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Future of Work


Analysis and insight on the future of work. Stay updated as Singularity Hub discusses the most important trends related to the future of work.

A Telepresence Robot with a Gripping Arm? ORIGIBOT Is a Dream Come True

Telepresence robots are awesome, but the experience can be frustrating at times. The reason? They lack arms. Whether you want to examine an object yourself, open a door, or pretend to be the Terminator with a Nerf gun, the lack of...

The Truth About Addiction: We’re All Junkies Now

Isn’t it time we start telling the truth about addiction? What is that truth? That we are all addicts and all the time. For this to make sense, it helps to first understand that our ideas...

Future of Work: Why Teaching Everyone to Code Is Delusional

Since 2005, I’ve been grappling with the issue of what to teach young people. I’ve written curricula for junior high students in the US, for a UNICEF program reaching students in a dozen countries,...

Future of Work: What Skills Will Help Us Keep Pace?

From Elon Musk’s tweet that artificial intelligence may be more dangerous than nuclear weapons to the growing clamor of voices warning robots will take away our jobs, it is clear we are focusing more...

Desktop Machine Carves Metal and Wood Like Butter

How many desktop 3D printers have we seen on Kickstarter in recent years? Too many to count. But 3D printing is only half of the digital manufacturing promise. Where 3D printing is additive—CNC machines,...

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....
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Crowdfunding Begins for Documentary Film Charting the Birth of Singularity University

Matt Rutherford, filmmaker and former producer of Charlie Rose, first met Salim Ismail at a birthday party in San Francisco. Over a beverage and some tech talk, the conversation turned to a new project...
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Visualizing the Future of Food, Well-Being, and Work with Three Incredible RSA Videos

Powerful lectures chock full of information sometimes can be challenging to process and the need for visualization is so great that ultimately it takes an organization like the RSA to find a highly creative way to illustrate this...

Skully Motorcycle Helmet Not Quite Iron Man, But a Taste of Our Augmented Reality Future

If Tony Stark designed a motorcycle helmet, it might look a little like Skully. Sleek black (or white) with an aerodynamic fin. A visor that changes tint at the touch of a finger. A rear...

Pen that Scans and Draws in Millions of Colors Finally Arrives on Kickstarter

Ever bought a king-size box of colored pencils and marveled at all the names? Burnt sienna, cerulean blue, tuscan red. The world is overflowing with colors, too many to count or name. What if...

Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry

I saw the future of work in a San Francisco garage two years ago. Or rather, I was in proximity to the future of work, but happened to be looking the other direction. At the...

Is Tech Unemployment Good or Bad?

Recently, in conversation with Vinod Khosla, Larry Page was asked what he thinks will happen to jobs in the future as technology begins to replace humans. His response was essentially, "everybody will work fewer hours." Similarly,...

Lab-Grown Cheese Made by ‘Milking’ Genetically Modified Yeast Cells

If you’re against killing animals for food and clothing or believe industrial farming is too resource intense, you may have given up some of life’s greatest pleasures. No juicy steak for you, no deliciously...

Evidence of Abundance #1: More Leisure, Less Work

Is technology making you work harder? Or giving you more time off? Seriously, it feels like it’s enabling me to work around the clock! Heck, I’m writing this email at 37,000 feet on a Virgin...

Neurogames are Ready to Take Flight — Expect a Breakout Year Ahead

“We’re very close.” In just three words, Palmer Luckey of OculusVR fame, perfectly summarized not only where virtual reality stands, but perhaps the entire neurogaming industry. Luckey was on hand to present with other industry...

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...

Beyond the Hype and Hope of 3D Printing: What Consumers Should Expect

The latest 3D printing Kickstarter smash hit, the Micro, raised its target $50,000 in eleven minutes. The Micro bills itself as the first truly consumer 3D printer—it plugs in with a USB cable, costs...

As Robots Evolve the Workforce, Will Labor Laws Keep Pace?

