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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.

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...

3 Exciting Biotech Trends to Watch Closely in 2017

As I start to look at the emerging trends of 2017 from the vantage of IndieBio, where we see hundreds of biotech startup applications and technologies per year, a few key themes are already emerging....

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...

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...

6 Big Ways Tech Is Rewriting Society’s Rules

Technology is advancing so rapidly that we will experience radical changes in society not only in our lifetimes but in the coming years. We have already begun to see ways in which computing, sensors,...

Tech Philanthropists Are Giving Away Billions to Build a Better Future

They’re often featured as James Bond villains — super-rich megalomaniacs who pour their infinite resources into sophisticated doomsday devices, private rockets for last-minute escapes, and enough high-tech toys to rival the NSA, FBI and...

Printable Organs Will Put an End to Transplant Lists

A woman living on a dialysis machine is grown a new kidney using her own cells. A father struggling with age-related vision loss has his eyesight restored. A soldier suffers extensive burns and has...

Why the World Is Better Than Ever—and Will Get Better Still

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...

Medicine Will Advance More in the Next 10 Years Than It Did in the Last 100

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, recently announced a $3 billion effort to cure all disease during the lifetime of their daughter, Max. Earlier this year, Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker donated $250...

The Astonishing Healthcare Tech of the Future Is Arriving

This week in San Diego, Singularity University hosted its annual Exponential Medicine conference. The conference aims to connect the dots between healthcare disciplines and cutting-edge tech by convening medical practitioners, technologists, entrepreneurs, and over...

5 Billion People Need Better Healthcare — Technology Will Help Deliver It

If you’ve ever had to go into the hospital for a major medical procedure, your memory of the experience is probably pretty unpleasant. Even when all goes well, the hospital is a nerve-racking place...

Health Devices Are All Too Hackable—Here’s What You Need to Know

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to bring nearly fifty billion new devices online by 2020. This sounds great, until you read that an estimated 70% of IoT devices are hackable. That cute Google Nest...

The Future of Surgery Is Robotic, Data-Driven, and Artificially Intelligent 

As far back as 3,500 years ago ancient Egyptian doctors were performing invasive surgeries. Even though our tools and knowledge have improved drastically over time, until very recently surgery was still a manual task...

This Smart Vest Lets the Deaf ‘Hear’ With Their Skin

What are the limits of human perception? Take a second and concentrate on your surroundings: the subtle flickering of your laptop screen, the faint whiff of lingering coffee, the muffled sounds of traffic, the warm...

Cultured Meat Will Remain a Distant Dream Unless We Do These 4 Things

In 2013 the world’s first cell-cultured hamburger was cooked and tasted live on air. Following that event, there have been many mentions of cultured meat in the media. With all this discussion and publicity, it’s easy...
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Kurzweil Says Passion Projects Are the Best Way to Learn

According to Ray Kurzweil, learning by doing will become the means by which the next generation of children learns to participate in the world. Technology has already revolutionized education by changing how humans access,...

Why Drones Are Finding a Home on the Farm

When I hear the word 'drone', the first thing I think of is a top-secret mission: spying, rescues, clandestine deliveries, and other James Bond-worthy uses of a seemingly mysterious technology. Maybe I've just seen...

Surprisingly, Plant Microbes May Be an Answer to Our Growing Food Needs

Organizations as diverse as the United Nations and Monsanto are in agreement that we need to double our food production globally by 2050 to feed the world’s population. But our current agricultural process is one...

3 Big Trends Shaking Up the Energy Industry

We are at the cusp of an energy revolution. This post is a look at how three technologies — solar, batteries, and electric vehicles (EVs) — are poised to disrupt a $6 trillion energy industry over the...

Why We Need Moonshot Thinking in High School Education

Take a moment and think back to when you were in kindergarten. Activities like capturing tadpoles, making birdfeeders, and building forts filled school days with wonder and excitement. Now fast-forward to 9th grade memories; the...
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FarmBot Will Grow Your Food For You; Just Press Go

What if you could grow food in your backyard with little to no understanding of gardening? A new robotic system may make this a reality for everybody. Farmbot Genesis is an open source, autonomous...

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...

Solutions to the World’s Biggest Problems Are Within Our Reach

At Singularity University (SU) we believe it is possible to solve today’s most pressing problems within the next couple decades. We call these the global grand challenges (GGCs). Our ambition and optimism stem from...

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