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The Biggest Questions is a mini-series that explores how technology is helping probe some of the deepest, most mind-bending questions of our existence.

The Biggest Questions: What is death?

New neuroscience is challenging our understanding of the dying process—bringing opportunities for the living.

The Biggest Questions: Why is the universe so complex and beautiful?

For some reason the universe is full of stars, galaxies, and life. But it didn’t have to be this way.

The Biggest Questions: Is it possible to really understand someone else’s mind?

How we think, feel and experience the world is a mystery to everyone but us. But technology may be starting to help us understand the minds of others.

The Biggest Questions: How did life begin?

AI is helping chemists unpick the mysteries around the origins of life and detect signs of it on other worlds.

The Biggest Questions: Are we alone in the universe?

Scientists are training machine-learning models and designing instruments to hunt for life on other worlds.


Our new issue!
November/December 2023

The Hard Problems issue

The intractable problem of plastics. Fixing the internet. Exploring what it would it take for AI to become conscious. Plus: there are so many urgent issues facing the world—where do we begin? Bill Gates, Lina Khan, Jennifer Doudna, and others offer their ideas.

Minds of machines: The great AI consciousness conundrum

Philosophers, cognitive scientists, and engineers are grappling with what it would take for AI to become conscious.

Government technology is famously bad. It doesn’t have to be.

New York City is fixing the relationship between government and technology–and not in the ways you’d expect.

Inside NASA’s bid to make spacecraft as small as possible

When it comes to exploring the solar system, we must grapple with the hard limits of physics.


Generative AI deployment: Strategies for smooth scaling

Our global poll examines key decision points for putting AI to use in the enterprise.

In association withAdobe, EY, Owkin


Some deaf children in China can hear after gene therapy treatment

After deafness treatment, Yiyi can hear her mother and dance to the music. But why is it so noisy at night?

Three things to know about the White House’s executive order on AI

Experts say its emphasis on content labeling, watermarking, and transparency represents important steps forward.

How a tiny Pacific Island became the global capital of cybercrime

Despite having a population of just 1,400, until recently, Tokelau’s .tk domain had more users than any other country. Here’s why.

Scientists just drafted an incredibly detailed map of the human brain

A massive suite of papers offers a high-res view of the human and non-human primate brain.

Google DeepMind’s weather AI can forecast extreme weather faster and more accurately

It said Hurricane Lee would make landfall in Nova Scotia three days sooner than traditional methods predicted.

What are the hardest problems in tech we should be more focused on as a society?

We asked prominent people in their field to weigh in on the underserved issues at the intersection of technology and society. Here's what they said.

Text-to-image AI models can be tricked into generating disturbing images

Nonsense words can trick Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2 into producing pictures that show violence and nudity.

How this Turing Award–winning researcher became a legendary academic advisor

Theoretical computer scientist Manuel Blum has guided generations of graduate students into fruitful careers in the field.

Google DeepMind wants to define what counts as artificial general intelligence

AGI is one of the most disputed concepts in tech. These researchers want to fix that.


All the latest from MIT News, the alumni magazine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Tapping into the ocean to combat climate change

Chloe Dean, a grad student in the MIT–Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution joint program, is working to help harness the power of the ocean to safely sequester carbon.


The Chinese government has enhanced its power—and the country’s tech sector—by using AI-based facial recognition to help stifle dissent.

Superhero U

From the invincible Iron Man to the diabolical Doctor Octopus, Marvel’s mightiest characters share ties to the Institute. Here’s why.

Energy-storing concrete

A mix of cheap, abundant materials could hold electricity from wind or solar in foundations or roads.

Low-power underwater communication

A battery-free system could send signals across kilometer-scale distances to aid climate monitoring and more.

A clever shield against photo fakery

AI makes it easy to tamper with images online, but an MIT-built system subtly alters them to foil the manipulation.

The tale of a carbon wrangler

Julio Friedmann ’88, SM ’90

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