable history of social distancing Crinolines, by design, made physical contact nearly impossible. Hulton Archive/Stringer via Getty Images Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, Case Western Reserve University As the world grapples with the coronavirus outbreak, “social distancing” has become a buzzword of these …

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Ditch the ‘destiny’ mindset – a ‘relationship growth’ one is likely to deliver better romantic partnerships. Laura Ockel

Have you found ‘the one’? How mindsets about destiny affect our romantic relationships

Cover: Ditch the ‘destiny’ mindset – a ‘relationship growth’ one is likely to deliver better romantic partnerships. Laura Ockel Have you found ‘the one’? How mindsets about destiny affect our romantic relationships Ditch the ‘destiny’ mindset – a ‘relationship growth’ one is likely to deliver better romantic partnerships. Laura Ockel Gery Karantzas, Deakin University If you …

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Winter solstice. Photo by Julian Stratenschulte/Dpa/Getty

Behold the power of the Sun, at its peak on winter solstice

Cover: The sky is powder blue, and the sun magnificent, as I stride through glittering grass and fallen sycamore seeds to Dowth, a Neolithic passage tomb in County Meath. Unlike its more famous neighbour, Newgrange, there are no tour buses here, no glitzy visitor centre, and – apart from today – no public access; only …

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The humble origins of ‘Silent Night’

Cover: This undated score, written by Joseph Mohr and titled ‘Weynachts Lied’ (‘Christmas Carol’), is the earliest known surviving copy of ‘Silent Night.’ Salzburg Museum The humble origins of ‘Silent Night’ This undated score, written by Joseph Mohr and titled ‘Weynachts Lied’ (‘Christmas Carol’), is the earliest known surviving copy of ‘Silent Night.’ Salzburg Museum …

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Cheers! How the physics of fizz contributes to human happiness

Cover Photo by Getty Images Think of the last time you had something to celebrate. If you toasted the happy occasion, your drink was probably alcoholic – and bubbly. Have you ever wondered why it’s so enjoyable to imbibe a glass of something that sets off a series of microexplosions in your mouth? A glass …

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Leftovers, as one French chef put it, ‘can be as good as, if not better than, the first time they are served.’ Tom Grundy/Shutterstock.com

What to do with those Thanksgiving leftovers? Look to the French

Cover: Leftovers, as one French chef put it, ‘can be as good as, if not better than, the first time they are served.’ Tom Grundy/Shutterstock.com What to do with those Thanksgiving leftovers? Look to the French Leftovers, as one French chef put it, ‘can be as good as, if not better than, the first time …

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The fast track to a life well lived is feeling grateful

Cover: Photo by David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images For the Ancient Greeks, virtue wasn’t a goal in and of itself, but rather a route to a life well lived. By being honest and generous, embodying diligence and fortitude, showing restraint and kindness, a person would flourish – coming to live a life filled with meaning …

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Being and drunkenness: how to party like an existentialist

Cover: Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre in Paris, June 1977. Photo by STF/AFP/Getty Images Existentialism has a reputation for being angst-ridden and gloomy mostly because of its emphasis on pondering the meaninglessness of existence, but two of the best-known existentialists knew how to have fun in the face of absurdity. Simone de Beauvoir and …

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