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Futurist


Optimistically envisioning a future that will arrive sooner than expected. Our futurist section has insight and perspective on how to think like a futurist.

Animals Are Out, Alt Protein Is in—and It’s Cooking Up Some Unbelievable Creations

A new food economy is taking root. It’s showing up in the dairy section of grocery stores and in the drive-thrus of Burger King. Plant-based milk, meat, and even sushi are appearing more regularly...

Moore’s Law Is Dying. This Brain-Inspired Analogue Chip Is a Glimpse of What’s Next

“Dark silicon” sounds like a magical artifact out of a fantasy novel. In reality, it’s one branch of a three-headed beast that foretells the end of advances in computation. Ok—that might be too dramatic. But...

Maybe Dangling a Space Elevator Off the Moon Isn’t as Ludicrous as It Sounds

When astronaut Chris Hadfield serenaded the Earth with Bowie’s Space Oddity, many of us got cracking with back-of-the-envelope calculations attempting to figure out how much the guitar cost to send up: probably around $75,000. On...

Silicon Is Reaching Its Limits. Up Next: Carbon Nanotubes

Silicon has powered the information age, but it’s reaching its physical limits. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) hold a lot of promise as a replacement if we can get around some key obstacles—and the designers of...

Nuke Mars? Here Are Some (Hopefully Better) Alternatives

Scientists and science fiction writers have been toying with the idea of terraforming Mars for the better part of a century. Turning the red planet green is seen as a crucial step towards humankind...

You’ll Hail Your First Flying Taxi Within a Decade

Not too long ago, the notion of flying cars was most comfortably categorized alongside fusion power—a classic tech vision that seemed forever stuck just over the horizon. Then around five years ago something shifted. Flying...

These Are the Meta-Trends Shaping the Future (at Breakneck Speed)

Life is pretty different now than it was 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. It’s sort of exciting, and sort of scary. And hold onto your hat, because it’s going to keep...

Driverless Electric Trucks Are Coming, and They’ll Affect You More Than You Think

Self-driving and electric cars just don’t stop making headlines lately. Amazon invested in self-driving startup Aurora earlier this year. Waymo, Daimler, GM, along with startups like Zoox, have all launched or are planning to...

Why Companies and Armies Are Hiring Science Fiction Writers

Are you a science fiction writer? Do you have command of the French language? If you can answer yes to both questions, a new job opportunity may be just the thing for you. The recently...

Where Death Ends and Cyborgs Begin, With Futurist Zoltan Istvan

Transhumanism is a growing movement but also one of the most controversial. Though there are many varying offshoots within the movement, the general core idea is the same: evolve and enhance human beings by...

What If We Visualized Humanity’s Future in Millennia Instead of Centuries?

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s a classic job interview question, designed to probe your level of ambition and aspiration. And it probes about as far ahead as many of us...

A Layer of ‘Aerogel’ Could Make Mars Habitable and Even Enable Life to Develop There

Transforming the red planet to support life has long been a dream of science fiction. Mars is now too cold to support life. Its atmosphere is also too thin to protect any living organisms...

The LightSail-2 Mission Launched Last Week. It Could Shape the Future of Solar Spaceflight

Just like the early explorers harnessed the wind to sail around the world, scientists have long dreamed of using light to sail through the cosmos. Last week an ambitious trial of a technology called...

Avatar Love? New ‘Black Mirror’ Episode Explores How VR Could Impact Relationships

This week, the widely-anticipated fifth season of the dystopian series Black Mirror was released on Netflix. The storylines this season are less focused on far-out scenarios and increasingly aligned with current issues. With only...

5 Projects That Show How STEAM Can Shape the Future

We tend to compartmentalize our understanding of the world into “subjects.” From a very young age, we are misled to believe that science is separate from art, which is separate from history, which is...

Traditional Advertising Is Soon to Be History. Here’s What Will Replace It

This year (2018), the global advertising industry is projected to surpass $550 billion. Advertising revenues have driven Google’s valuation to >$700 billion, and Facebook to >$500 billion. All of that is about to change. What...

