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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


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,...

Carbon’s Bold Mission to Finally Dematerialize Manufacturing

Technology has a funny habit: just when you think it can’t get better, it does. Take 3D printing. The ability for a machine to spit out soft material in a precise pattern that almost...

How to Stay Innovative Amid the Fastest Pace of Change in History

Everything is changing again. But this time, it’s happening faster. In his talk at Singularity University’s Exponential Manufacturing Summit in Boston, Deloitte’s Digital Transformation Leader Geoff Tuff gave the audience some great tips for understanding...

4 Keys to Making the Robots of Our Imagination a Reality

“The robots of reality are starting to get a lot closer to the robots of our imagination,” said Sarah Bergbreiter, an image of a fast-moving, multi-jointed search and rescue robot displayed on the big...

Mobile Health Takes on a New Challenge: Diagnosing Cervical Cancer

Technology’s role in modern healthcare is growing. Artificial intelligence is being used for mental health, and smartphones can use add-ons to do things we never would have imagined ten years ago, like diagnose STDs...

Drug Discovery AI Can Do in a Day What Currently Takes Months

To create a new drug, researchers have to test tens of thousands of compounds to determine how they interact. And that’s the easy part; after a substance is found to be effective against a...

Tricorder XPRIZE Awards $2.5M for Device That Detects Illness Using Your Phone

In a few hundred years, doctors will scan their patient with a handheld device called a Tricorder to diagnose virtually any ailment. That’s according to Star Trek. Way back here in the 21st century,...

Scientists Create the Most Successful Artificial Womb Yet

Among modern medicine's achievements, one of the most dramatic has been a steep reduction in infant mortality. Yet, even today, there are exceptions. Babies born prematurely often have to battle to stay alive. Our best...

The Future of Food: To GMO or Not To GMO?

An organic diet has never been more in style than it is right now, with millions of consumers willing to shell out extra dollars for organic foods. Most of us have a vague idea...

This Drone Is on a Mission to Rid Your City of Dog Poop

Nothing ruins a pleasant afternoon stroll down your neighborhood sidewalk or favorite city street like stepping in dog poop. Even if you don’t step in it, having to look down to make sure you’re...
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Is ‘Strange Beasts’ a Preview of the Sad (Augmented) Reality Ahead of Us?

Strange Beasts is a British short film reminiscent of the dystopian Netflix drama Black Mirror—and it packs an equally strong punch in about a fifth of the time. The film starts out with a game...

How AI Is Like Electricity—and Why That Matters

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘artificial intelligence’? For those raised on a steady diet of big budget Hollywood sci-fi, the answer to that question is something along the...

Automation Could End Meaningless Jobs—And None Too Soon

What makes your work valuable? Does it fulfill you? Allow you to connect with or help people? Contribute to a greater good? Or does its value come from your income, which allows you to do other...

This Is What Happens When We Debate Ethics in Front of Superintelligent AI

Is there a uniform set of moral laws, and if so, can we teach artificial intelligence those laws to keep it from harming us? This is the question explored in an original short film...

New Burger Robot Will Take Command of the Grill in 50 Fast Food Restaurants

Would your burger taste as delicious if it was made by a robot? You’ll soon be able to find out at CaliBurger restaurants in the US and worldwide. Cali Group partnered with Miso Robotics to develop...

See How This House Was 3D Printed in Just 24 Hours

3D printing is being used to produce more and more novel items: tools, art, even rudimentary human organs. What all those items have in common, though, is that they’re small. The next phase of...

What You Need to Know About Elon Musk’s Plan to Fly People to the Moon

What On February 27, Elon Musk’s SpaceX announced plans to fly two non-astronauts, or “private citizens,” on a loop around the moon. Who No one except Elon Musk and the two moon-explorers-to-be know who they are yet....

Would You Want a Dog That Was Genetically Engineered to Be Healthier?

“Dogs have more genetic diseases than any other species on the planet.” David Ishee told me this early in our conversation. His claim makes sense: there’s no other animal that humans have purposefully bred...

Just Stand Inside This Room and It Will Wirelessly Charge Your Phone

Go to any airport and you’ll see wearied travelers huddled around outlets leeching out precious electricity to feed their devices. They aren’t alone in their need for power. With more than 3 billion smartphones...

Talking to a Computer May Soon Be Enough to Diagnose Illness

In recent years, technology has been producing more and more novel ways to diagnose and treat illness. Urine tests will soon be able to detect cancer. Smartphone apps can diagnose STIs. Chatbots can provide...

