Today we’re excited to present our most ambitious special project to date, Machines With Brains. It’s an outgrowth of our obsession with artificial intelligence, robots, drones, self-driving cars, and chatbots. While the obsession focuses on the latest news and advancements in robotics and AI, today’s project delves more deeply into what it means to be human in a world that is increasingly powered by these technologies.
The stories in this series took reporters from Milton, Wisconsin, to Chongqing, China. The result is 13 longform, interactive stories, with original photography, illustration, and video.
- We tell the story of Johnny Matheny, who lost part of his arm to cancer and will receive the world’s most advanced, mind-controlled prosthetic.
- We learn about how the tragic loss of her best friend prompted Eugenia Kuyda to create an application that offers companionship for people that feel alone.
- We get a first look inside the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center where IBM’s Watson is working with oncologists to fight cancer.
- We visit a small town in Wisconsin that has been decimated by a shifting highway route, offering us a glimpse of a future where highways are populated by self-driving trucks.
- We spend time in an elderly care facility in China that is using robots as companions.
- We follow the journey of amateur roboticist Ricky Ma, who built a robot that looks just like Scarlett Johansson.
- We dive into Brian Christian’s quest to prove he’s more human than a robot.
- We answer the following question: Why are the robots in films like Her and Ex Machina the most human characters?
- Google X’s Astro Teller and author Ray Kurzweil tell us what it means to be a robot.
- We examine how thousands of algorithms could reshape the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
- We talk to workers for a software-testing company who are managed by an algorithm.
- We explore the characteristics that make robots appealing to humans, according to former Pixar engineers who are now building them.
- We visit Chris Atkeson at Carnegie Mellon where he developed Baymax for Big Hero 6 and continues to be a pioneer in the field of soft robotics.
At the heart of each story is the very human desire to feel more whole.
This project combines the depth of a narrative magazine with the agility of digital media and Quartz’s mobile-native approach. The interface is heavily tactile and encourages you to interact by swiping and tapping through stories. Videos are made to work best on your phone.
The launch sponsor for this project is HPE. You’ll find their bot Hugo integrated in the project.
We hope you enjoy these stories and will let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.