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Technologist


Developing a healthy obsession with the tools and technologies transforming our world. Our technologist section provides insight and perspectives.

Algorithms Are Designed to Addict Us, and the Consequences Go Beyond Wasted Time

Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a classic example of many stories in a similar theme. The young apprentice enchants a broom to mop the floor, avoiding some work in the process. But the enchantment...

Investment in Quantum Computing Is Booming—But Will a Quantum Winter Follow?

Quantum computing is red hot right now, not least after Google's recent announcement that it had achieved quantum supremacy. An analysis by Nature shows the quantum hype is translating into a massive investment boost...

Tech Spread Misinformation in 70 Countries This Year. How Can We Make 2020 Better?

Following discussions about the societal influence of a technology like the internet feels much like watching a tennis match. One side serves with ‘the internet is the greatest tool of enlightenment ever!’ The opposition...

3D Printing Everything: Ultra-Cheap, Zero-Waste Products Are Coming

This blog is an excerpt from my next book The Future is Faster Than You Think, co-authored with Steven Kotler, to be released January 28th, 2020. 3D printing is about to transform manufacturing as we know...

Moore’s Law Is Dying. This Brain-Inspired Analogue Chip Is a Glimpse of What’s Next

“Dark silicon” sounds like a magical artifact out of a fantasy novel. In reality, it’s one branch of a three-headed beast that foretells the end of advances in computation. Ok—that might be too dramatic. But...

What Does Ethical AI Look Like? Here’s What the New Global Consensus Says

Elon Musk usually isn’t one for advocating regulation and oversight. But when it comes to AI, he doesn’t mince words. AI is humanity’s “biggest existential threat,” he once proclaimed to some controversy. While that statement...

Harvard’s Smart Exo-Shorts Talk to the Cloud to Help You Walk and Run

Exosuits don’t generally scream “fashionable” or “svelte.” Take the mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton that allowed a paraplegic man to kick off the World Cup back in 2014. Is it cool? Hell yeah. Is it practical?...

Driverless Electric Trucks Are Coming, and They’ll Affect You More Than You Think

Self-driving and electric cars just don’t stop making headlines lately. Amazon invested in self-driving startup Aurora earlier this year. Waymo, Daimler, GM, along with startups like Zoox, have all launched or are planning to...

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...

Microsoft Invests $1 Billion in OpenAI’s Mission to Build Artificial General Intelligence

Since its inception in 2015, OpenAI has been chasing the lofty goal of developing artificial general intelligence (AGI) for the benefit of all. But it turns out that doesn’t come cheap, so now Microsoft...

The Poker-Playing AI That Beat the World’s Best Players

Poker is a powerful combination of strategy and intuition, something that’s made it the most iconic of card games and devilishly difficult for machines to master. Now an AI built by Facebook and Carnegie...

This Chatbot has Over 660 Million Users—and It Wants to Be Their Best Friend

Your New Best Friend? Making a new friend is a complex business. You might begin with small talk: introductions, explorations. Perhaps you bond over something you have in common: shared tastes or interests. Gradually, you’ll...

The Pentagon’s New Laser-Based Tool Uses Your Heartbeat to Track You

The government’s hefty arsenal of surveillance tools just welcomed a powerful new member. Rather than monitoring an external device—a bug or a smartphone—or even the exterior features of your face, the new tech aims...

Virtual Influencers Are on the Rise. How Far Will Their Influence Go?

In early April 2019, something was suddenly very different about Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Instagram account. In lieu of retro-style pictures of chicken, a decidedly 21st century Colonel Sanders with "Secret Recipe For Success" tattooed...

Facebook Claims Libra Offers Economic Empowerment to Billions—an Economist Is Skeptical

Facebook is joining the cryptocurrency craze. Should we be concerned? The social network site on June 18 said it’s launching a new cryptocurrency called Libra with the help of 27 partners, including MasterCard, Visa, ebay,...

Can AI Save the Internet from Fake News?

There’s an old proverb that says “seeing is believing.” But in the age of artificial intelligence, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to take anything at face value—literally. The rise of so-called “deepfakes,” in which different types...

From Miniature Satellites to Giant Sun Shields–the Extreme Technology Transforming Space Engineering

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing. This was possible thanks to an extraordinary acceleration of space technology. Within a remarkably short period of time leading up to the...

SpaceX’s Starlink Launch and the Race for Global Internet Coverage

I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them, but they were only satellites it’s wrong to wish on space hardware. – Billy Bragg There’s a mini-constellation of new satellites in the sky. SpaceX has launched...

Stephen Hawking: Martin Rees Looks Back on Colleague’s Spectacular Success Against All Odds

Soon after I enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1964, I encountered a fellow student, two years ahead of me in his studies, who was unsteady on his feet and spoke...

Everyone Is Talking About AI—But Do They Mean the Same Thing?

In 2017, artificial intelligence attracted $12 billion of VC investment. We are only beginning to discover the usefulness of AI applications. Amazon recently unveiled a brick-and-mortar grocery store that has successfully supplanted cashiers and...

How We Can ‘Robot-Proof’ Education to Better Adapt to Automation

Like millions of other individuals in the workforce, you’re probably wondering if you will one day be replaced by a machine. If you’re a student, you’re probably wondering if your chosen profession will even...

Why Hasn’t AI Mastered Language Translation?

In the myth about the Tower of Babel, people conspired to build a city and tower that would reach heaven. Their creator observed, “And now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have...

