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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


Scientists Are on a Quest to Create the Perfect Cup of Coffee—Without the Beans

Ahh, coffee. Is there anything more delicious, more satisfying? It’s always there when you need it, be it first thing in the morning or for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. According to the Sustainable Coffee Challenge,...

AI-Savvy Criminals Clone Executive’s Voice in $35 Million Deepfake Bank Heist

Thanks to the advance of deepfake technology, it’s becoming easier to clone peoples’ voices. Some uses of the tech, like creating voice-overs to fill in gaps in Roadrunner, the documentary about Anthony Bourdain released...

The World’s Electronic Waste This Year Will Weigh More Than the Great Wall of China

It’s widely known that the world has a plastics problem. From landfills to the ocean, the stuff is everywhere, and our conscientious efforts to recycle don’t do nearly as much good as we think. What’s...

Microsoft’s Massive New Language AI Is Triple the Size of OpenAI’s GPT-3

Just under a year and a half ago OpenAI announced completion of GPT-3, its natural language processing algorithm that was, at the time, the largest and most complex model of its type. This week,...

This Bipedal Drone Robot Can Walk, Fly, Skateboard, and Slackline

Most animals are limited to either walking, flying, or swimming, with a handful of lucky species whose physiology allows them to cross over. A new robot took inspiration from them, and can fly like...

NASA’s Mission to Crash a Spacecraft Into an Asteroid Launches Next Month

In March of this year, a quarter-mile-wide asteroid flew through space at a speed of 77,000 miles per hour. It was five times farther from Earth than the moon, but that’s actually considered pretty...

New Hybrid Coral Reefs Use Wave Energy to Transform Sea Salt to Stone

Climate change is wreaking havoc on land via extreme weather events like wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and record-high temperatures. Glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising. And of course, the ocean isn’t immune to...

China’s Cracking Down on Kids’ Screen Time, and the Implications Could Be Far-Reaching

Screens are taking over our lives. According to market research firm eMarketer, in 2020 adults in the US spent an average of 7 hours and 50 minutes per day looking at screens. That total...

This Google-Funded Project Is Tracking Global Carbon Emissions in Real Time

It’s crunch time on climate change. The IPCC’s latest report told the world just how bad it is, and...it’s bad. Companies, NGOs, and governments are scrambling for fixes, both short-term and long-term, from banning...

Alphabet’s Project Taara Is Using Lasers to Beam Internet Across the World’s Deepest River

A little over a year ago, Google’s Project Loon launched in Kenya, 35 giant balloons with solar-powered electronics inside beaming a 4G signal to the central and western parts of the country. The project...

Walmart Is Launching an Autonomous Delivery Service in Three US Cities

Walmart has been America’s biggest retailer since the 1990s, its focus on low costs and ultra-efficient logistics helping it edge out competitors and keep customers coming back. But Amazon has been gaining on Walmart,...

Tele-Driving Startup to Deploy Remote-Controlled Cars as a Step Towards Full Autonomy

Self-driving cars are taking longer to hit roads than many experts predicted. Despite impressive progress in the field—like trucks using self-driving features to move freight more efficiently, Waymo launching its robotaxi service for vetted...

The World’s Largest Direct Air Capture Plant Is Now Pulling CO2 From the Air in Iceland

A little over four years ago, the world’s first commercial plant for sucking carbon dioxide out of the air opened near Zurich, Switzerland. The plant was powered by a waste heat recovery facility, with...

Hyundai Goes All-In on Hydrogen With Its ‘Trailer Drone’ and More

Between the grim outlook reported by the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report last month and frequent reports of extreme weather events all over the world, the climate crisis feels like it’s getting more dire by...

Better Than Batteries? A Startup That’s Storing Energy in Concrete Blocks Just Raised $100 Million

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Sixth Assessment Report in early August, and the outlook isn’t good. The report has added renewed urgency to humanity’s effort to curb climate change. The price of...

America’s Biggest 3D Printed Building Is This New Military Barracks in Texas

3D printing is picking up speed as a construction technology, with 3D printed houses, schools, apartment buildings, and even Martian habitat concepts all being unveiled in the last year (not to mention Airbnbs and...

