Machines' Sublime Dreams

We're fascinated by machines that can imitate humans, but also feel an existential discomfort around them. Today, the primal distinction between man and technology is blurrier than ever.

In a new book, "Sublime Dreams of Living Machines," University of Missouri-St. Louis history professor Minsoo Kang traces the complicated relationship humans have had with the mechanical man, as a symbol and an actual entity, throughout European history. We're fascinated by machines that can imitate humans, he says, but also feel an existential discomfort around them—an uneasiness that stems from their ability to obscure what seems like a fundamental truth of the universe, the line between the living and the inanimate.

Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
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  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
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A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
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  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
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Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.

  • Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
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