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Vanessa Bates Ramirez

Vanessa Bates Ramirez

Vanessa is senior 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


Do We Have to Give Up Our Personal Freedoms to Beat Coronavirus?

In late December 2019 Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, sent a WeChat message to his medical school alumni group telling them that seven people with severe respiratory and flu-like symptoms...

After Coronavirus the World Will Never Be the Same. But Maybe, It Can Be Better

Life has changed a lot in the past few days, weeks, or months, depending where you live. As efforts to contain the novel coronavirus ramp up, it’s likely going to change even more. But...

Coronavirus May Mean Automation Is Coming Sooner Than We Thought

We’re in the midst of a public health emergency, and life as we know it has ground to a halt. The places we usually go are closed, the events we were looking forward to...

Scientists Just Proved These Two Brain Networks Are Key to Consciousness

Consciousness is one of the greatest mysteries of the human species. Where and how does it originate? Why do we have it? Is it even real, or just an illusion? These questions aren’t just hard...

Tesla Is Building Its First European Factory— But It Has to Clear a Forest First

Tesla is having a banner year, and we’re not even two months in. After reaching what was an all-time high in December at a value of $393.15 per share, last Wednesday the company’s stock...

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Finishes First Tunnel for 155mph Vegas Loop

Last month I attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas. I had a list of all the tech I wanted to see, talk to someone about, or try for myself, and I spent...

This Is What an AI Said When Asked to Predict the Year Ahead

“What’s past is prologue.” So says the famed quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, alleging that we can look to what has already happened as an indication of what will happen next. This idea could be...

The Weirdest, Wildest Ways We’re Using Drones—and What’s Ahead

Drones haven’t made too many headlines over the past few months, but they came back with a vengeance this week and last, with all sorts of new uses being reported. Some have the potential...

World’s Biggest 3D Printed Building Opens in Dubai

Just a few years ago, the idea of a house being spit out by a 3D printer would’ve sounded absurd to most of us. But not only have houses been 3D printed in multiple...

Microsoft’s Moonshot Plan to Reverse Its Lifetime CO2 Emissions by 2050

The alarming headlines about Australia’s bush fires over the last couple weeks have heightened the global outcry over climate change, and companies, NGOs, and governments are taking action. One of the most ambitious targets was...

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Will Power 4.5 Million Homes

Renewable energy statistics just keep topping each other. Solar power is getting cheaper. Battery storage capacity is getting better. And wind farms are getting bigger. 2019 saw the world’s biggest (at the time) offshore wind...

How Google’s New Weather AI Will Make Sure You Never Get Caught in the Rain

Among the many things we’ve become addicted to on our smartphones is checking the weather. If you’re anything like me, you open a weather app at least twice a day: in the morning to...

The Weird, the Wacky, the Just Plain Cool: Best of CES 2020

As you know if you've ever been to, heard of, or read about the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, there's no shortage of tech in any form: gadgets, gizmos, and concepts abound. You...

The Standout Tech Trends From CES 2020

Sensor-laden underwear. A toilet-paper-transporting robot. Headwear, wristwear, and bedside gadgets guaranteed to improve your sleep. These are just a few of the weirdest, wildest pieces of technology on display at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show...

Could Having Too Much Become a Bigger Problem Than Having Too Little?

Years ago I traveled to Juarez, Mexico for work, staying across the border in El Paso, Texas and driving back and forth each day. On the Texas side, American life bustled on as usual:...

Would You Want a Personal AI That Knows Everything About You?

A couple years ago I took part in a marketing video where I was recorded answering questions about my career path, interests, and goals. The next day, the videographer offered to show me the...

How Two Robots Learned to Grill and Serve the Perfect Hot Dog

The list of things robots can do seems to be growing by the week. They can play sports, help us explore outer space and the deep sea, take over some of our boring everyday...

A Community of 50 3D Printed Homes Is Under Construction in Mexico

Last year, the first permitted 3D printed house in the US went up in Austin, Texas. The house was a buzz-generating proof of concept, a wacky example of the cool things tech can do....

Silicon Valley’s China Paradox: What It Is, and How It Will Shape the Future of Tech

Silicon Valley has long been the world leader in tech innovation. It’s the cradle of startup culture, a hub for venture capital, and the home of dozens of global tech titans that are not...

Will Cultured Bacon Be Delicious? A Dutch Startup Is Developing the First Lab-Grown Pork

The food chain has always worked roughly like this: sunlight feeds plants. Plants feed insects. Insects and plants feed animals. Plants and animals feed people. Then eventually—not to get too morbid here—people feed the...

An AI Debated Its Own Potential for Good vs. Harm. Here’s What It Came up With

Artificial intelligence is going to overhaul the way we live and work. But will the changes it brings be for the better? As the technology slowly develops (let’s remember that right now, we’re still...

How Selfish Are You? It Matters for MIT’s New Self-Driving Algorithm

Our personalities impact almost everything we do, from the career path we choose to the way we interact with others to how we spend our free time. But what about the way we drive—could personality...

To Reinvent Healthcare, Stop Treating Patients and Start Building Communities

It’s not news that healthcare costs in the US are sky-high. What might be news to some, though, is that year over year, we’re spending more money to treat illness and disease, but getting...

We Should Use AI to Rescue Modern Medicine From Itself

Labor unions have been around since the mid-19th century, and they’ve helped many a teacher, government employee, electrical worker, and others gain fairer pay or better working conditions. Unions give workers a chance to...

Why Medicine Needs a New Hippocratic Oath—and What It Should Be

Somewhere along the road from sickness to health, the American medical system took a wrong turn—a big one. The cost of care in our country is sky-high, yet our population health outcomes tend to be...

