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Vanessa Bates Ramirez

Vanessa Bates Ramirez

Vanessa is associate editor of Singularity Hub. She's interested in renewable energy, health and medicine, international development, and countless other topics. When she's not reading or writing you can usually find her outdoors, in water, or on a plane.

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From This Author


Elon Musk’s Boring Company to Build 150 mph Chicago Loop to O’Hare

What’s the best way to get to and from the airport? The subway is cheap, but it means hauling your luggage around and sitting there through all the stops that aren’t yours. Cabs and...

Microsoft’s Wild New Project Puts Servers at the Bottom of the Ocean

Last week, a few miles off the northern coast of Scotland, a cylinder the size of a shipping container was carefully lowered to the bottom of the ocean floor. Sounds like a clever (if...

The Epic Project to Record the DNA of All Life on Earth

Advances in biotechnology over the past decade have brought rapid progress in the fields of medicine, food, ecology, and neuroscience, among others. With this progress comes ambition for even more progress—realizing we’re capable of, say,...

Leapfrogging Tech Is Changing Millions of Lives. Here’s How

Walking through any city in the US, you may not notice the evidence of centuries of technological progress around you. From the power lines snaking above to the people tapping away on their smartphones...

Robots Can Swim, Fetch, Lift, and Dance. But Can They Assemble an Ikea Chair?

Robotics has come a long way in the past few years. Robots can now fetch items from specific spots in massive warehouses, swim through the ocean to study marine life, and lift 200 times...

Tiny Tooth Sensor Tracks What You Eat, and It Could Help You Be Healthier

The South Beach diet. The Atkins diet. Eating paleo. Cutting out gluten. Going vegan. The list of fad diets and health crazes goes on, yet health statistics in the US and around the world...

MIT’s New Voiceless Interface Can Read the Words in Your Head

The way we interact with the technology in our lives is getting progressively more seamless. If typing terms or addresses into your phone wasn’t easy enough, now you can just tell Siri to do...

This 3D Printed Electric Car Will Enter Production This Year

Cars have gone from a “get me from point A to point B by burning gas” mode of transportation to a dream project for innovative techies. Cars can now run on electricity, be summoned...

Watch This Lifelike Robot Fish Swim Through the Ocean

Earth’s oceans are having a rough go of it these days. On top of being the repository for millions of tons of plastic waste, global warming is affecting the oceans and upsetting marine ecosystems...

This 3D Printed House Goes Up in a Day for Under $10,000

There aren’t a ton of ways to build a house other than the way houses have always been built, which is to say, by putting up four walls then adding a roof. This ages-old...

If Energy Becomes Free in the Future, How Will That Affect Our Lives?

Technology is making the cost of many things trend towards zero. Things we used to have to pay a lot for are now cheap or even free—think about how much it costs to buy...

How Blockchain Is Helping Democratize Access to Credit

Inclusive and sustainable economic growth is goal 8 on the UN’s list of 17 sustainable development goals to be accomplished by 2030. Goal 8’s description emphasizes job creation, but acknowledges the fact that there’s...

New CRISPR Method Takes on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

The advance of CRISPR gene editing technology, which uses an RNA strand to guide an enzyme called Cas9 to cut a specific portion of DNA, has raised concerns and sparked debate as people envision...

The Biggest Tech Takeaways From the 2018 World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland wrapped up last week. The WEF exists to improve the state of the world by fostering cooperation between governments, NGOs, and the private sector. In...

Chinese Scientists Just Cloned a Monkey—Here Are the Details

In 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be cloned from a somatic cell. Twenty years later, scientists have succeeded in using the same technique on primates—as detailed in a study published...

New Research Brings Us Closer to Cheap, Transparent, Organic Solar Cells

The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end, and the age of renewable energy has dawned—or, it will be dawning soon. In 2014 the World Bank estimated that over 80 percent of...

