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Humanitarian


Connecting work to a meaningful purpose beyond growth and profitability. Our humanitarian section provides leaders insights on work and social impact.

The End of the Chinese Miracle Is in Sight. What’s Next?

Governments around the world are rushing to keep up with emerging technologies. No one wants to be left behind as more industries and facets of life are impacted by the transition from analogue to...

5 Areas We Should Invest in Now to Survive Climate Change Later

Even if the world manages to keep to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global mean temperatures to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, climate change is coming. The best way to protect ourselves from its...

Build a Wall? A Wild Geoengineering Idea to Save the Glaciers

The seas are rising—currently at a rate of 3.3 millimeters per year, for a total of perhaps 240 millimeters since the industrial era began. Around a third of the rise so far has been...

The Promise of Direct Air Capture: Making Stuff Out of Thin Air

Imagine making fuel, plastics, and concrete out of “thin air." That’s the promise of direct air capture (DAC), a technology that fundamentally disrupts our contemporary oil economy. Mimicking what already occurs in nature, DAC essentially...

Tech Is Fueling the Hong Kong Movement. Here’s How, and Why It’s a Huge Step for Freedom

Over the past two months, Hong Kong has roared into global headlines. Its seven million citizens have increasingly taken to the streets (and the capital building, and the airport) to protest China’s move to...

How Cheap Must Batteries Get for Renewables to Compete With Fossil Fuels?

While solar and wind power are rapidly becoming cost-competitive with fossil fuels in areas with lots of sun and wind, they still can’t provide the 24/7 power we’ve become used to. At present, that’s...

The Moral Case for Lightning: A Global Private Payment Network

The other day, I went to buy dog food at my local pet shop. I bought a large bag of dog food and some treats for my dog that claimed to be able to...

The Age of Solar Energy Abundance Is Coming in Hot

Every five days, the sun provides the Earth with as much energy as all proven supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas. If humanity could capture just one 6,000th of Earth’s available solar energy, we’d be...

The Newest Way to Go Green? Retrofit Your Old Car to Make It Electric

Thanks to a rapid decline in lithium-ion battery prices and increases in their energy storage density, we’re headed into the age of the electric car. So much so that some nations, including France, India,...

Five Ways Buildings of the Future Will Use Biotech to Become Living Things

What if our homes were alive? I don’t mean smart homes with the disembodied voice of Alexa deciding the setting for your living room spotlights. I mean actually alive—growing, living, breathing, and even reproducing....

Machine Learning vs. Climate Change: AI for the Greener Good

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Despite increasing global consensus about the urgency of reducing emissions since the 1980s, they continue to rise relentlessly. We look to technology...

How Tech Can Help Curb Emissions by Planting 500 Billion New Trees

Trees are a low-tech, high-efficiency way to offset much of humankind’s negative impact on the climate. What’s even better, we have plenty of room for a lot more of them. A new study conducted by...

How the US Will Get to a 50 Percent Renewable Electric Economy by 2030

By 2030, more than 50 percent of the US economy will run on electricity derived from renewables. What are the implications as we shift the US and global energy economies away from fossil fuels? For the...

The Biggest Offshore Wind Project in the US Is Underway

From the steady growth in market share of electric cars to continuous improvement and expansion of solar energy technology, it appears the world is going renewable—the age of fossil fuels is slowly but surely...

Inching Towards Abundant Water: New Progress in Desalination Tech

In early 2018, Cape Town, South Africa came dangerously close to being the world’s first major city to run out of water. People lined up for blocks to collect spring water. Stores sold out...

This Cool Artificial Reef Was Just Deployed in Sydney Harbor

Earth’s oceans have seen better days. They’re inundated with plastic waste, both whole single-use plastics and tons of plastic microparticles that find their way back into our food and drinking water. Their water temperatures...

How to Deploy Tech Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenges at Scale

“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door,” argued Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th century US lecturer, philosopher, and essayist. In other words, if scientists and engineers invent...

Tech Can Sustainably Feed Developing World Cities of the Future. Here’s How

In the next 30 years, virtually all net population growth will occur in urban regions of developing countries. At the same time, worldwide food production will become increasingly limited by the availability of land,...

Big Tech Should Take the Lead on Climate Change—Here’s Why

At Collision, which calls itself “North America’s fastest-growing tech conference,” former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres threw down a challenge to tech titans: move the world from incremental to exponential action on climate...

New Evidence That the World Really Is Getting Better

If you allow your perception of humanity to be shaped by the news, it is easy to lose sight of the narrative of human progress. Struggling democracies, suicide epidemics, climate change, and acts of...

