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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


Impossible Foods Wants to Make Milk That’s Creamy, Tasty, and Totally Cow-Free

Animal-free foods seem to be steadily growing in popularity. Whether for health reasons or as part of a commitment to the environment, more people are opting to go vegetarian or at least to be...
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OpenAI’s GPT-3 Wrote This Short Film—Even the Twist at the End

OpenAI’s text generating AI has gotten a lot of buzz since its release in June. It’s been used to post comments on Reddit, write a poem roasting Elon Musk, and even write an entire...

How Future AI Could Recognize a Kangaroo Without Ever Having Seen One

AI is continuously taking on new challenges, from detecting deepfakes (which, incidentally, are also made using AI) to winning at poker to giving synthetic biology experiments a boost. These impressive feats result partly from...

NASA’s About to Try Grabbing a Chunk of Asteroid to Bring to Earth—and You Can Watch

If you’ve seen the movie The Martian, you no doubt remember the rescue scene, in which (spoiler alert!) Matt Damon launches himself off Mars in a stripped-down rocket in hopes of his carefully-calculated trajectory...

Alphabet’s New Moonshot Is to Transform How We Grow Food

In the 1940s, agronomist Norman Borlaug was tasked by the US government with improving the yield of wheat plants in Mexico. The thinking was that if America’s southern neighbor had better food security, relations...

A Ridiculously Huge New Solar Farm Just Came Online in China

The Chinese economy has suffered as a result of the pandemic, but one sector that’s forging full-steam ahead is energy. Last week saw the opening of a massive new solar farm—the second-largest in the...

A New Factory in France Will Mass-Produce Bugs as Food

Though the world’s population is no longer predicted to grow as much as we thought by the end of this century, there are still going to be a lot more people on Earth in...
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These Robotic Virtual Reality Boots Make It Feel Like You’re Walking While You Stay in Place

Last year I did a VR experience meant to simulate what it’s like to be at the US-Mexico border wall. The tall, foreboding wall towered above me, and as I turned from side to...

This Tiny Electric Car Is Selling Like Hot Cakes in China

Though far too many sectors of the economy have suffered enormous losses during the coronavirus pandemic, a few are doing alright. One of those is car sales. It’s sort of counter-intuitive—because with everything closed,...

‘The Social Dilemma’ Will Freak You Out—But There’s More to the Story

Is social media ruining the world? Dramatic political polarization. Rising anxiety and depression. An uptick in teen suicide rates. Misinformation that spreads like wildfire. The common denominator of all these phenomena is that they’re fueled in...

Airbus Just Unveiled Three New Zero-Emission Concept Aircraft

Air travel has plummeted during the pandemic; not only do a lot of people not feel safe being in airports or on planes, but with everything we used to do being closed or canceled,...

Microsoft Had a Crazy Idea to Put Servers Under Water—and It Totally Worked

A little over two years ago, a shipping container-sized cylinder bearing Microsoft’s name and logo was lowered onto the ocean floor off the northern coast of Scotland. Inside were 864 servers, and their submersion...

This Startup Is Growing Sushi-Grade Salmon From Cells in a Lab

As the ills of factory farming become more pronounced, people are increasingly gravitating towards vegetarian or pescatarian diets. Besides producing a large percentage of our total greenhouse gas emissions, raising livestock uses up a...

Walmart Is Piloting Drone Delivery in North Carolina

The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to quickly adapt to circumstances that were unimaginable a year ago. Companies are finding new ways to do business, and in the process we’re seeing an acceleration of...

Uber Wants to Go All-Electric by 2030. It Won’t Be Easy

The coronavirus pandemic has been an all-around nightmare, but there are a few silver linings. One of these is a renewed focus on the environment. Emissions plummeted worldwide when countries went into lockdown in...

Microsoft’s New Deepfake Detector Puts Reality to the Test

The upcoming US presidential election seems set to be something of a mess—to put it lightly. Covid-19 will likely deter millions from voting in person, and mail-in voting isn’t shaping up to be much...

Waymo Just Started Testing Its Driverless Trucks in Texas

It’s been almost four years since Uber shipped 50,000 cans of beer across Colorado in a self-driving truck. It was the first-ever commercial shipment completed using self-driving technology. Now competitor Waymo is launching a...

Facebook Wants to Make Smart Robots to Explore Every Nook and Cranny of Your Home

“Hey Alexa, turn on the kitchen light.” “Hey Alexa, play soothing music at volume three.” “Hey Alexa, tell me where to find my keys.” You can ask an Alexa or Google home assistant questions about facts, news,...

6G Will Be 100 Times Faster Than 5G—and Now There’s a Chip for It

Though 5G—a next-generation speed upgrade to wireless networks—is scarcely up and running (and still nonexistent in many places) researchers are already working on what comes next. It lacks an official name, but they’re calling...

A Norwegian Startup Is Turning Dry Deserts Into Fertile Cropland

The UN population forecast predicts that by 2050 there will be almost 10 billion people on the planet. They’ll live mostly in cities and have an older median age than the current global population....

These Sleek Houses Are 3D Printed, and They Fit in Your Backyard

If you’d told me ten years ago that I could go live in a house built by a giant concrete-spitting 3D printer, I not only would’ve thought you were crazy, I wouldn’t have known...

An Indian Company Is Gearing Up to Make Millions of Doses of a $3 Covid-19 Vaccine

As the Covid-19 pandemic drags on, there’s one thing we’re all counting on to rescue us from the drudgery of socially-distanced life: a vaccine. How many times have you heard “X won’t happen again until...

Airships Are No Longer a Relic of the Past; You Could Ride in One by 2023

As concern over climate change and rising temperatures grows, the airline industry is taking heat (pun intended). Flying accounts for 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions; that’s lower than car travel and maritime...

