John Pavlus

Contributing Writer

Q&A

How to Build a Robot That Wants to Change the World

And not destroy humanity in the process.

Digital question marks surrounded by vines
Wired to Learn: The Next AI

Clever Machines Learn How to Be Curious

Computer scientists are finding ways to code curiosity into intelligent machines.

The mathematician Ken Ono in his office at Emory University in Atlanta.
Q&A

A Life Inspired by an Unexpected Genius

Greatness was always expected of Ken Ono. But as he struggled with his parents’ expectations, he found solace and inspiration in the life of two-time college dropout — and mathematical genius — Srinivasa Ramanujan, the subject of the film The Man Who Knew Infinity.

Q&A

Searching for the Algorithms Underlying Life

The biological world is computational at its core, argues computer scientist Leslie Valiant.

Computer Science

A New Map Traces the Limits of Computation

A major advance in computational complexity reveals deep connections between the classes of problems that computers can — and can’t — possibly do.

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Scientific American, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing series. He lives in Portland, Oregon.