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Sveta McShane

Sveta McShane

Sveta writes about the intersection of biology and technology (and occasionally other things). She also enjoys long walks on the beach, being underwater and climbing rocks. You can follow her @svm118.

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From This Author


Why the World Is Still Getting Better—and That’s Likely to Continue

If you read or watch the news, you’ll likely think the world is falling to pieces. Trends like terrorism, climate change, and a growing population straining the planet’s finite resources can easily lead you...

Machines Won’t Replace Us—We’ll Become Their Mentors

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” –John Culkin (based on Marshall McLuhan’s ideas) Something big is happening in design and engineering. For all of human history, we...

This Playful Lab-in-a-Box Will Teach You How to Reprogram Life

We’re in the midst of a life sciences revolution. The natural world, including our own bodies, is becoming malleable in a completely unprecedented way. Today, we have the ability to turn any human cell...

Pill Packing 100 Billion Designer Bacteria Could Be Tested Next Year

Bacteria are among the oldest life forms on Earth and exist nearly everywhere; in the soil, water, deep in the earth’s crust and in our own bodies. Actually, there are at least as many...

Why the World Is Better Than Ever—and Will Get Better Still

If you read or watch the news, you’ll likely think the world is falling to pieces. Trends like terrorism, climate change, and a growing population straining the planet’s finite resources can easily lead you...

How to Train Thousands of Surgeons at the Same Time in Virtual Reality

Recently, I wrote about how the future of surgery is going to be robotic, data-driven and artificially intelligent. Although it’s approaching fast, that future is still in the works. In the meantime, there is a...

The Future of Surgery Is Robotic, Data-Driven, and Artificially Intelligent 

As far back as 3,500 years ago ancient Egyptian doctors were performing invasive surgeries. Even though our tools and knowledge have improved drastically over time, until very recently surgery was still a manual task...

3 DNA Technologies That Will Forever Change Your Home Life

You’ve likely heard that the DNA revolution is here, but we’ve yet to see it manifest in our daily lives and homes. Speaking at this year’s Exponential Medicine conference, Raymond McCauley talked about how our...

What Happens When You Create a Chatbot to Memorialize a Friend

Whenever we lose someone close to us, there's an inclination, a need even, to sort through our memories of that person. Memories not just in our minds, but our digital memories too—emails, texts, photos,...

Surprisingly, Plant Microbes May Be an Answer to Our Growing Food Needs

Organizations as diverse as the United Nations and Monsanto are in agreement that we need to double our food production globally by 2050 to feed the world’s population. But our current agricultural process is one...

Engineering Will Soon Be ‘More Parenting Than Programming’

"What's a crazy idea you believe in that others don't agree with?" Peter Diamandis posed this classic question (which originated with Peter Thiel) during an interview with Steve Jurvetson at Singularity University's first ever Global Summit. A successful venture...

5 Incredible Ways Scientists Are Merging Our Brains With Machines

I've been reading Ramez Naam's fantastic book "Nexus," which is set in a near-future where a powerful nano-drug allows human minds to connect together. In the story, a group of enterprising neuroscientists and engineers...

Harvard Biologists Just Demonstrated the Most Extensive Reengineering of a Genome Yet

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have "radically rewritten" the genome of bacteria E. coli. The team has replaced 7 of its 64 codons (3-letter sequences which correspond usually to a single animo acid.) The lab, led by George...

Scientists Hoped to Have Cloned a Living Woolly Mammoth by Now — Why Haven’t We?

Five years ago, we wrote about a team of Japanese scientists who predicted they would successfully clone a woolly mammoth within five years. So, why don't we have a living mammoth yet? Even though the...

Paralyzed Patients Able to Move After Using a Mind-Controlled Exoskeleton

Researchers at Duke University were surprised to find that the process of learning to use a brain-machine interface (BMI) and exoskeleton led to neurological recovery in paralyzed patients who had suffered spinal cord injury. While...

Why Big Data Is Much More Personal Than You Think

Most people think of big data as some amorphous cloud of information. Even a definition everyone agrees on is hard to pin down. What makes data ‘big’? Most rely on the three V's to define it:...