A Year After Gene Therapy, Boys With Muscular Dystrophy Are Healthier and Stronger

Two and a half years ago, a study published in Science Advances detailed how the gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas-9 repaired genetic mutations related to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The study was a proof of...

Cars Will Soon Be Able to Sense and React to Your Emotions

Imagine you’re on your daily commute to work, driving along a crowded highway while trying to resist looking at your phone. You’re already a little stressed out because you didn’t sleep well, woke up...

This Russian Firm’s Star Designer Is an AI—but No One Knew That for a Year

Imagine discovering a new artist or designer—whether visual art, fashion, music, or even writing—and becoming a big fan of her work. You follow her on social media, eagerly anticipate new releases, and chat about...

This Startup Is 3D Printing Custom Prosthetics for a Fraction of the Standard Cost

Around 1.9 million people in the US are currently living with limb loss. The trauma of losing a limb is just the beginning of what amputees have to face, with the sky-high cost of...

This Century Will See Massive Shifts in the Global Population, Economy, and Power Structure

A lot of the predictions we hear about the future involve a hot, crowded planet, one where we need some serious science to figure out how to feed everyone and control rising global temperatures....

Google Loon Is Now Beaming WiFi Down to Earth From Giant Balloons

Four years ago, three big tech companies had plans in the works to beam internet down to Earth from the sky, and each scenario sounded wilder than the next. SpaceX requested permission to launch...

The 3D Printed Homes of the Future Are Giant Eggs on Mars

Last month, a 3D printed house that can float on a pontoon was unveiled in the Czech Republic. Last year, work started on a community of 3D printed houses for low-income families in Mexico....

The Tour de France Is Going Virtual, and It Starts This Weekend

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we do things, big-time. The events, places, and activities we were used to enjoying have been canceled, closed, or in some cases, permanently shut down. Virtual versions...

This Tiny House Is 3D Printed, Floats, and Will Last Over 100 Years

One of the world’s first 3D printed houses went up in China in 2016. At 400 square meters in size and 2 stories tall, the house took 45 days to print—and at the time,...

Your Personal Data Is Worth Money. Andrew Yang Wants to Get You Paid

Contact tracing has been a somewhat controversial tool for fighting coronavirus in the US. American consumers wanted privacy to be preserved, so Apple and Google set about devising an API that could help track...

SpaceX Wants to Build Floating Spaceports for Daily Starship Launches

The coronavirus pandemic stopped a lot of things, but it hasn’t done much to slow down SpaceX and Elon Musk. The company sent two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station last month in...

OpenAI’s New Text Generator Writes Even More Like a Human

In early 2019 OpenAI, a startup co-founded by Elon Musk devoted to ensuring artificial general intelligence is safe for humanity, announced it had created a neural network for natural language processing called GPT-2. In...

New Record-Crushing Battery Lasts 1.2 Million Miles in Electric Cars

Electric cars had their biggest year ever in 2019. As of the end of the year, 2.5 percent of the world’s total cars were electric. It’s a small percentage, but represents significant growth for...

Fixing What’s Broken: If We Build a Moral Economy, the Future Will Be Better

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we've been eagerly awaiting a return to normal. We want to be able to go out again, see our friends, and be in public places without feeling like we're risking...

Artificial Kidneys Are a Step Closer With This New Tech

10 percent of the global population suffers from some form of kidney disease. That includes 37 million people in the US, 100,000 of whom pass away each year awaiting a kidney transplant. Our kidneys are...

A Human-Centric World of Work: Why It Matters, and How to Build It

Long before coronavirus appeared and shattered our pre-existing “normal,” the future of work was a widely discussed and debated topic. We’ve watched automation slowly but surely expand its capabilities and take over more jobs,...

4 Non-Obvious Trends That Matter During This Pandemic

Last year at South By Southwest, author and entrepreneur Rohit Bhargava spoke to a packed auditorium about trends that, though they may not be obvious, are playing a serious role in shaping the future....

The US Government Just Invested Big in Small-Scale Nuclear Power

Amid the coronavirus lockdowns around the world, one of few positive pieces of news we’ve heard is that carbon emissions have dropped dramatically. The clearer skies and cleaner air have led to a renewed...

Forget Exercise—These Mice Got Ripped With Gene Therapy

Trying to hack fitness is a multi-million-dollar industry; we’ve all seen at least one ad featuring a purported miracle product that claims it can make people lose weight and look great—without even trying. From...

The World Food Program’s Coronavirus Fight—and How You Can Help

The coronavirus outbreak has thrown the world into turmoil. On top of the infections and deaths it’s caused, there have been significant knock-on effects on financial markets, supply chains, businesses, and livelihoods. One of the...

A Chinese Startup Is Selling Glasses for Virus Detection to US Businesses

When will lockdowns end, and what will life be like when they do? These are the questions on most of our minds today; we’ve accepted that even once restrictions ease, society won’t go back to...

This Group of Scientists Is Making Sure We’re Ready for the Next Pandemic

Ask just about anyone how the US is doing on its response to the coronavirus pandemic and you’ll get some variation of the same answer: poorly. From a shortage of tests and medical supplies...

NASA’s Plan to Build a Base Camp on the Moon Sounds Like Sci-Fi, But It’s Real

If we’re ever going to make Elon Musk’s vision of colonizing Mars a reality, we first need to figure out an essential component of the plan: how to get there. After all, it’s somewhere...

Pop-Up Coronavirus Labs and a 5-Minute Test Take Aim at the Testing Void

Two and a half months after the first confirmed novel coronavirus case in the US, the virus has invaded the country’s east and west coasts and is quickly making its way into the center...

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...

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