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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.

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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...

Build What Matters and Get Sh*t Done: Unfiltered Insights for Entrepreneurs

Here in Silicon Valley there is no shortage of advice available to aspiring entrepreneurs. But finding quality advice, well, that’s a completely different story. Pascal Finette, vice president of Singularity University (SU) Labs and entrepreneurship...

Meet the Reactors Accelerating Us Toward Fusion Energy

The old joke about fusion is that it is 30 years from becoming a reality — and that’s been the case for the last 50 years or more. It’s a joke that may quickly...

Can We Meaningfully Improve Government With Experimentation?

I often speak about the importance of experimentation. What about experimenting with how we govern ourselves? As we enter election season, I'm struck by the question, can we run meaningful experiments with government: how we vote,...

The Doomsday Vault: An Insurance Policy For the World’s Food Supply

In Norway, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is buried deep permafrost well within the Arctic Circle. The vault was created as a means to preserve human agriculture for an uncertain future. We first wrote...

Your Dinner Is Ready To Be 3D Printed

Over the last few decades, a new wave of science has been infused into the world of food in the form of molecular gastronomy. By definition, food preparation and cooking involve physical and chemical...

This Is How the World’s Poor Are Pioneering the Future of Energy

What if it took you four hours a day to cook all your meals because, in addition to cooking, you also had to search for firewood? What if you could only work and study...

In the Future, Our Favorite Animal Products Will Be Animal-Free

A couple years ago, a friend told me he didn’t eat meat because he believed that in the future advanced AI would learn from us and treat humans the way we had treated less...

Why the World Is Better Than You Think in 10 Powerful Charts

When I published Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think in February 2012, I included about 80 charts in the back of the book showing very strong evidence that the world is getting...

The Tools of Change Are Here: What Will You Do With Them?

Digital connectivity is a defining characteristic of the 21st century. And though it’s an often criticized aspect of modern society, it’s also making us more aware of our fellow human beings. News has never...
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Solar Energy Is Now as Cheap as Fossil Fuels

Exponential Finance celebrates the incredible opportunity at the intersection of technology and finance. “We are now hitting a crossover point where solar, without subsidies, is starting to beat out all other sources of energy.” So said...

Fighting Developing World Disease With AI, Robotics, and Biotech

While CRISPR, nanobots and head transplants are making headlines as medical breakthroughs, a number of new technologies are also making progress tackling some of the toughest age-old diseases still plaguing millions of people in...

Solar Power Is Ready to Dominate Energy Thanks to New Tech

In the next 20 years, between 50 percent to 100 percent of the world's energy production could come from solar. Today, the global oil and natural gas industry is about a $4 trillion business. It's big...
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These New Technologies Will Be Both Powerful and Planet Friendly

Did you know there is a 25% chance your cause of death will be due to environmental pollution? According the World Health Organization, some 12.6 million people—or nearly 1 in 4 worldwide—died in 2012 due...

The Next Water Crisis Is Looming—How Can Tech Help?

Have you ever wondered if the water in your house is safe to drink? While many have been angered by the news that children in Flint, Michigan were exposed to abnormally high amounts of...

As Technology Barrels Ahead—Will Ethics Get Left in the Dust?

The battle between the FBI and Apple over the unlocking of a terrorist’s iPhone will likely require Congress to create new legislation. That’s because there really aren’t any existing laws which encompass technologies such...
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Space and Technology: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Does life exist beyond Earth? Scientists have a few reasons to be optimistic. For one, there are an estimated 100 billion billion Earth-like planets in our universe. That should get most people’s hopes up. Further, we're...
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Space and Technology Review: Asteroid Detection and Mining

Scientists have only catalogued 1% of near-Earth asteroids. At the current pace, it would take 1,000 years to find all near-Earth asteroids. New laws make asteroid mining potentially insanely lucrative. Millions of rocky objects...

China’s Curious Dream of Floating Nuclear Plants on the Ocean

The family of nuclear reactors found on the seven seas is about to grow—China recently announced plans to build a floating, ship-based nuclear power plant. Construction of the ship will begin next year, and...
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Space and Technology Review: The Race to the Moon and Mars

It’s an exciting time for space exploration. NASA, private companies, and several countries are all racing to colonize space. Soon we hope to become a multi-planetary species. But why? This post explores why we’re racing...
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Space and Technology Review: Our Home Among the Stars

At Singularity University, space is one of our Global Grand Challenges (GGCs). The GGCs are defined as billion-person problems. They include, for example, water, food, and energy and serve as targets for the innovation...

Japanese Robotic Farm’s First Harvest Next Year—Half a Million Lettuces a Day in Five Years

In modern times, farming's gone from humanity's top job to a sliver of the economy—a trend that continues today as fewer young people choose to farm. For every farmer under 35 there are 6 over 65, and a quarter of...

Why We Should Use Behavioral Economics to Design Technology That Doesn’t Kill Us

One hundred years ago, bad decision making accounted for less than ten percent of human deaths. Nowadays, it represents a little over 44%. What has changed? Behavioral economist, Dan Ariely, offered one explanation during his...

Why Edward Snowden Showed Up to CES as a Robot, and What He Had to Say

While technologies such as smartphones, the internet, and social networks offer opportunities for more direct social action than ever before—they also amplify the power and impact of governmental institutions, political organizations and even terrorist...
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How Amnesty International Aims to Bring Technology and Human Rights Together

Technologies will advance and take hold long before our governments and laws are ready for them. To keep up with the needs of billions of people around the world, it’s important to balance technical...