This Neural Network Built by Japanese Researchers Can ‘Read Minds’

It already seems a little like computers can read our minds; features like Google’s auto-complete, Facebook’s friend suggestions, and the targeted ads that appear while you’re browsing the web sometimes make you wonder, “How...

World Poverty Has Plummeted—But Will It Ever Disappear?

Few will deny 2017 was a rough year. But believe it or not, we’re still living in the best time ever to be alive, and the world as a whole is better off than...

Digitized to Democratized: These Are the 6 Ds of Exponential Technologies

“The Six Ds are a chain reaction of technological progression, a road map of rapid development that always leads to enormous upheaval and opportunity.” –Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Bold We live in incredible times....

This Self-Driving AI Is Learning to Drive Almost Entirely in a Virtual World

I don’t have to open the doors of AImotive’s white 2015 Prius to see that it’s not your average car. This particular Prius has been christened El Capitan, the name written below the rear...

The Surprising Ways Social Media Is Making Us Healthier

When you go to the doctor or the hospital and get your vitals checked, it’s safe to assume they’re recorded and processed as data. The same goes for your weight, imaging procedures like X-rays...

Why the Best Healthcare Hacks Are the Most Low-Tech

Technology has the potential to solve some of our most intractable healthcare problems. In fact, it’s already doing so, with inventions getting us closer to a medical Tricorder, and progress toward 3D printed organs,...

The Age Wave Is Transforming Longevity—and It’s Just the Beginning

Do you want to live to be 100? If your immediate answer was yes, here’s a follow-up question: if you could live to 100, what conditions would you want to accompany your longevity? You would probably...

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci to Unlock Your Creative Potential

“You are gifted with virtually unlimited potential for learning and creativity,” said author Michael Gelb. In a keynote presentation at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine Summit in San Diego this week, Gelb shared his insights for maximizing...

The World’s First Floating Wind Farm Is an Incredible Feat of Engineering

Wind turbines are a valuable source of renewable energy, but it can be hard to find a good place to put them. They need to be close to a populated area so that transporting...

What It Will Take for the World to Keep Getting Better

Compared to life 100 years ago, life these days is pretty good by many measures. You’ve probably heard the statistics: poverty and infant mortality are down, life expectancy is up, and infectious diseases are...

Decentralized Home Solar Power Is Lighting Up Sub-Saharan Africa

According to tech optimists, the world is consistently getting better, and technology is partly to thank. It seems plausible given statistics about reductions in poverty rates, longer life expectancy, increased literacy, and the like. But...
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This Is What Happens When a Robot Assassin Goes to Therapy

Computers are getting good at a lot of things they didn’t used to be able to do at all. They can drive cars, diagnose patients, and understand speech. They’ve even started to be capable...

I Saw Her Face, Now I’m a Believer—Facial Recognition Tech Goes Mainstream

Apple describes the iPhone X as being “so immersive the device itself disappears into the experience, and so intelligent it can respond to a tap, your voice, and even a glance.” The phone boasts features...

How the Intelligent Home of the Future Will Care For You

As Dorothy famously said in The Wizard of Oz, there’s no place like home. Home is where we go to rest and recharge. It’s familiar, comfortable, and our own. We take care of our...
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Watch These 1,069 Robots Dance Their Way to a New World Record

There are so many things robots can do nowadays. They can shuttle products around a warehouse, make burgers and pizza, and teach each other new things. Most of the capabilities we’ve given robots are useful—but...

NASA Made This Technology for Space—Now, It Will Improve What We Eat

“The human eye has to be one of the cruelest tricks nature ever pulled.” These were Abi Ramanan’s opening words in a talk called "The Future of the Food Chain," presented at Singularity University’s...

Why Empowering Women Is the Best Way to Solve Climate Change

In April of this year, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading over 410 parts per million (ppm). This is a brand-new state of affairs, as humans have never...