How Bacteria Will One Day Wire Your Favorite Devices

Imagine if one day the electrical wires in your cell phone were made by bacteria — and were even smaller and more conductive than today's technology. Scientists at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst imagine just...

In the Future, Our Favorite Animal Products Will Be Animal-Free

A couple years ago, a friend told me he didn’t eat meat because he believed that in the future advanced AI would learn from us and treat humans the way we had treated less...

Chisels to Genes: How We’ll Soon Grow What We Used to Build

“At the end of the day, as a society, we need to stop manufacturing everything and grow everything.”   — Jason Kelly, Founder of Gingko Bioworks Most people would agree we still have much...
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The Netflix of Finance Suggests Stocks Based on Where You Shop

Exponential Finance celebrates the incredible opportunity at the intersection of technology and finance. We would all love to take better care of our finances. But the sad truth is, many of us don’t. In the...
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The World Will Be Continuously Upgradable When Everything Is Connected

Exponential Finance celebrates the incredible opportunity at the intersection of technology and finance. One day in the future, we’ll look back in wonder at how our physical objects used to be singular, disconnected pieces of...

Ray Kurzweil’s Four Big Insights for Predicting the Future

Self-driving cars, virtual reality games, bioprinting human organs, human gene editing, AI personalities, 3D printing in space, three billion people connected to the Internet…. These incredible technological feats are all part of our world today....
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5 Great Lessons on Scrappy Innovation for Big Companies Like GE

Kevin Nolan, CTO of GE Appliances, spent 28 years at General Electric, “trying to do innovation,” as he puts it, before giving up. He finally accepted he couldn’t do it, internally at least. At one...
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The Personal Factory Is Here—and It Will Bring a Wild New Era of Invention

Visit Singularity Hub for the latest from the frontiers of manufacturing and technology as we bring you coverage of Singularity University's Exponential Manufacturing summit. The software startup launching out of a garage or a dorm room...

Machines Won’t Replace Us, They’ll Force Us to Evolve

“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” - John Culkin (based on Marshall McLuhan’s ideas) Something big is happening in design and engineering. For all of human history,...

Ray Kurzweil Predicts Three Technologies Will Define Our Future

This is the last in a four-part series looking at the big ideas in Ray Kurzweil's book The Singularity Is Near. ​Be sure to read the other articles: Will the End of Moore’s Law Halt...

Why We Should Teach Kids to Code Biology, Not Just Software

Almost ten years ago, Freeman Dyson ventured a wild forecast:  “I predict that the domestication of biotechnology will dominate our lives during the next fifty years at least as much as the domestication of...

This Amazing Computer Chip Is Made of Live Brain Cells

A few years ago, researchers from Germany and Japan were able to simulate one percent of human brain activity for a single second. It took the processing power of one of the world’s most...

Goodyear’s Awesome New Spherical Tire Design For Autonomous Cars

What will the cars of the future be like? It’s fun to imagine how new technologies and design trends will influence future cars. Car bodies of the future might be completely 3D printed. They may...

UK Will Use CRISPR on Human Embryos — a Step Closer to Human Genome Editing

"It is human nature and inevitable in my view that we will edit our genomes for enhancements.” —J. Craig Venter This week, Kathy Niakan, a biologist working at the Francis Crick Institute in London received the...

CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing Is a Huge Deal, But It’s Just the Tip of the Iceberg

CRISPR/Cas9 has been touted as an almost magical technology in the news—and rightly so. The technique allows scientists to alter the DNA of living cells and, it’s hoped, achieve a longstanding goal of science...

Printable Organs Are Closer Than Ever Thanks to Three Bioprinting Breakthroughs

Over the next few weeks, while browsing cuties on the dating app, Tinder, you may find an image of a celebrity with an ‘organ donor’ icon next to their photo. By swiping right (usually...
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Sci-Fi Short Film ‘Uncanny Valley’ Paints a Dark Future for Virtual Reality

What’s the worst possible outcome of virtual reality technology going mainstream? A generation of burnt-out, washed-up VR junkies losing touch with reality and surviving only to sustain their virtual existence. That reality is where the haunting sci-fi...
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Future of Learning Series Wrap-Up: 8 Takes on How Tech Is Impacting Education

