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Automation


Latest significant advancements in automation. Reporting on the far-reaching impacts of improvements in automation on society and humanity.

Then and Now: 8 Fun Examples of Exponential Change From the Last Decade

It's hard to believe, but… Ten years ago... The first video was uploaded to YouTube. Facebook, then just a year old, dropped "the" from its old URL "thefacebook.com" after acquiring "facebook.com" for $200K. An early...

The Internet of Everything Is a Simply Massive Opportunity: $19 Trillion in the Next Decade

This week I interviewed Padma Warrior, CTO and Chief Strategist of Cisco, to discuss the Internet of Everything (IoE). Padma is a brilliant and visionary person, one of the most important female leaders of this...

Disrupt or Be Disrupted: Exponential Finance Is Coming to Wall Street This June

CNBC and Singularity University are partnering to present Exponential Finance, a two-day conference in New York City exploring the game-changing technologies poised to disrupt business and the financial world. Technology moves as fast as the...
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The End of Meaningless Jobs Is a Win For Us All

Many experts studying the topic of automation believe that the current rate of advancement is leading us into a future with fewer and fewer available jobs. Maybe that’s a good thing. In his 2013 essay, “On the Phenomenon...

The Growing Precariat: Why We Need a Universal Basic Income

There is an adage in economics known as ‘the lump of labor fallacy’. It is that technological change is destroying jobs and generating rising unemployment. It rests on an image of a finite number...
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When It Comes To Jobs, Automation Can Be a Force For Good

Advances in automation will create an enormous increase in productivity and wealth, and potentially, a world where that wealth is unavailable to the majority of the world’s population. However, properly applied, these same advances...

Future of Work Series Launches Today

Singularity Hub is devoting this week to exploring a topic on many of people’s minds recently: The Future of Work. Have we already entered an era where exponentially growing technologies, among them AI and robotics,...

Can We Trust Robot Cars to Make Hard Choices?

The ethics of robot cars has been a hot topic recently. In particular, if a robot car encounters a situation where it is forced to hit one person or another—which should it choose and how does...

Why Silicon Valley Is Eager to Take on Detroit

We tend to think of cars as a mature technology. They’re good enough to be boring. But something weird is happening. Silicon Valley is eyeing the car business. First it was Tesla, Google—even Uber. Now,...

In Driverless Cars, Champion Racing Skills Will Come Standard

An Audi TTS tears around a California racetrack hitting speeds of 120 miles an hour and finessing turns like an elite driver. And it is an elite driver. Just not a human one. Stanford Dynamic...

Ray Kurzweil’s Mind-Boggling Predictions for the Next 25 Years

In my new book BOLD, one of the interviews that I’m most excited about is with my good friend Ray Kurzweil. Bill Gates calls Ray, “the best person I know at predicting the future of...

5 Mind-Bending Sights: Finally, The Future Is Starting To Look Like We Thought It Would

2015—that just sounds like the future, right.  But does it look like the future? Because, that’s the thing, right—we all know technology is advancing at exponential rates. We are making soaring progress in a...

These 11 Technologies Will Go Big in 2015

If you thought 2014 was thrilling, here's a look at what I'm most excited about for 2015. Here are 11 of the most exciting new technologies moving from deceptive to disruptive this year. 1. Virtual...

Coming Data Deluge Means You’ll Know Anything You Want, Anytime, Anywhere

We're heading towards a world of perfect knowledge. Soon you'll be able to know anything you want, anytime, anywhere, and query that data for answers and insights. Why is this happening? And what are the implications?...

How Technology Brought Us Closer to the Future in 2014

As the year draws to a close, it’s worth glancing over our shoulder. What technologies and themes were brightest in 2014? Read on. (And keep in mind, attempting such a summation is ambitious to the extreme—let us...

The Day You’ll Prefer Robots to Humans

Finally, the robot revolution is arriving. There's a Cambrian explosion in robotics, with species of all sizes, shapes and modes of mobility crawling out of the muck of the lab and onto the terra firma...

Summit Europe: When Will We Let Go and Let Google Drive Us?

What technology has the most world-changing potential in the next decade or two? Brad Templeton, Singularity University’s networks and computing chair, thinks it's driverless cars. Then again, he would. Templeton has worked with Google on...
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Embrace Tomorrow, Launch Today: Summit Europe Amsterdam (November 19-20)

Singularity University presents Summit Europe, a two-day conference in Amsterdam to explore upcoming, game-changing technologies and their imminent implications for businesses and entrepreneurs. Embrace tomorrow, launch today—apply now! There’s an ancient Indian tale about a ruler...

AI Algorithm Masters Space Invaders in All-Night Gaming Session

Remember Space Invaders? The arcade game and later Atari hit pitted a lone pixellated laser cannon against a swarm of equally pixellated descending aliens. Maybe you enjoyed the game occasionally, or maybe you stayed...

Million Robot Revolution Delayed—iPhone Manufacturer Foxconn Hires More Humans

Terry Gou is CEO of electronics manufacturer Foxconn. He’s also a big proponent of replacing humans with robots in factories. Gou said Foxconn would replace human workers with a million robots in three years....