We’ll Soon Be Able to Prosper and Save the Earth at the Same Time. Here’s How

Life is pretty different today than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Smartphones and the internet have changed the way we do business, interact socially, and spend our free time. As tech...

Can Tech Hack World Hunger? It’s Trying

The feats technology is accomplishing these days have become so impressive and fantastical that real headlines often seem like fake news. Robots can play sports like basketball and soccer. Human-monkey hybrid embryos were recently...

The End of the Chinese Miracle Is in Sight. What’s Next?

Governments around the world are rushing to keep up with emerging technologies. No one wants to be left behind as more industries and facets of life are impacted by the transition from analogue to...

Driverless and Electric, or Car-Free? The Cities Cutting Out Cars, and Why

It’s common consensus in the tech industry that the days of cars as we know them—powered by gas, driven by humans, and individually owned by all who want and can afford one—are numbered. Imminent...

Tech Is Fueling the Hong Kong Movement. Here’s How, and Why It’s a Huge Step for Freedom

Over the past two months, Hong Kong has roared into global headlines. Its seven million citizens have increasingly taken to the streets (and the capital building, and the airport) to protest China’s move to...

These Are the Meta-Trends Shaping the Future (at Breakneck Speed)

Life is pretty different now than it was 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. It’s sort of exciting, and sort of scary. And hold onto your hat, because it’s going to keep...

Driverless Electric Trucks Are Coming, and They’ll Affect You More Than You Think

Self-driving and electric cars just don’t stop making headlines lately. Amazon invested in self-driving startup Aurora earlier this year. Waymo, Daimler, GM, along with startups like Zoox, have all launched or are planning to...

First Human CRISPR Trial in the US Aims to Cure Inherited Blindness

Gene editing is advancing at a faster pace than most of us can keep up with. One significant recent announcement was gene editing tool CRISPR’s application to non-genetic diseases thanks to a new ability...

Are Robots Coming for Our Jobs? Careful, It’s a Trick Question

The robots are coming, and they’ll probably take your job when they get here. Oh wait—have you heard that recently? As recently as, say, yesterday? In the news, or from a coworker, or in a...

The Biggest Offshore Wind Project in the US Is Underway

From the steady growth in market share of electric cars to continuous improvement and expansion of solar energy technology, it appears the world is going renewable—the age of fossil fuels is slowly but surely...

Inching Towards Abundant Water: New Progress in Desalination Tech

In early 2018, Cape Town, South Africa came dangerously close to being the world’s first major city to run out of water. People lined up for blocks to collect spring water. Stores sold out...

This Cool Artificial Reef Was Just Deployed in Sydney Harbor

Earth’s oceans have seen better days. They’re inundated with plastic waste, both whole single-use plastics and tons of plastic microparticles that find their way back into our food and drinking water. Their water temperatures...

This Lab-Grown Patch Could Repair Your Heart After a Heart Attack

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US for both men and women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 735,00 Americans have a heart attack each year, and...

The New Science of Psychedelics: A Tool for Changing Our Minds

As our prosperity rises, our mental health is on the decline—and fast. Rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, addiction, and other psychological disorders have skyrocketed in recent years, and nobody knows what to do about...

What Would It Mean for AI to Become Conscious?

As artificial intelligence systems take on more tasks and solve more problems, it’s hard to say which is rising faster: our interest in them or our fear of them. Futurist Ray Kurzweil famously predicted...

7 Non-Obvious Trends Shaping the Future

When you think of trends that might be shaping the future, the first things that come to mind probably have something to do with technology: Robots taking over jobs. Artificial intelligence advancing and proliferating....

SETI Is Making a New ‘Mixtape for Aliens’, and You Can Contribute

For centuries, people have looked up at the sky and wondered whether we’re alone in the universe. Science fiction and popular media have imagined various ways humans might encounter and communicate with life from...

To Be Ethical, AI Must Become Explainable. How Do We Get There?

As over-hyped as artificial intelligence is—everyone’s talking about it, few fully understand it, it might leave us all unemployed but also solve all the world’s problems—its list of accomplishments is growing. AI can now...

Top Takeaways From The Economist Innovation Summit

Over the past few years, the word 'innovation’ has degenerated into something of a buzzword. In fact, according to Vijay Vaitheeswaran, US business editor at The Economist, it’s one of the most abused words...

Can the Sustainable Development Goals Be Measured by Satellite?

In 2015 the UN established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030. From universal access to clean water and education to gender equality and strong institutions, achieving the SDGs would mean...

The Verge’s ‘Better Worlds’ Sci Fi Series Launches Today

When you picture what the world will look like in 10, 20, or 50 years, what comes to mind? Most people probably envision a scenario that’s drastically positive or negative—a utopia or, more likely,...

Designer Babies, and Their Babies: How AI and Genomics Will Impact Reproduction

As if stand-alone technologies weren’t advancing fast enough, we’re in age where we must study the intersection points of these technologies. How is what’s happening in robotics influenced by what’s happening in 3D printing?...

5 Technologies Bringing Healthcare Systems into the Future

If you think you’ve got a bad case of the travel bug, get this: Dr. John Halamka travels 400,000 miles a year. That’s equivalent to fully circling the globe 16 times. Halamka is chief information...

Custom-Grown Bones, and Other Wild Advances in Regenerative Medicine

The human body has always been an incredible machine, from the grand feats of strength and athleticism it can accomplish down to the fine details of each vein, nerve, and cell. But the way...

Could Blockchain Voting Fix Democracy? Today, It Gets a Test Run

There’s no shortage of debate about the role tech has played in politics. From misinformation being spread via WhatsApp in Brazil to Facebook becoming a tool for hate speech in Myanmar to the Cambridge...

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