Over the past several weeks, we have been writing about how technology is impacting education as part of our 'Future of Learning' series. Our contributors explored the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly fast-paced digital...
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Argentina’s Plan to Grow a Culture of Innovation From the Classroom Up

Last week, the people of Argentina elected a new president. Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires, billed himself as the candidate of change during his presidential run, even naming the alliance of parties supporting...
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3 Ways Exponential Technologies Are Impacting the Future of Learning

“Simply put, we can’t keep preparing children for a world that doesn’t exist.” -Cathy N. Davidson Exponential technologies have a tendency to move from a deceptively slow pace of development to a disruptively fast pace. We...
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LIVESTREAM: ‘Future of Learning’ Event Live Tonight at 6pm PST

If you can't join us in person for our Future of Learning event this evening at Singularity University, don't worry. You can watch the livestream from the comfort of your own home or office. During this fun evening...

Future of Learning Series Launches Today

Join us at Singularity University on Thursday, November 5 for an interactive panel and workshop on the Future of Learning.   In a study released in 2003, the Berkeley School of Information found that in the...
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Interview: Nonny de la Peña “Godmother of VR” on How VR Will Transform News and Journalism

Nonny de la Peña has been called "The Godmother of Virtual Reality." Facebook's acquisition of Oculus may have spawned a VR goldrush among tech giants and start-ups alike, but Nonny de la Peña was in the...

Stories From Around The Web: The Challenges Facing Virtual Reality

For all the enthusiasm about virtual reality, there are still plenty of unsolved challenges — technical issues, cultural worries, and questions about market fit and timing. The articles below tackle these issues and ask: Does today's...

How Can Virtual Reality Improve the Quality of Life for People Around the World?

Every so often we post discussion questions here on Singularity Hub hoping to drive an interesting conversation. Today, I’d like to do a different type of discussion: a brainstorm session. Since the beginning of August, we’ve...
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Experience These Four Cutting-Edge VR Demos For Yourself

As part of our month-long Future of Virtual Reality series, we want to highlight the most interesting, innovative work in VR today; and we want you to try it for yourself. Chris Milk’s content company VRSE...
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Stories From Around the Web: Virtual Reality Is the Ultimate Empathy Machine

From the earliest plays and novels, artists have created mediated experiences for their audiences to entertain, teach and expand perspectives. The best of these have catapulted audiences into magical worlds and deep into the...

Is It Really So Bad If We Prefer Virtual Reality to Reality?

As I've been developing this series, I've gotten to spend time with people who are working on the coolest innovations in virtual reality. Surprisingly, whether they're the CEO of a haptics company or an academic...

Future of Virtual Reality Series Launches Today

If you’ve ever watched someone experience virtual reality for the first time, you know it can involve screaming, flapping arms, and occasional falls. On one level people know their bodies are safe on the stable...

Which Way Next? A New Singularity Hub Channel to (Re)Imagine the Future

Every moment is a crossroads. Every day we make countless seemingly unimportant decisions, which linked together over weeks, months and years make up the fabric of our lives. This is true from the micro...

Exponential Finance: This Startup Lets Anyone Send Digital Cash Without a Bank

Come to Singularity Hub for the latest from the frontiers of finance and technology as we bring you coverage of Singularity University and CNBC's Exponential Finance Summit. Today there are 6.8 billion cell phone subscriptions—almost as many...

Future of Work Series Launches Today

Singularity Hub is devoting this week to exploring a topic on many of people’s minds recently: The Future of Work. Have we already entered an era where exponentially growing technologies, among them AI and robotics,...

Summit Spain: What Is The Greatest Challenge Humanity Faces Today?

“What is the greatest challenge humanity faces today?” This question was posed by Nick Haan, Director of Global Grand Challenges at Singularity University, to the audience gathered at this year’s Summit Spain in Seville. “It depends...
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Virtual Reality to Push Limits of Storytelling at Sundance Film Festival

After decades of setbacks, false promises and unfulfilled expectations, virtual reality is finally on the tipping point of becoming a widely adopted technology and artistic medium—and it would appear filmmakers are embracing VR's potential. Later this month,...

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