Humans aren’t just being replaced by robots, particularly as job descriptions adapt to new divisions of labor: A growing number will find themselves working alongside the droids. The situation raises some thorny legal issues.

In Depth With Jason Silva: Brain Games, Trance States, and The Abomination of Death

It’d been awhile, so we contacted Jason Silva to find out what gets him up in the morning these days. Though he’s added a mainstream audience, Silva seems eager as ever to chase the “adjacent possible” and leap over it into even dreamier domains. To learn why, among other things, he’s slightly disappointed Google Glass isn’t Scarlett Johansson, why privacy is malleable and mostly overrated, and how femto-scale computing at black hole densities accounts for the eery silence of the universe—read on.

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.

uArm, A Mini Robotic Arm You Can Assemble and Control

The world has long had robots. Lots of them. Robotic arms live in factories, tirelessly assembling heavy things, cutting through metal (like butter)—and generally doing some pretty dangerous and crucial work. Robotic arms are pretty amazing. And now you can assemble and mount your very own robotic arm on your desk, nightstand, or kitchen counter for a Kickstarter pledge of $185.

Smarty Digital Ring Delivers Text, Email, and Social Media Updates Directly to Your Finger

You've glasses and watches get smart. Time to add rings to the list of everyday wearable items boasting microchips, miniature displays, and touch interfaces. Say hello to Smarty Ring.

AirDroids Markets a Pocket Drone for the Everyman

In a current Kickstarter campaign, the Southern California company AirDroids is offering plug-and-play book-sized drone, aptly named Pocket Drone, for a manageable $495.

Mars One Announces Lockheed Martin Partnership, Crowdfunding for 2018 Mars Mission

Mars One, the private organization proposing to colonize Mars by 2025, recently announced Lockheed Martin is working on a mission concept study for a Mars lander based on their 2007 Phoenix lander. Mars One also recently launched a $400,000 Indiegogo campaign to fund the mission concept studies. Mars One says they hope the campaign will “show [their] partners and sponsors that the world is ready for this to happen.”

2013 in Review: The Eight Biggest Stories In Exponential Tech

It’s been a fast-moving year, so before diving headlong into 2014, we thought we'd take stock and revisit some of the year’s most notable stories in exponential technology.

RoboKind’s Expressive ZENO R25 Robot Brings Prices Down, But Is It Enough?

Developers of social robots believe their creations will one day help educate and entertain. The robots are coming, but so far, they’re damn expensive—which is where the new ZENO R25 Kickstarter comes in. In the words of its maker, robotics firm, RoboKind, ZENO is “the first affordable advanced social robot.”

CastAR Augmented Reality Glasses Blow Up on Kickstarter

There are all kinds of companies experimenting with augmented and virtual reality right now. Google Glass projects a screen onto your retina. Oculus Rift straps a display to your face. Meta SpaceGlasses beam a hologram out in front of you. Now you can add another player to the game—castAR. CastAR is a headmounted augmented reality engine that projects a 3D image on a surface and allows users to interact with it—while playing virtual games like Dungeons and Dragons or Risk, for example.

Peachy Printer Kickstarter Promises $100 3D Printer and Scanner – Can They Do It?

3D printers tend to blow up on Kickstarter. And one of the latest, the Peachy Printer, is no exception. The project's raised almost C$500,000, about ten times its original goal. Peachy is an innovative approach to 3D printing being offered for as little as C$100. But there are yet many unmet challenges to be navigated before its June 2014 delivery date.

Tim Maupin’s Film, ‘The Last Generation to Die,’ to Explore Longevity and Life Extension

The May issue of National Geographic boldy states, “This Baby Will Live to Be 120 (and It’s Not Just Hype)”; Pew Research published a poll on radical life extension in August; Google funded a new company, Calico, to tackle aging in September. Independent of all these developments, Chicago filmmaker, Tim Maupin, launched a Kickstarter for a short film titled, “The Last Generation to Die.” Maupin, thinks now is a great time to start a conversation about life extension. And he’s right. The idea that within decades a genetic fountain of youth may plausibly reverse the aging process, even indefinitely stave off death, is rising up in pop culture.

