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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.

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...

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...

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