Navy’s Boat Drones Pack Hunt Like Wolves on Water

The US military is building a droid (er, drone) army. You’ve likely heard of flying drones—but the robot arms race won’t end there. The Navy recently demonstrated a pack of autonomous boats performing defensive...

US Navy Tests Exoskeleton to Boost Worker Strength and Productivity

Exoskeletons have made news in recent years for creating super-soldiers and allowing wheelchair users to walk again. Now, the US Navy will test and evaluate Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS exoskeletons for industrial applications at Navy...

Robot Bartender to Set Sail On Cutting-Edge Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

There’s a new bartender set to sail on Royal Caribbean’s next-generation cruise ship—a robotic bartender, to be precise. The Makr Shakr, created by designers at MIT Senseable City Lab, may not indulge stories of your...

How the Crowd Taught a Robot to Build a LEGO Turtle

Humans learn by imitation. There’s no predicting what your kid will bring home from school or the park. What if machines could learn like kids? In fact, they can and do. Robots don’t go to...

Why Google’s “Ridiculous” Looking Car Is Brilliant

It’s not too surprising that the release of images of Google’s prototype robocar have gotten comments like this: Revolutionary Tech in a Remarkably Lame Package from Wired A Joy Ride in Google’s Clown Car says Re/Code I’ve also seen...

Singularity Surplus: New Uses for Hot Techs and New Tech for Unwanted Heat

Advances in exponential technology happen fast — too fast for Singularity Hub to cover them all. This weekly bulletin points to significant developments to keep readers in the know. Here’s a clever new use for...

Software Composes Music Inspired by Classic Novels

In the movie Her, an intelligent operating system called Samantha composes a piece of music to describe her romantic relationship with human companion, Theodore Twombly. It’s an improbably touching moment, simultaneously demonstrating Samantha’s superhuman...

Google Self-Driving Cars Are Learning to Navigate the Urban Jungle

Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Audi—major car companies say they’re working to make cars drive themselves. But all are lagging behind Google. The internet company recently said its self-driving fleet has now logged 700,000 miles...

Toyota’s Replacing Robots With Humans…So They Can Make Even Better Robots

Japan and car manufacturing are pretty much synonymous with robots. Some of the most advanced and practical bots hail from the former and work in the latter. It may, therefore, surprise you to learn Japanese...

Self-Driving Cars Proposed as Solution to U.S. Highway Woes, Saving Money and Lives

Traffic congestion costs the U.S. economy $100 billion a year, according to Winston's research. Roughly 30,000 people die every year in car accidents, and many more are injured. Could self-driving cars bring those numbers down?

Foxconn’s Pivot to America: Reverse Outsourcing With Robots

China has been vilified in recent years for stealing US manufacturing jobs, as have the multinationals increasing assembling products there. One reason for the outsourcing, if not its vilification, is a rational one—Chinese factory workers demand and require lower wages than do their American counterparts. In an interesting twist, however, Foxconn, the notorious Chinese manufacturer of all things Apple, recently announced they’re opening a factory in Pennsylvania.

U.S. Agencies Take Significant Step Toward Wirelessly Connecting Vehicles To One Another

Even cars that retain their human drivers despite growing numbers of self-driving vehicles will gain automated safe-driving features in the United States, according to an announcement this week that U.S. federal agencies will encourage vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, communication technology for passenger vehicles. The proposal relates to a kind of internet in which the connected computers are cars and trucks sharing data about speed, position and nearby traffic signals ten times a second in order to reduce accidents.

IHS Automotive Report Says ‘Not If, But When’ for Self-Driving Cars

In Back to the Future, Doc Brown tells Marty McFly, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need…roads.” Where (or more precisely, when) were they going? Why, the year 2015. As you may have noticed, we’re nowhere near Mr. Fusion or flying cars. Robot cars, however, are likely coming to a road near you inside the next decade. And according to a recent IHS Automotive study, 54 million of them will hit the streets by 2035, and nearly all autos will be fully automated by 2050.

Burritobox Joins Growing Number of Fast-Food Making Robots

Box Brands has launched the first-ever burrito-making robots at two locations on Santa Monica Boulevard — inside Mobile and 76 gas stations. The orange Burritobox offers 6 types of burrito, including a breakfast burrito, and several sauces. The customer selects the burrito s/he wants and which sauces from a touch-screen menu, then swipes a credit card. One minute later, the machine dispenses a hot “hand”-rolled burrito. Gas-station quality burritos may not be the sexiest use of automation technology, but the Burritobox joins a growing number of fast food-making robots.

Ford Joins Tesla, Volvo, Nissan, BMW, and Mercedes in Race to Self-Driving Cars

In 2013, major automakers either forecasting self-driving technologies or announcing their own included Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, Volvo, Tesla—and now, you can add Ford into the mix. The Michigan automaker said they’re working with the University of Michigan and insurer, State Farm, to develop mostly driverless technology by 2025.