Nearly Half of U.S. Jobs Could Be Done by Computers, Study Says

A recent study out of Oxford University found that almost half of U.S. jobs are vulnerable to being taken over by computers as artificial intelligence continues to improve. The study, based on 702 detailed job listings, found that computers could already replace many workers in transportation and logistics, production labor and administrative support. But computers are also increasingly qualified to perform "non-routine cognitive tasks."

3D iPad Scanner by Occipital Digitizes the World for 3D Printing and Augmented Reality

Three days into its Kickstarter, app developer Occipital had raised just under $600,000, or roughly six times its $100,000 goal—which was met in the first three hours. What’s got early adopters and developers so excited? A 3D scanner called Structure that attaches to and runs on an iPad.

What Will Happen 5 Days Before The Singularity? “I’s” Feature Film Aims To Find Out

Sci-fi films have a long history of speculating what the future might be like, seeking to understand what remnants of humanity will continue on when the world may undergo drastic change. More realistic projections...

Kickstarter Project to Send Thousands of Personal Spacecraft to the Moon

NASA's twin Voyager spacecraft famously carry a pair of golden records encoded with images and sounds from Earth. Now, a new project hopes to similarly send discs to space. Only these discs are slightly more advanced. In fact, they’re spacecraft in their own right; thousands will fit into a CubeSat; and each one carries "computing power comparable to that of the Voyager spacecraft and Apollo flight computers."

Medical Tricorder Startup Scanadu Scout Raises Over $1.3M With Two Weeks Left

Over the years, it has become increasingly evident that Star Trek is a highly influential -- if not the most influential -- work in science fiction that has inspired generations of people to pursue...

PIP Biosensor Measures Stress and Gamifies the Art of Conscious Relaxation

Most of us know when we’re stressed. Physical cues like stomach butterflies, a flushed face, or muscle tension are hard to miss. Problem is, said symptoms can be very difficult to control. Once going—these things tend to snowball. The PIP biosensor Kickstarter aims to help folks mediate stress by objectively measuring symptoms, digitally visualizing the results, and then gamifying stress reduction. It’s the latest in an avalanche of sensors aiming to increase body awareness and health.

Two Bit Circus Kickstarts Traveling Carnival of Robots, Fire, and Lasers

Two Bit Circus is producing the STEAM Carnival, a hands-on event featuring “robots, fire, and lasers to inspire young inventors in science, technology, engineering, art, and math.” Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Diamandis And Planetary Resources To Build First Crowdfunded Space Telescope For Public Use

How do you get kids interested in science? Strike that. How do you get kids and adults interested in science? One: Involve them in it. Two: Awaken awe. Asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources’ new Kickstarter aims to accomplish both by giving the public control over one of the firm’s ARKYD space telescopes—to snap a selfie or two with its camera arm or to plumb the cosmic depths with the scope’s optics.

Moshe Vardi: Robots Could Put Humans Out of Work by 2045

Robots began replacing human brawn long ago—now they’re poised to replace human brains. Moshe Vardi of Rice University thinks that by 2045 artificially intelligent robots may be capable of "if not any work that humans can do, then, at least, a very significant fraction of the work that humans can do." So, he asks, what then will humans do?

Google Partners With Singularity University To Crowdsource Book About Women Innovators

Singularity University and Google recently announced the launch of a campaign to crowdsource a book titled Innovating Women: Past, Present, and Future. The project is being crowdfunded on Indiegogo with a dollar-for-dollar contribution from Google for Entrepreneurs up to $50,000. The book aims to collect stories from women around the global and bring together their perspectives about a variety of factors that are shaping the innovation economy. By incorporating their unique perspectives and personal stories, the tome will both record the contributions women are making in the world today as well as provide an inspiration to female entrepreneurs around the world.

Next Step For Glowing Plant Kickstarter Campaign? Glowing Rose

If the campaign raises more than $400,000, they’ll not only complete the Arabidopsis work, but bring illumination to the already beautiful rose as well.

