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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


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,...

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...

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