A golden age for cult dramas

Against this backdrop of mind-numbing obedience to authority has emerged a rich genre of cult-themed shows and documentaries. Hulu is debuting a brilliant first season of a series inspired by Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The same network is serving up a solid, if in some ways less inspired second season of The Path. And HBO is running the final season of what may be the best drama ever made about faith and the human condition – The Leftovers. Our best hope for understanding current events probably lies in fiction. And fiction, unlike current events, is not letting us down.

Challenge and opportunity in AI

At a fundamental level our challenge is not Vladimir Putin or Communism or Capitalism or terrorism or crime. Survival for us depends on winning the same race won by our ancestors, a race to adapt our bodies, our cultures and our technologies to emerging demands before those demands overtake us.

Science and politics in a democracy

Our political process is premised on the notion that everyone is equal and therefore everyone’s perception of reality deserves a roughly equal weight. Apply this logic to questions of scientific expertise and the results are either comedy and tragedy, sometimes both.

Welcome to the machine

As we look for ways to understand what happened in Election 2016 and what looms ahead, we should perhaps be thinking less about questions of policy and more about the impact of data overload on our minds. We may be bumping against biological limits in our capabilities, limits that require us to develop new social and technological adaptations to help us cope. A rationalist model of how human beings should best process information may be approaching the end of its evolutionary utility.