Small, Fast and Cheap, Theranos Is the Poster Child of Med Tech — and It’s in Walgreen’s

A number of startups are selling portable diagnostic laboratories that require just a drop of the patient’s blood, made possible by advances in the field of microfluidics. But perhaps an equally important part of making lab tests faster, easier and more accurate is a turn-of-the-last century technology: automation.That’s the bet the Silicon Valley company Theranos is making, and the company recently sealed a deal with Walgreen’s Pharmacy to deliver on-site laboratory services to many of its stores.

Toyota Joins Slew of Major Automakers Promising Self-Driving Technology This Decade

Toyota was the latest to step onboard the self-driving car hype machine this week when they announced they would offer a car with “automated driving technologies” by the mid-2010s. In recent months, several carmakers—Tesla, Nissan, BMW—have published forecasts of robot cars inside the next decade.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors to Introduce Self-Driving Cars in Three Years

Elon Musk and his companies have been a PR treasure trove of late. SpaceX continues to make strides in reusable rocket tech with its Grasshopper rocket. Musk showed off an Iron Man 3D design interface his engineers are building. Then of course, there’s his hypothethical 700+ mph Hyperloop from SF to LA. And now, he’s pushing the envelope again. This time it’s self driving cars—a hot topic any way you slice it. Big automakers are stumbling over each other to forecast and commit to bold timelines. First, it was BMW's prediction we’d have partially autonomous cars by 2020 and the fully automated variety by 2025. More recently, Nissan upped the ante with their prediction of fully self-driving autos by 2020.

Robot Car Wars: Nissan Jumps Into the Fray With Driverless Car by 2020

A few months ago BMW predicted cars would be highly automated by 2020 and driverless by 2025. Pretty cool, but perhaps a touch conservative. Nissan recently upped the bar. At a press event in California, Executive Vice President, Andy Palmer, said Nissan will bring “multiple affordable, energy efficient, fully autonomous-driving vehicles to the market by 2020.”

More Common Overseas, Automated Parking Garages Are Popping Up in the US

There’s a new perk in high-end apartment buildings—fully robotic parking lots. No more careless valet dinging the Rolls at 1706 Rittenhouse, Philadelphia. Tenants pull their car onto a lift and the system takes it from there. When a tenant wants to leave, they swipe a special fob, and the system locates and retrieves their car.

AI Startup Anki Debuts At WWDC, Wows With Impressive Tech, $50 Million In Funding

You’ve probably never heard of Anki. Before this article, I’d never heard of Anki either. Nevertheless, the robotics and artificial intelligence startup took pole position at Apple's 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote address—an event that sold out in less than a minute, was staged in front of a couple thousand journalists and developers, and was broadcast live to thousands more online. It’s the kind of exposure new companies dream about.

Drones Close In On Farms, The Next Step In Precision Agriculture

Drones continue their steady approach into the different aspects of our lives. But while controversy rages over drone devastation over foreign soil and prying surveillance over US soil, experts are beginning to point our attention to the real future of unmanned aerial vehicles: farming.

Air Force Jet X-51A Goes Hypersonic, Zooms Five Times Speed Of Sound

The United States Air Force has a serious need for speed. On May first their X-51A Waverider zoomed to an amazing Mach 5.1 – more than five times the speed of sound.

Chinese Restaurant Owner Says Robot Noodle Maker Doing “A Good Job!”

Noodle peelers should probably start looking for other things to do around the kitchen – there’s just no competing with these robots.

BMW Forecasts Cars Will Be Highly Automated by 2020, Driverless by 2025.

The latest in a slew of press from major automakers, BMW and Continental recently announced a partnership to develop new technology for self-driving cars. The collaboration aims to develop an “electronic co-pilot” system for highway grade driverless cars over the next year. And they think we’ll have partially automated cars by 2016, highly automated cars by 2020, and fully automated cars by 2025.

“Keep Calm And Rape A Lot” T-Shirts Show Automation Growing Pains

An inadvertent computer error leads to a string of offensive T-shirts, including "Keep Calm and Rape A Lot", but you can bank on one thing for sure: this will happen again and again, in one form or the other. Why? Because computers have no way of knowing what upsets people unless they are programmed to.

Window Cleaning Robots Making Their Way To Skyscraper Happy United Arab Emirates

These robotic window washers are not afraid of heights, high winds, or hard-to-reach places. Gekko Façade and its sister, solar panel cleaning robot Gekko Solar, imitate their lizard namesake by clinging to high places...

Blazing Fast Staubli Robot Picks 200 Items Per Minute

Even John Henry, had he been a factory picker instead of a steel driver, couldn’t keep up with this robot. The Switzerland-based TP80 Fast Picker robot by Stäubli Robotics can sort your prescription bottles, Tic-Tac...

Robots Now Dealing Blackjack

Here’s one dealer that won’t attempt to cheat you with sleight of hand – because it doesn’t have any, strictly speaking. More like bulbs with suction cups.

The Automation Of Healthcare Continues – Robot System To Sterilize Surgical Tools

  Hospitals are not the cleanest of places. Even in the operating room where the greatest care is taken to create a sterile environment, too often the infectious culprits bacteria, viruses and even fungus are...

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