The World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Is Being Built in China

In 2018, GE unveiled its Haliade-X turbine, and it has since been the largest and most powerful offshore wind turbine in the world. At 853 feet tall and with a rotor measuring 722 feet...

Moderna’s mRNA Vaccine for HIV Is Starting Human Trials

Before 2020, many of us had never heard of mRNA. With the development of Covid-19 vaccines dependent on this molecule, though, it was all over the news. Covid was the first disease mRNA therapeutics...
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Watch Boston Dynamics’ Atlas Robot Crush a New Parkour Course

At the end of 2020, Boston Dynamics released a spirits-lifting, can’t-watch-without-smiling video of its robots doing a coordinated dance routine. Atlas, Spot, and Handle had some pretty sweet moves, though if we’re being honest,...

This Autonomous Solar-Powered Aircraft Will Fly for 90 Days Straight

Five years ago, a plane called Solar Impulse 2 flew around the world without using any liquid fuel. As you might guess from the name, the plane was solar-powered. It wasn’t the fastest—it took...

Flight Testing Will Soon Start on the World’s Fastest Reusable Aircraft

Last week, NASA released a timelapse video showing construction of a supersonic jet called the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST or “son of Concorde” for short). The experimental aircraft is designed to fly faster...
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NASA Timelapse Shows X-59 Supersonic Jet Being Built Over Two Years

The final flight of British Airways’ Concorde took place in October 2003, going from New York to London in three and a half hours. Inaugurated in 1976, the supersonic jet flew more than 2.5...

The UAE Is Using Drones to Zap Clouds With Electricity and Make It Rain

Extreme weather events seem to be getting more common. In the last month in particular, we’ve seen dramatic flash floods in various parts of the world, including Germany, China, and the US. But while...

These Foldable Houses Cost $50k and Go Up in a Day

3D printing has become the hottest new construction technology of the past few years, with houses being laid down in California, Texas, New York, Mexico, Canada, Italy, and Germany, to name just a few....

This Robot Taught Itself to Run, Then Proceeded to Knock Out a 5K

In the last few months, robots have learned some pretty cool new skills, including performing a sweet coordinated dance routine and making pizzas from start to finish. Now there’s another accomplishment to add to...

‘Next-Generation’ Total Artificial Heart Successfully Transplanted into First US Patient

Late last year, a French company called Carmat received approval in Europe for its total artificial heart. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a heart made of synthetic and biological materials intended for implantation...

This Tiny Electric Car Is Solar-Powered and Costs $6,800

In December of last year, a California-based startup called Aptera Motors started taking pre-orders for an electric car that’s partly solar powered. The Aptera has a unique, streamlined design, just three wheels, and a...

Amazon Patented a New Delivery System That Could Have Your Block Crawling With Robots

Amazon’s taking over the world. Or, at least, the US. Even as Jeff Bezos steps down as CEO and hands the reins over to former AWS head Andy Jassy (and Bezos himself gets ready...
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Watch Robots Make Pizzas From Start to Finish at an Automated Pizzeria

Four years ago in Mountain View, California, a team of robots was cranking out pizzas on a production line that was almost fully automated. The first robot pressed a ball of dough into a...

Iceland’s 4-Day Work Week Trial Was a Smashing Success. Will It Start a New Trend?

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the idea of working from home was unthinkable to a lot of people. Between time-wasting (and calorie-increasing) temptations like the fridge, couch, or TV, distractions from one’s family or...

You Can Now Rent a 3D Printed House on Airbnb

3D printing has been increasingly gaining traction over the past couple years as a low-cost way to build comfortable, durable homes. The technology quickly went from a proof of concept (when the first permitted...

New Cultured Meat Factory Will Churn Out 5,000 Bioreactor Burgers a Day

In August 2013, food critics in London sampled the world’s first lab-grown hamburger. Opinions on taste and texture varied, but most agreed it wasn’t all that different than meat from an animal. At the...

An ‘Uncrashable’ Car? Luminar Says Its Lidar Can Get There

As a recent New York Times article highlighted, self-driving cars are taking longer to come to market than many experts initially predicted. Automated vehicles where riders can sit back, relax, and be delivered to...

