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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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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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How Will We Meet the Energy Demands of the Coming Megacities?

Odds are you live in a city. In fact, more than half the world today lives in cities and by 2050, it's expected that two-thirds of the world will be residing in cities. While smaller cities struggle to modernize to...

Extreme Wealth Should Be Transformed Into Global Impact—Here’s How

With immense respect to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, I'd like to suggest an alternative to the giving pledge…an "impact pledge." Specifically, a pledge where philanthropists actually pledge to solve (i.e., eradicate, eliminate, exterminate) a...
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You don’t know the Dark Web and that’s probably a good thing [Video]

Discussing security and internet privacy on a panel with California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Singularity University CEO Rob Nail, Goodman nicely distinguishes the Surface, Deep, and Dark Webs. In all likelihood, you probably have never opened your browser and searched for...

Muhammad Yunus to GSP 2015: ‘Every Time I See a Problem, I Create a Business to Solve It’

Visiting Singularity University (SU) for the first time, social entrepreneur and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus said he wasn’t sure what to expect. But on meeting this year’s Graduate Studies Program (GSP) participants at the...

How Mobile Technology Can Bring Trauma Relief After Ebola

This article was co-written by Elie Calhoun. Nathaniel Calhoun focuses on the intersection of last mile development work challenges, mobile education for poverty alleviation and ecological design. Follow Nathaniel on Twitter @codeinnovation. The promise of mobile technology...

Tim Ferriss and the Secrets of Accelerated Learning

Five days to learn a new skill, no experience coming in, and some very high stakes—welcome to the Tim Ferriss Experiment. Over the past year, bestselling author, angel investor, and all-around life hacker extraordinaire, Tim...

How Excited Would Buckminster Fuller Be at the Prospect of 3D Printed Buildings?

The Experimenters is an excellent new web series of animated interviews with some of the great minds and original thinkers of the last century. Its first episode highlights Buckminster Fuller, best known for his...

Tesla’s Powerwall Is the Latest Step Toward Our Clean-Energy Future

Most people are skeptical that we’re heading into a clean-energy future. They find it hard to believe that solar energy is fewer than 14 years away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs....

Feeding Tomorrow’s Billions: Lab-Grown Meat Products, Vertical Farms, AI-Designed Recipes, and More

Food and agriculture accounts for about 5.9% of the global GDP. Global food retail sales alone account for about $4 trillion/year, and food accounts for 15% of what American households spend each year. It is an...

2015’s Most Electrifying Emerging Tech? World Economic Forum Releases Annual List

Writing lists forecasting technology is a bit like writing science fiction. Prerequisites include intimate knowledge of the bleeding edge of technology, the ability to separate signal from noise, and more than a little audacity. Looking back,...

Here’s How We Can Reinvent the Classroom for the Digital Age

When I was in elementary school, about 50 years ago, teachers used to stand in front of a class of 40 or 50 children and write on a blackboard with chalk. To make sure...

How to 3D Print Instant Disaster Relief

For the first time, late last year, astronauts 3D printed tools and replacement parts in space. It was a momentous occasion. Astronauts are at the mercy of resupply missions, and it can take weeks...

Finland’s Latest Educational Move Will Produce a Generation of Entrepreneurs

Last Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the iPad, a device heralded for triggering the broad adoption of tablet computers and for further spurring our always-connected, digital lives. Like the iPod and iPhone before it, the iPad significantly impacted a number...

Which Industry Will Produce the Next Henry Ford…Space? 3D Printing? Biotech?

Modern machines, powerful and clever, have enabled us to attempt seemingly impossible tasks, like traveling to the moon. Now, mere decades after Apollo’s computers guided us to the lunar surface, millions carry vastly more processing...
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The End of Meaningless Jobs Is a Win For Us All

Many experts studying the topic of automation believe that the current rate of advancement is leading us into a future with fewer and fewer available jobs. Maybe that’s a good thing. In his 2013 essay, “On the Phenomenon...

Why We Need Local Economies to Balance Technological Unemployment

Exponential technologies and digitization lure our focus to global markets, dangling the potential of massive profits and dizzying scale. Entrepreneurs and investors look for opportunities to create the next platform, which may be the innocuous...

The Growing Precariat: Why We Need a Universal Basic Income

There is an adage in economics known as ‘the lump of labor fallacy’. It is that technological change is destroying jobs and generating rising unemployment. It rests on an image of a finite number...
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When It Comes To Jobs, Automation Can Be a Force For Good

Advances in automation will create an enormous increase in productivity and wealth, and potentially, a world where that wealth is unavailable to the majority of the world’s population. However, properly applied, these same advances...
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Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Future of Work: We’ve Got To Out-Educate If We’re Going to Out-Compete

"How can we reconcile these sort of concerns that we all have around how quickly things are changing?" So asked California's Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, in a recent interview at Singularity University. Newsom sat down with...

Putting America Gainfully Back to Work

Years ago, my brother, Matt, explained to me that there are three ways to push out the productivity curve: technology, capital, or people. When we increase productivity, we increase wealth. However, when we discuss how...

On-Demand Employment: How Today’s Workers Are Choosing Journeys Over Jobs

The American industrialist Henry Ford, regarding diminishing customer surveys on early cars, once famously quipped, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” What’s less widely known is...

Technology Doesn’t Just Erase Jobs—It Creates Them Too

Worries about the future often share a critical flaw. They sometimes assume nothing changes, or that change happens more slowly than it does—when instead, awareness of a problem drives people to find solutions to...

Interview: Neil Jacobstein Discusses Future of Jobs, Universal Basic Income and the Ethical Dangers of AI

As part of Singularity Hub's Future of Work series, I had a chance to sit down with Neil Jacobstein, the co-chair of the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics track. Neil has worked on AI applications...

Future of Work Series Launches Today

Singularity Hub is devoting this week to exploring a topic on many of people’s minds recently: The Future of Work. Have we already entered an era where exponentially growing technologies, among them AI and robotics,...

Smart Cities Built on Emerging Tech is India’s Latest Initiative

Update: India's Global Impact Competition Announced Winning Entry Focused on Pollution Free Cities for India. 24-year-old Shubhojit Mallick won the contest for his innovative project in Bangalore that captures pollutants from automobiles using Nanocylinders...

Summit Spain: What Is The Greatest Challenge Humanity Faces Today?

“What is the greatest challenge humanity faces today?” This question was posed by Nick Haan, Director of Global Grand Challenges at Singularity University, to the audience gathered at this year’s Summit Spain in Seville. “It depends...

Revolution in Fundraising

Over the last 30 years, I've raised hundreds of millions of dollars for my startups and XPRIZEs. This is a critical blog for any entrepreneur trying to raise money. As the saying goes, no bucks,...

What’s Wrong With Online Education—and How to Fix It

There are many things right with online education—like the plethora of free and easily accessible content developed by Udacity, Coursera and others. In particular, online education excels at teaching while using simulations and improving instruction...

Disrupting Yourself

If you aren't disrupting yourself, someone else is. In this post, I want to teach you about a powerful tool you can use to disrupt yourself. Your survival as a company and as an entrepreneur depends...

What Bitcoin Can Teach Us About Education

Bitcoin, the digital currency and network protocol, has commanded a great deal of attention lately. Investors have poured money into bitcoin related businesses. Many believe bitcoin has the same disruptive potential today as the...

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