Civilization Is Breaking Down—Here’s What We Need to Do About It

“I think civilization is fundamentally breaking down today.” These were the opening words of Salim Ismail’s talk at Singularity University’s Global Summit in San Francisco this week. Not the most uplifting intro. But the...

12 Companies That Are Making the World a Better Place

The Singularity University Global Summit in San Francisco this week brought brilliant minds together from all over the world to share a passion for using science and technology to solve the world’s most pressing...

These 7 Forces Are Changing the World at an Extraordinary Rate

It was the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who first said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” He was onto something. But even he would likely be left speechless at the scale and pace of...

3D Printed Blood Vessels Offer New Possibilities for Testing Drugs

Bioprinting enthusiasts envision a future where we’ll be able to print functional human organs on demand, putting an end to transplant waiting lists and health problems and deaths related to organ failure. That future isn’t...

The Age of Cyborgs Has Arrived

How many cyborgs did you see during your morning commute today? I would guess at least five. Did they make you nervous? Probably not; you likely didn’t even realize they were there. In a presentation...

The World’s First Autonomous Ship Will Set Sail In 2018

What A Norwegian container ship called the Yara Birkeland will be the world’s first electric, autonomous, zero-emissions ship. With a capacity of up to 150 shipping containers, the battery-powered ship will be small compared to...

These Pizza Robots Assemble Perfect Pies in Minutes

Oh pizza, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Your golden, flaky crust. Your salty-sweet tomato sauce. Your gooey, stretchy cheese. Your predictive algorithms and efficiently automated production line… Wait, what? Sounds like a...

All Great Artists Share This One Quality—Can AI Learn It Too?

Think about your favorite work of art. Why do you like it so much? What does it do for you? Be it painting, sculpture, music, or writing, we love art not just for its beauty,...

New Film ‘Food Evolution’ Takes on One of the Most Polarizing Scientific Topics

One Tuesday morning, as his family bustled around the house getting ready for the day, Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s phone lit up with a text message from his neighbor. “Can I borrow some organic milk?”...

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Europe’s Huge New Vertical Farm

The Eindhoven High Tech Campus, a 90-minute train ride south of Amsterdam, consists of two rows of nondescript mid-rise office buildings on either side of a wide, tree-lined road. In typical Dutch fashion, there’s...

This Mini Wind Turbine Can Power Your Home in a Gentle Breeze

The first time you see a Nemoi wind turbine, you may not realize it’s a turbine at all. A white and silver metallic structure about the size of a garden shrub, Nemoi has three...

Why the Future of Stuff Is Having More and Owning Less

If you’re one of the many people who’s embraced the sharing economy, you’ve probably stayed in someone else’s apartment or ridden in someone else’s car. Maybe you’ve also done away with your clutter of...

This Tech Could Charge Electric Cars While They Drive

The global auto industry is worth $2 trillion, but electric and hybrid cars currently make up less than one percent of that figure. However, experts are predicting an explosion in electric car adoption. Financial services...

Connecting People to Prosperity in the Exponential Age

“Our assumptions about how economies function no longer seem to hold true entirely because of exponential technology.” This claim came from entrepreneur and Singularity University faculty member, Amin Toufani, during his talk at Singularity University’s...

How Blockchain Can Make Identification Borderless and Immutable

Refugees fleeing conflict zones around the world have to deal with hardships like illness, hunger, exhaustion, and culture shock. They have to keep their families together and find shelter and food in safe environments...

Technology Will Erase Jobs—But Also Make Everything Cheap or Free

At an event about how technology is shaping the future of money, it seems counterintuitive to talk about a future where technology has mostly done away with the need for money to live. But that’s...

Veo Gives Robots ‘Eyes and a Brain’ So They Can Safely Work With People

The robots are coming. Actually, they’re already here. Machines are learning to do tasks they’ve never done before, from locating and retrieving goods from a shelf to driving cars to performing surgery. In manufacturing environments,...

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