How Robots Helped Create 100,000 Jobs at Amazon

Accelerating technology has been creating a lot of worry over job loss to automation, especially as machines become capable of doing things they never could in the past. A recent report released by the...

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:...

Robots May Steal Our Jobs, but Not as Quickly as We Thought

Fear of job loss to automation is growing, with each announcement of exciting technological progress generating a backlash from those who could end up unemployed because of it. Amazon Go is eliminating the need...

Forget Fillings: New Study Shows How to Regrow Teeth

Few of us are graced with a perfect mouthful of teeth. If it’s not braces or cavities, it’s wisdom teeth or root canals. Adding injury to insult, while medicine has made a lot of...

How Babies in the UK Can Now Legally Have DNA From Three People

From the beginning of time, conception has been a two-person process. Even in cases where there would have been a medical or genetic benefit to pulling in a third person, science hadn’t advanced enough...

Emerging Markets Lead the Way to Cheapest-Ever Solar Energy

Energy experts have long predicted we'd eventually shift from fossil fuels to clean energy. They were right, but there have been a few surprises along the way. The shift is happening faster than anyone...

Canada’s Building a Plant That Will Make Fuel Out of Poop

Each time you flush a toilet, it’s the beginning of a long journey. Your waste makes its way through a maze of pipes and sewers, eventually reaching its first destination: a sewage treatment plant. There,...

What If a Social Score Determined Your Success? China’s About to Find Out

In an episode of the Netflix dystopian drama Black Mirror, characters live in a future where they have a ‘social score’ that dictates the terms of pretty much every aspect of their lives: who...

This Solar Fabric Could Let You Charge Your Phone With Your Shirt

Solar energy is becoming ever more widespread, with panels going up not only on houses and office buildings, but on cars, buses, and road signs. The latest advancement in solar technology will put solar...

Bioprinting Is One Step Closer to Making a Human Kidney

Bioprinting has been all over the news in the past several years with headline-worthy breakthroughs like printed human skin, synthetic bones, and even a fully functional mouse thyroid gland. 3D printing paved the way for bioprinting thanks to...

The 6 Ds of Tech Disruption: A Guide to the Digital Economy

“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....

The Race to Wrap the Earth in Internet Is Heating Up

How important is the internet to your day-to-day life? For starters, you’re definitely reading this on a screen and using the internet to access it. That means you probably use the internet to access most...

New ‘Thinking Soil’ Fixes Concrete Foundations Using Engineered Bacteria

How stable are the buildings where we live and work? Our homes rest on concrete foundations about a foot thick and twelve feet deep. The foundations of skyscrapers can be up to 20 feet thick and...

An Uber Self-Driving Truck Just Took Off With 50,000 Beers

Drivers on Colorado’s interstate 25 may have gotten a good scare last Thursday, and it wasn’t a Halloween prank—glancing into the cab of an Otto 18-wheeler loaded with a beer delivery, they’d have been...

Self-Driving Car Sensors Just Got Smaller, Cheaper, and Better All at Once

Self-driving cars have advanced a lot in recent years—going from test track prototypes to fixtures on the roads of select cities. And while they still require human supervision on public roads, it’s predicted that...

Detecting Cancer Early With Nanosensors and a Urine Test

How might cancer detection, treatment, and prevention change if cancer could be diagnosed by peeing in a cup? According to Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, about two-thirds of cancer deaths worldwide are probably preventable by techniques we...

5 Billion People Need Better Healthcare — Technology Will Help Deliver It

If you’ve ever had to go into the hospital for a major medical procedure, your memory of the experience is probably pretty unpleasant. Even when all goes well, the hospital is a nerve-racking place...

A Computer Can Now Translate Languages as Well as a Human

Have you ever been in a situation where knowing another language would have come in handy? I remember standing on the platform at Tokyo Station watching my train to Nagano — the last train of...

Earthquakes Will Be as Predictable as Hurricanes Thanks to AI

In the fall of 2010, I traveled to New Zealand, and one of the places I visited was the small south island city of Christchurch. I was charmed by the tree-lined Avon River, the...

New Smart Tattoos Let You Control Your Phone Using Your Skin

In a recent post about biohacking, I wrote about people who have implanted chips into their bodies to benefit their health, simplify their lives, or connect themselves to an external network. Though some have...

Living Eye Implant Uses Lab-Grown Cells to Restore Sight

Our eyes are one of our most complex body parts, made up of numerous delicate cell structures that work together seamlessly to allow us to see. Conditions like far-sightedness, glaucoma, and cataracts are widespread,...

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