Using Technology to Create Safe and Ethical Retail Supply Chains

On April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-story commercial building on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1,129 garment workers. The world watched in horror as thousands were pulled from the rubble. While...

10 Most Exciting SciTech Advances of 2015

As we near the end of 2015, here are my top 10 picks for 2015 technology breakthroughs. These genius inventions are sending us careening into a world of abundance, bold visionaries and accelerating exponential change. My...

How NASA Monitors Climate Change in Two Infographics

We've all heard about climate change due to rising sea levels and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. But the question is, how rapidly is the climate actually changing? The recently signed Paris Agreement, in which countries worldwide have committed...
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Stay Tuned for the Technological Transformation of Governance

For a decade or more, many people have understood that educational technologies are likely to change how we teach and how our schools work. People can also see how medical technologies will impact the...
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Cybersecurity Wake-Up Call: When Kids’ Toys Get Hacked

It was not an auspicious beginning to the holiday season. On Black Friday, we learned that a hacker had broken into the servers of Chinese toymaker VTech and lifted the personal information of nearly five...
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As Technology Shakes Social Foundations, It Might Also Build New Ones [Video]

Dr. Guy Standing is a distinguished political philosopher and one of the world’s foremost experts on basic income, which he has researched and promoted since the 1980s—long before it began trending in the media. We...

Why We Need Government to Evolve as Fast as Technology

From deep learning to gene editing, the world of technology is moving fast. But at Singularity University, we believe amazing tech is only half the equation. Equally important is how we use technology. The...

Exponential Medicine: From Drones to Heartbeat Detecting Devices—Tech Can Aid Disaster Response

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” –Martin Luther King Jr. In 2013, 51.2 million refugees were forced to flee their homes due to persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights...

Singularity University Impact Challenge: Finalists to Ease California Drought With Technology

Last Friday, October 30, Singularity University awarded three groups support and resources as part of its first-ever water-focused Impact Challenge. The 2015 Impact Challenge, in partnership with California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, asked applicants...
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Robots, Bioprinting, and the Future of Food [Video]

Emerging technologies are shaking up how we grow food, distribute it, and even what we're eating. We are seemingly on the cusp of a food revolution and undoubtedly, technologies including artificial intelligence will play a huge role in helping...

3D Mapping the World’s Reefs With Sly Lee (Interview)

Sly Lee: Marine Scientist, Science Communicator, Entrepreneur Graduate Studies Program 2015 Alumni Honolulu, Hawaii and San Francisco, CA If Silicon Valley had a mind of its own, which it may one day, its dreams would be comprised of...

Today Corrupt Officials Spend Your Money—Tomorrow Blockchain Will Stop Them

Companies are integrating blockchain technology into ledgers, using it to track diamonds and ensure fair land distribution. The projects are first steps toward making governments and industries more transparent and eliminating fraud and corruption. Honduras...
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Can technology solve the world’s rising food problems? [Video]

Emerging technologies like synthetic meat, GMOs, and robotic farms provide a glimpse of a coming era in which technology solves the world's food problems. But some sobering statistics from the World Food Programme frame the scope of the problem...
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Will Artificial Intelligence Transform How We Grow and Consume Food? [Video]

Today, agriculture is more efficient than ever, but it's also more dependent on environmental, technological, and social issues like never before. Climate change, drought and other disasters, shifting energy landscapes, population growth, urbanization, GMOs, changes in...

These Technologies Will Shift the Global Balance of Power in the Next 20 Years

Governments, businesses, and economists have all been caught off guard by the geopolitical shifts that happened with the crash of oil prices and the slowdown of China’s economy. Most believe that the price of...

A Peek at Some of the Coolest Companies in the SU Universe

"Want to become a billionaire? Then help a billion people." "The world's biggest problems are the world's biggest business opportunities." Both of these statements are the way I describe the premise of Singularity University's Graduate Studies...

Learning in an Era of Abundant Information and Fleeting Expertise

How to learn is changing, and it's changing fast. In the past, we used to learn by doing — we called them apprenticeships. Then the model shifted, and we learned by going to school. Now, it's going...

Making Ideas Tangible: How 3D Printers Will Transform the Classroom

When Windsor Boy’s School in England got a Makerbot Replicator 3D printer three years ago, its first contribution to the Design and Technology department was a ball of plastic spaghetti. Said ball was not exactly...

When Machines Can Do Most Jobs—Passion, Creativity, and Reinvention Rule

Not long ago, schoolchildren chose what they wanted to be when they grew up, and later selected the best college they could gain admission to, spent years gaining proficiency in their fields, and joined...

Are MOOCs the ‘Digital Albums’ of Education? From Standard Education to ‘Marginal Learning’

“Once upon a time, there were physical CDs. The order of each song mattered, for the album was often played as an uninterrupted piece. Then came the computer and music became digital. You could...

What the Next Generation Needs to Thrive in Exponential Times

How do you raise kids today during these exponential times? Should they learn a second language… in a world of instant translation? Should they ever memorize any fact… in a world of ubiquitous Google? Will college even...

How Technology Is Crash Landing in Our Public Schools

Do we have an adequate system for sorting through the ten thousand plus different educational technology materials and programs available for integration into our public school systems? No. In fact, we do not have a...
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Watch Episode 1 of Ask an Expert, the New Web Series from Singularity University

Last week, we told you about a new web series called Ask an Expert. Well, Episode 1 is finally here and it's all about ENERGY! In its debut, questions about energy that were tweeted to @singularityu with...

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