A defining characteristic of the way many people live today is persistent online connectedness. Since the introduction of smartphones about 15 years ago, the rapid and broad adoption of these devices has had an impact on people’s behaviour at all hours of the day. Forecasts suggest that the number of smartphone connections in sub-Saharan Africa will reach 678 million by the end of 2025, representing an adoption rate of 65%.
Sometimes when I ask myself why I’ve made a certain choice, I realise I don’t actually know. To what extent we are ruled by things we aren’t conscious of? – Paul, 43, London
In our never-ending quest to understand what happens to us after we die, humans have long seen the rare phenomenon of near-death experiences as providing some hints. People who’ve had a brush with death often report seeing and experiencing life-altering events on “the other side,” like a bright white light at the end of a long tunnel, or being reunited with lost relatives or beloved pets. But despite the seemingly supernatural nature of these experiences, experts say that science can explain why they happen – and what’s really going on.