These Mice Were Born From Sperm That Spent Almost 6 Years in Space

As inconceivable as it still sounds, the wheels have been set in motion for humans to one day reach and colonize Mars. There’s already a detailed design for the first Martian city, SpaceX is...

Waymo Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Start Moving Freight Across Texas

Last month, self-driving technology company TuSimple shipped a truckload of watermelons across the state of Texas ten hours faster than normal. They did this by using their automated driving system for over 900 miles...

This Drone Bus Will Carry 40 Passengers Between Cities for the Price of a Train Ticket

Multiple companies are working on new aerial modes of transportation, be they taxis that fly, drones that drive, or cars that drive and fly. What most of these vehicles have in common is that...

SpaceX Will Have an Offshore Spaceport Ready for Starship Launches as Soon as Next Year

A year ago SpaceX made headlines after posting job openings for operations engineers. The task at hand? To help design and build an offshore rocket launch facility—aka, a floating spaceport. Between the job postings...

A Self-Driving Truck Got a Shipment Cross-Country 10 Hours Faster Than a Human Driver

Self-driving cars are taking longer to come to market than many expected. In fact, it’s looking like they may be outpaced by pilotless planes and driverless trucks, with self-driving technology already coming in handy...

Google-Funded Startup Merlin Labs Will Soon Fly 55 Autonomous Planes

Self-driving cars are taking longer to come to market than initially predicted by industry insiders, as a New York Times article highlighted this week. Indeed, it turns out that having a complex, interconnected set...

One CRISPR Treatment Lowered Cholesterol in Monkeys by 60 Percent

More than one in three American adults have high cholesterol, which can lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke. The best remedies we have right now are cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins,...

Google Is Developing a Hologram-Like 3D Video Conferencing Tool Called Project Starline

The end of the pandemic seems to be in sight, but it has likely brought lasting changes to the way we work, live, and connect with each other. As traveling starts to take off...

See the Wild Plans for Nüwa, a Proposed City on Mars Built Inside a Giant Cliff

Despite being able to land rovers on Mars and fly helicopters there, it seems humans are still somewhat far away from actually setting foot on the red planet. But for an endeavor as unprecedented...

Toyota Is Building a Futuristic Prototype City Powered by Hydrogen

Most of the focus for making self-driving cars a widespread reality is on the cars themselves, specifically on the technology they require to safely perceive and interact with the world around them: sensors, cameras,...

How One Round of Gene Therapy Fixed 48 Kids’ Immune Systems

Gene therapy has shown promise in recent years for treating a range of diseases, including sickle-cell anemia, hemophilia, various forms of inherited blindness, mesothelioma, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A new success story may soon...
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Watch a Jet Suit Pilot Fly Onto a Ship to Trial the Tech for Fighting Pirates

Last year, a guy in a jet suit glided up a mountain to trial whether jet suits could be a useful tool for emergency responders in wilderness areas. It went pretty well; the jet...

AI Is Harder Than We Think: 4 Key Fallacies in AI Research

Artificial intelligence has been all over headlines for nearly a decade, as systems have made quick progress in long-standing AI challenges like image recognition, natural language processing, and games. Tech companies have sown machine...

This Powerful Tidal Turbine Will Power 2,000 Homes in the UK

Renewable energy is having its moment in the sun. And in the wind. And, lesser known but equally relevant, in the water. Tidal turbines don’t get as much buzz as solar and wind farms, and...

What Would We Do If an Asteroid Hit Earth? NASA Is Simulating It This Week

About a month ago, an asteroid that was estimated to be at least a quarter-mile wide zoomed past Earth at a speed of 77,000 miles per hour. Though it was 1.25 million miles away...

Scientist George Church Is Auctioning Off His Genome as an NFT

You’ve probably heard the acronym NFT over the last couple months. Non-fungible tokens have been all over the news, seeming to become a sensation—one worth a ton of money—almost overnight. Soon a new NFT...

Google Earth’s Amazing New Feature Is a 37-Year 3D Timelapse of the Entire Planet

Satellites are doing all kinds of amazing new things lately, from beaming high-speed internet to remote areas to capturing high-resolution images through clouds to taking 24 million images of every part of the Earth...

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