Plasma, the Mysterious (And Powerful) Fourth Phase of Matter

When I was in elementary school, my teacher told me that matter exists in three possible states: solid, liquid, and gas. She neglected to mention plasma, a special kind of electrified gas that’s a...

Is the Secret to Significantly Longer Life Hidden in Our Cells?

Once upon a time, a powerful Sumerian king named Gilgamesh went on a quest, as such characters often do in these stories of myth and legend. Gilgamesh had witnessed the death of his best...

Stephen Hawking: Martin Rees Looks Back on Colleague’s Spectacular Success Against All Odds

Soon after I enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1964, I encountered a fellow student, two years ahead of me in his studies, who was unsteady on his feet and spoke...

What If the AI Revolution Is Neither Utopia nor Apocalypse, but Something in Between?

Why does everyone assume that the AI revolution will either lead to a fiery apocalypse or a glorious utopia, and not something in between? Of course, part of this is down to the fact that...

The Power to Upgrade Our Own Biology Is in Sight—But Is Society Ready for Human Enhancement?

Upgrading our biology may sound like science fiction, but attempts to improve humanity actually date back thousands of years. Every day, we enhance ourselves through seemingly mundane activities such as exercising, meditating, or consuming...

Why the Rise of Self-Driving Vehicles Will Actually Increase Car Ownership

It’s been a long time coming. For years Waymo (formerly known as Google Chauffeur) has been diligently developing, driving, testing and refining its fleets of various models of self-driving cars. Now Waymo is going...

Here’s the Tech That Could One Day Track, Boost, or Erase Human Memory

Human memories are notoriously fallible. We forget things, misremember things, and often don’t even know what we no longer know. What if there was a way to flip through the catalog of our precious memories...

Machines Teaching Each Other Could Be the Biggest Exponential Trend in AI

“The easier it is to communicate, the faster change happens.” – James Burke, Science Historian During an October 2015 press conference announcing the autopilot feature of the Tesla Model S, which allowed the car to...

If Work Dominated Your Every Moment Would Life Be Worth Living?

Imagine that work had taken over the world. It would be the centre around which the rest of life turned. Then all else would come to be subservient to work. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly,...

When Will We Finally Achieve True Artificial Intelligence?

The field of artificial intelligence goes back a long way, but many consider it was officially born when a group of scientists at Dartmouth College got together for a summer, back in 1956. Computers...

3 Dangerous Ideas From Ray Kurzweil

Recently, I interviewed my friend Ray Kurzweil at the Googleplex for a 90-minute webinar on disruptive and dangerous ideas, a prelude to my fireside chat with Ray at Abundance 360 this January. Ray is my friend and...

How Technology Is Driving Us Toward Peak Globalization

At some point in the future—and in some ways we are already seeing this—the amount of physical stuff moving around the world will peak and begin to decline. By “stuff,” I am referring to...

Why the World Is (Still) Better Than You Think—New Evidence For Abundance

Your mindset matters — now more than ever. We are in the midst of a drug epidemic. The drug? Negative news. The drug pushers? The media. As I wrote in Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, we pay...

The Coming Creativity Explosion Belongs to the Machines

Does creativity make human intelligence special? It may appear so at first glance. Though machines can calculate, analyze, and even perceive, creativity may seem far out of reach. Perhaps this is because we find it...

7 Critical Skills for the Jobs of the Future

We live in a world of accelerating change. New industries are constantly being born and old ones are becoming obsolete. A report by the World Economic Forum reveals that almost 65 percent of the...

The Future of Flying Cars: Science Fact or Science Fiction?

Uber has shaken up the taxi industry and is trying to put driverless cars on our roads. Now the company aims to have flying ride-sharing vehicles in our skies by 2020. Uber is not alone...

If We Can See the Future We Want, We Can Shape It Too

Alida Draudt and Julia Rose West are not only co-authors, business partners, and best of friends, but most importantly, they have differing points of view—which is ideal for two budding Silicon Valley futurists. Alida currently...