Robots Will Do Everything You Do Now Only Better—What Then?

The US stock market is approaching a record high—having finally regained all it lost in the 2008 bear market. It would be cause for celebration, if it didn’t feel so out of touch with the “main street” reality of elevated unemployment. As a recent New York Times headline read, “recovery in the US is lifting profits, but not adding jobs.” The NYT goes on to blame the divide between rising corporate profits, recovering stocks, and stubborn unemployment on technology—or more specifically automation and robots.

Kickstarter Campaign To Create Glowing Plant Goes Viral – Singularity Labs FTW!

“I firmly believe that this is something that’s going to revolutionize our society. With this technology we have a lot of tools that can solve a lot of humanity’s problems. We’re limited only by our imagination.”

Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Suspends Trading As Prices Crash

The market price of bitcoins in USD has fallen and fallen hard. After peaking at $266, prices plunged Wednesday morning. There was a strong late rally, such that some data providers listed the “close” around $165. But the cryptocurrency trades round the clock, and Wednesday morning’s decline continued throughout the evening and into Thursday.

Bitcoin Blows Up, Exchange Rate Jumps Ten-Fold in Recent Weeks

Recent headlines are humming over the booming digital currency Bitcoin—it’s either the next big thing or the digital equivalent of Tulipomania. Either way, there’s no debating the fact Bitcoin’s on a wild ride.

Breathometer — A Breathlyzer For Your Smartphone

A California-based company wants to take the guesswork out of the rhetorical question, "Did I drink too much to drive?" The Breathometer is a small $20 device that plugs into a smartphone's audio jack, much the way that the popular credit card reader Square does, and measures the relative quantity of alcohol in breath as accurately as other consumer breathlyzers. Using the accompanying app, a smartphone can then display BAC or blood alcohol concentration level, which is the legal measure used to assess when someone is driving under the influence.

Why Wait For Google Fiber? UK Farmers Want Faster Internet, Build Their Own

Last November, neighborhoods in Kansas City became the first to enjoy the 1Gbps Internet speed made possible through Google Fiber. As Google considers the possibility of bringing Fiber to other communities (some signs points to Canada as a possible spot), a group of remote farmers in the UK with sluggish Internet speeds decided they didn't want to wait on their ISPs, the government, or even Google to deliver an upgrade to their broadband speeds. They opted to build an ultrafast fiberoptic network themselves.

Kickstarter 3Doodler 3D Printing Pen Nothing of the Sort – But Somehow Raises $2 Million

Five days after launch on Kickstarter, the 3Doodler 3D printing pen boasted over 21,000 backers and $1.9 million in pledges. Their goal was $30,000! What’s so special about the 3Doodler? If nothing else, it rivals the lofty infomercial marketing heights of Slap Chop or ShamWow. But let’s get something straight—3Doodler is a crafting “pen” not a handheld 3D printing pen (whatever that even means).

Crowdfunding Star Wars — Kickstarter Campaign For Death Star Construction Aims To Raise $30M

The folks at Kickstarter have given the green light to two projects near-and-dear to the hearts of geeks, techies and futurists alike: the construction of a Death Star and a desperate call to fund X-wing fighters for the Rebel Alliance.

US Unemployment Is 7.9%—Are Robots to Blame?

Robots want to invade your home, take your job, and steal your wife. Maybe not that last one (yet). But as unemployment remains stubbornly elevated (7.9%) people are searching for answers. Among the usual...

GravityLight — Using Gravity To Bring Light To The Developing World

On the simplest level, GravityLight converts gravitational energy into light, just like its name promises. That's right, you lift a bag filled with 20 pounds of stuff (sand, earth, whatever) and attach it to a cord. As gravity pulls the bag down, an LED light is illuminated, working kind of like those hand-cranked flashlights. A braking mechanism causes the weight to drop slowly, producing about 30 minutes of light, and returning the bag to its original height "restarts" the light.

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