In the Future, There Will Be No Limit to What AI Can Accomplish in Science

New planets found in distant corners of the galaxy. Climate models that may improve our understanding of sea level rise. The emergence of new antimalarial drugs. These scientific advances and discoveries have been in...

The Quest to Transform End-of-Life Medical Care Into a More Human Experience

In an interview at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine in San Diego, Shoshana Ungerleider spoke about the taboo topic we all eventually confront—death. Ungerleider is an expert in the field of end-of-life care and is working...

The 10 Grand Challenges Facing Robotics in the Next Decade

Robotics research has been making great strides in recent years, but there are still many hurdles to the machines becoming a ubiquitous presence in our lives. The journal Science Robotics has now identified 10...

9 Ways You Can Use Your Devices for Advanced Scientific Research

Want to help solve world problems like finding a cure for cancer? Looking to make a global impact in 2018 with minimal effort on your part? It’s relatively easy to use your devices for...

Digitized to Democratized: These Are the 6 Ds of Exponential Technologies

“The Six Ds are a chain reaction of technological progression, a road map of rapid development that always leads to enormous upheaval and opportunity.” –Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Bold We live in incredible times....

How Technology Is Leading Us Into the Imagination Age

In many ways, the future is unpredictable. A report by the World Economic Forum reveals that almost 65 percent of the jobs elementary school students will be doing in the future do not even...

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...

Interfaces Are Killing Us: It’s Time Technology Gets Out of the Way

You have superpowers; cybernetic superpowers that allow you to do all kinds of things. Think about it: at some point today you Googled a fact you didn’t know, or your calendar reminded you to be...

Why Every Leader Needs to Be Obsessed With Technology

In the 1990s, Tower Records was the place to get new music. Successful and popular, the California chain spread far and wide, and in 1998, they took on $110 million in debt to fund...

6 Things Quantum Computers Will Be Incredibly Useful For

Computers don’t exist in a vacuum. They serve to solve problems, and the type of problems they can solve are influenced by their hardware. Graphics processors are specialized for rendering images; artificial intelligence processors...

These 7 Disruptive Technologies Could Be Worth Trillions of Dollars

Scientists, technologists, engineers, and visionaries are building the future. Amazing things are in the pipeline. It’s a big deal. But you already knew all that. Such speculation is common. What’s less common? Scale. How...

7 Big Tech Trends That Are Changing the Way We Make Things

Manufacturing is dirty, dull, and outmoded. It’s a slow-moving industry stuck in the past as new technologies out of Silicon Valley threaten to upend it. Stereotypes are fun, and misleading. Let’s not forget manufacturing is...
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Watch: Where AI Is Today, and Where It’s Going in the Future

2016 was a year of headlines in artificial intelligence. A top-selling holiday gift was the AI-powered Amazon Echo; IBM Watson was used to diagnose cancer; and Google DeepMind’s system AlphaGo cracked the ancient and complex Chinese...

4 Keys to Making the Robots of Our Imagination a Reality

“The robots of reality are starting to get a lot closer to the robots of our imagination,” said Sarah Bergbreiter, an image of a fast-moving, multi-jointed search and rescue robot displayed on the big...

How to Make VR Experiences That Actually Matter

It seems like everyone is making a VR app these days. From recording concerts in VR to designing your next kitchen, brands and individual developers around the world are expending incredible amounts of effort...

These 5 Big Tech Trends Are Changing the Way We Learn

Our current education system is not fit for purpose. Student mental health is at an all-time low, and student debt is at an all-time high. Dominated by uninspiring curricula and an over-emphasis on short-term...

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...

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...

How the Most Successful Leaders Will Thrive in an Exponential World

We live in challenging times. Geopolitical turmoil, local and national social unrest, cycles of deadly natural disasters, cyber hacks, rising distrust of media and tech companies—many recent disruptive events have taken us by surprise. Nearly...

10 Tech Trends That Made the World Better in 2016

2016 was an incredible year for technology, and for humanity. Despite all the negative political-related news, there were 10 tech trends this year that positively transformed humanity. For this “2017 Kick-Off” post, I reviewed 52 weeks...

The 6 Ds of Tech Disruption: A Guide to the Digital Economy

“The Six Ds are a chain reaction of technological progression, a road map of rapid development that always leads to enormous upheaval and opportunity.” –Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Bold We live in incredible times....

8 Ways AI Will Profoundly Change City Life by 2030

How will AI shape the average North American city by 2030? A panel of experts assembled as part of a century-long study into the impact of AI thinks its effects will be profound. The One...

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...

Massive Disruption Is Coming With Quantum Computing

Next year, we may see the launch of the first true quantum computers. The implications will be staggering. This post aims to answer three questions: What are quantum computers? What are their implications? Who’s working on...

3 DNA Technologies That Will Forever Change Your Home Life

You’ve likely heard that the DNA revolution is here, but we’ve yet to see it manifest in our daily lives and homes. Speaking at this year’s Exponential Medicine conference, Raymond McCauley talked about how our...

Designer Babies and the New Technology of Having Children

Recently, we looked at how exponential tech impacts sex and dating. In this post, we'll look at: Reproduction without sex Freezing your eggs to extend your reproductive timeline Designer babies Making babies without eggs Imagine a...

5 Tech Forces That Will Change Insurance for Good

Massive reductions in insurance costs are coming, along with a wave of disruption. Traditionally, insurance premiums are determined by actuaries, a function of big numbers, statistics and probabilities. That's what you have to do when you...

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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