How ‘Cultural Evolution’ Can Give Us the Tools to Build Global-Scale Resilience

There’s an unsettling premise at the heart of Joe Brewer’s life’s work. Brewer is a change strategist dedicated to ensuring a thriving global civilization exists 100 years from now—and he believes this is becoming less...

What Global Challenges Will We Solve With Exascale Supercomputers?

Though nearly seventy percent of Earth’s surface is comprised of water, only three percent is considered fresh and drinkable—and most of that striking minority is trapped in glaciers or polar ice caps. Juxtapose the...

Business Design Is a Powerful Tool for Breaking Down Bureaucracy

Designing the right business model and value proposition is fundamental to the success of any endeavor—yet rarely have governments used these practices. We caught up with Michael Eales, a business designer and partner at Business...

Why the World Is Still Getting Better—and That’s Likely to Continue

If you read or watch the news, you’ll likely think the world is falling to pieces. Trends like terrorism, climate change, and a growing population straining the planet’s finite resources can easily lead you...

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...

The Massive Project to Clean Up the Ocean With a Two-Kilometer Screen

Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean, threatening just about every marine species and ecosystem. As the global population grows and countries develop, this is only going to increase, eventually...

How ‘Humanomics’ Is Giving Cities With Vision the Tools to Realize It

Suhit Anantula is an entrepreneur whose work focuses on “humanomics”—the practice of combining business and systems design to make positive human impact. He’s been working closely with the elected officials of the city of...

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...

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 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...

Limitless Lab-Grown Blood Is ‘Tantalizingly Close’ After 20 Years

Blood stem cells are things of wonder: hidden inside each single cell is the power to reconstitute an entire blood system, like a sort of biological big bang. Yet with great power comes greater vulnerability....

Solar Is Now the Cheapest Energy There Is in the Sunniest Parts of the World

Manufacturing is about robots and assembly lines, supply chains and finished products. It’s about the roof over your head, the car you drive to work, and the computer you stare at all day. We...

How Chemistry Is Making Our Food Safer, Better, and More Abundant

Although food scientists often explore new technologies to reduce the percentage of hungry people in the world today, many also have future-oriented mindsets and look at possibilities that could solve food challenges for future...

New Technology Brings Star Wars-Style Desert Moisture Farming a Step Closer

Luke Skywalker wasn’t just a farmer. In the original 1977 Star Wars film, the lead character was desperate to leave his home planet of Tatooine, where his family farmed moisture from the atmosphere using...

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...

How to Feed 9.7 Billion People? CRISPR Gene Editing For Crops

It’s no secret that we’re going to struggle to feed the rapidly expanding global population. New genome editing technologies could hold the answer, according to scientists. The number of humans on this planet is expected...

How All Leaders Can Make the World a Better Place

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...

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...

4 Ways Scientists Hope Nanobots Will Make You Healthier

For most people the phrase “medical robot” probably brings to mind the ground-breaking da Vinci surgical system that has revolutionized minimally-invasive surgery. Either that or the 2-1B droid from Star Wars: the Empire Strikes...

Connecting the Big Data Dots to Optimize Health and Manage Disease

The era of "Quantified Self" (a term coined in 2007 by US WIRED founding executive editor Kevin Kelly) is relatively new. The first Fitbit digital step counters launched in late 2009, and we've since seen an...

Our Health Data Can Save Lives, But We Have to Be Willing to Share

Organ donation has saved countless lives, but could donating our personal data have an even more transformative impact on healthcare? The potential impact of Big Data and machine learning on healthcare is only just beginning...

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...

Stem Cells Are Poised to Change Health and Medicine Forever

We are at the cusp of a stem cell revolution. Understanding and harnessing these unique cells may unlock breakthroughs in longevity and therapeutic solutions to all kinds of chronic diseases and regenerative opportunities. Last month, I...

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 thought...

Your Smartphone’s Next Big Trick? To Make You Healthier Than Ever

On a seemingly normal summer day nine years ago, planet Earth was struck by a gadget-sized blow that would reinvent nearly every facet of our lives. That day heralded the entry of the iPhone, which...

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,...

New AI Mental Health Tools Beat Human Doctors at Assessing Patients

About 20 percent of youth in the United States live with a mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That’s the bad news. The good news is that mental health professionals have...

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...

These Wild New Floors Will Harvest Energy From Your Footsteps

The road to renewable energy requires one step at a time. Well, actually, it requires quite a few steps. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Forest Products Laboratory in Madison believe they can harness the...

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