How Leaders Dream Boldly to Bring New Futures to Life

This article is part of a new series exploring the skills leaders must learn to make the most of rapid change in an increasingly disruptive world. The first article in the series, “How the...

The Cities of the Future Are Smart, Green, Connected Innovation Hubs

Humanity has come a long way since the very first cities began to emerge about ten thousand years ago. Today, places like New York, Tokyo and Dubai are centers of innovation and human progress....
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Answers to 4 Big Questions About the Future [Video]

I give over 50 keynotes per year. My favorite part is fielding the crazy questions at the end. In fact, I love answering questions about exponentials and abundance so much that I've been encouraging my...

The Future of Sex, Dating, and Finding a Mate

Sex is one of the most powerful, fundamental human drives. It's caused wars… built and destroyed kingdoms. It occupies a significant percentage of most people's thoughts. As such, it's worth a conversation about how exponential technologies will...

The Future of Healthcare Is Arriving—8 Exciting Areas to Watch

As faculty chair for Medicine and Neuroscience at Singularity University and curator of our annual Exponential Medicine conference (apply to join us this Oct 8–11th), I cross paths with many technologies which have potential...

Ray Kurzweil Predicts Three Technologies Will Define Our Future

This is the last in a four-part series looking at the big ideas in Ray Kurzweil's book The Singularity Is Near. ​Be sure to read the other articles: Will the End of Moore’s Law Halt...

How to Think Exponentially and Better Predict the Future

This is the third in a four-part series looking at the big ideas in Ray Kurzweil's book The Singularity Is Near. ​Be sure to read the other articles: Will the End of Moore’s Law Halt Computing’s...
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Future of Learning Series Wrap-Up: 8 Takes on How Tech Is Impacting Education

Over the past several weeks, we have been writing about how technology is impacting education as part of our 'Future of Learning' series. Our contributors explored the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly fast-paced digital...
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Argentina’s Plan to Grow a Culture of Innovation From the Classroom Up

Last week, the people of Argentina elected a new president. Mauricio Macri, the mayor of Buenos Aires, billed himself as the candidate of change during his presidential run, even naming the alliance of parties supporting...

Higher Ed Has Failed Students—Here’s How We Plan to Fix It

Higher education, in general, fails students in three ways. It does not prepare students to succeed in life after college. The cost is significant and students often go into debt or work to put...

Automation Is Eating Jobs, But These Skills Will Always Be Valued In the Workplace

If you’d asked farmers a few hundred years ago what skills their kids would need to thrive, it wouldn’t have taken long to answer. They’d need to know how to milk a cow or plant...
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How Would Today’s Smartest Teens Overhaul Education? We Asked Them

What happens when you gather 14 of the world’s brightest teenagers at Singularity University and ask them to design the future of education? During last summer’s Exponential Youth Camp  (XYC) pilot here at SU,...
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3 Ways Exponential Technologies Are Impacting the Future of Learning

“Simply put, we can’t keep preparing children for a world that doesn’t exist.” -Cathy N. Davidson Exponential technologies have a tendency to move from a deceptively slow pace of development to a disruptively fast pace. We...

Online Education in 2025: Here’s What to Expect

What will online education look like in 10 years? That's a good question, and we're about to make some predictions. But first, to keep our perspective, let's talk about a few predictions that in hindsight,...
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LIVESTREAM: ‘Future of Learning’ Event Live Tonight at 6pm PST

If you can't join us in person for our Future of Learning event this evening at Singularity University, don't worry. You can watch the livestream from the comfort of your own home or office. During this fun evening...

The Virtual Reality Renaissance: How Learning in VR Will Inspire Action Like Never Before

Humanity is standing on a precipice. We have never been closer to achieving a world where everyone has the ability to live and thrive. Biotech, nanotech and AI promise to reshape the world and...

How Tech Can Make Entrepreneurship Safe for the Poor

What is the future of learning? That will depend on where you live and how old you are. In high-income countries for school-aged youth, it might come in the form of adaptive, digital content...

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