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 to the Moon and Mars and who will get there and when.

This is Part 2 of our Space GGC Series focused on important issues facing us now:

Part 1: Our Home Among the Stars
Part 2: The Race to the Moon and Mars
Part 3: Asteroid Detection and Mining
Part 4: Finding Extraterrestrial Life

The following information was curated from excerpts of previously published Singularity Hub articles on space exploration. Though this series isn’t intended to be all-inclusive, we hope collecting a few key developments and insights in one place will deliver a broader view on the field. Special thanks to Jason Dorrier and Sarah Scoles for their works quoted here.


SpaceX is testing technology to enable reusable rockets.

Image Credit: SpaceX

Why Spend Billions on Space? It’s Our Insurance Policy Against Extinction

“Why blow billions of dollars on space exploration when billions of people are living in poverty here on Earth?

You’ve likely heard the justifications. The space program brings us useful innovations and inventions. Space exploration delivers perspective, inspiration, and understanding. Because it’s the final frontier. Because it’s there.

What you haven’t heard is anything to inspire a sense of urgency. Indeed, NASA’s struggle to defend its existence and funding testifies to how weak these justifications sound to a public that cares less about space than seemingly more pressing needs.

Space exploration, according to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, is as urgent as easing poverty or disease—it’s our insurance policy against extinction. Musk says an extinction-level event would, in an existential flash, make our down-to-earth struggles irrelevant.”


moon-earth-atmosphere

Image Credit: NASA

Diversifying Our Planetary Portfolio: The Moon Is a Stepping Stone to Mars

“Today NASA has no plans to send humans back to the Moon. Instead, its space pioneers will shoot straight to Mars (and wave to the Moon as they pass it by).

Other countries, though, would like a chance to leave some dusty footprints on the Moon. And although some think another Moon mission represents a step back, solid reasons exist (beyond footprints) to do a lunar sojourn or two before heading for the Red Planet.

In October, Russia announced it wants to build a base on the Moon. And it seems likely ESA would team up with Russia after [a joint] recon mission to spool up that Moon colony.

At the National Space Symposium in April, the agency’s chief, Johann-Dietrich Wörner said, “It seems to be appropriate to propose a permanent Moon station as the successor of ISS.” He proposed that, like the space station, the Moon station also be international, with countries contributing people, talent, and resources according to their abilities.

But aside from money matters, going to the Moon doesn’t mean not going to Mars.

Europe, Russia, and China all plan to visit the Red Planet’s canyons and dunes sometime in the future. But going to the Moon is faster—in terms of trip planning and the number of times the crew asks “Are we there yet?” before arrival—and, because of that, cheaper.

Further, because the timescales and the budget numbers are both smaller, the missions are more likely to happen (maybe even on time). Also, going to the Moon is a stepping stone to Mars. Launches to Mars could actually take place from the Moon—a lower-energy feat relative to Earth launches due to the Moon’s lesser gravity—after the colony turns industrial (which is, admittedly, a ways off). And astronauts and engineers can learn how to build a long-term space settlement, which (turns out) no one has ever done before.

However, the more resources agencies invest in getting to the Moon (and staying there for long periods of time), the fewer they have left to allocate for a future trip to Mars, an expensive endeavor. And the general American attitude of “been there, done that” has something to it. We have been there. We may not have done all of that, but we could go try to do it somewhere else, farther away: on a new frontier.

That kind of novel, dreamy goal inspires people, and not without reason. We have the technological capability to figure out how to make a human Mars mission work.”


Daybreak_at_Gale_Crater_full

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Who Will Become the First Martian? Collaboration May be the Key

“[Last September, NASA] reaffirmed its commitment to rocket humans to Mars by the 2030s. At the same event, however, they also delayed the first crewed flight of Orion, the space capsule they plan to use for the voyage. Called EM-2, this flight was once scheduled for August 2021. But because of new design changes, the mission will now have to wait until April 2023.

The agency said that the rain-check shouldn’t change the rest of Orion’s calendar, and the first no-crew test will still take place in 2018.

[Still] NASA is a big federal agency, and its engineers and scientists have to deal with budget constraints, government appropriations, piles of paperwork, and existing relationships with other big, cumbersome organizations like Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

And it’s the big-slow-cautious gap that private companies and nonprofit organizations are stepping into. “We want to go to Mars, too,” they say. And they bet they can do it better, faster, and cheaper.

Currently, SpaceX flies supplies to the International Space Station, but it plans to settle a colony on Mars. And [Elon] Musk (and his army of smart people who work really hard) might be able to do that. While the details of SpaceX’s Mars ferry (called the Mars Colonial Transporter) remain behind the company’s doors, Musk recently told Vogue magazine that his first astronaut-colonists should be headed out in about 10 years.

On the opposite end of the private path-to-Mars spectrum lies Mars One, a Dutch company founded by Bas Lansdorp. Mars One offers a one-way trip for six groups of four astronauts — chosen from the thousands who applied online. The selection process was to become a reality television show, with crews beginning training in 2016 for a launch in 2026, a timeline roughly on par with Musk’s. However, as a high-ranking applicant detailed in this Medium article, Mars One doesn’t seem to have the infrastructure or technology connections to back up their plan.

More moderate in their dreams, [Dennis Tito’s] Inspiration Mars Foundation first planned to send a two-person crew to fly by Mars in 2018, as a stepping stone like NASA’s asteroid plan.

But in February 2014, Tito pushed back the launch to 2021 and said he would need NASA’s Orion and SLS structures. While no plans exist between the agency and Inspiration Mars, collaborations like this may be the best way to get to Mars.

NASA, for instance, already collaborates with SpaceX for near-Earth projects. The two could join forces — combining the best of both organizations, like NASA’s attention to detail and safety and SpaceX’s willingness to experiment and act quickly — to get to Mars sooner with the smallest number of snags possible.

If all of these ventures succeeded, Mars might become crowded. But it seems likely that some combination of them will, in the coming decades, join forces — physically, intellectually, or both — to sum their individual strengths and to water down their weaknesses.”

That wraps up Space and Technology Review Part 2. Read Part 1 here and stay tuned for Parts 3 and 4.


Banner Image Credit: NASA


Watching These Videos May Make You Feel as Good as Doing Drugs

If you’ve experienced it, you know what I’m talking about, although you might not have known the name for it. It’s when a sound triggers a physiological response from your body—perhaps a slight tingling that starts at the nape of your neck. It feels gooooood. But what is it?

Read more…



Credit: Will Kirk/Johns Hopkins University.

We all know what happens when a chocolate bar sits inside of a backpack on a really hot day: it melts, and even if it resolidifies, it will never quite look the same. But what if you could tailor your chocolate to have a higher melting point?

Read more…


For 10 weeks each summer, a group of impact-driven individuals from around the world come to Singularity University’s Silicon Valley campus to embark on our flagship Global Solutions Program (GSP).

Seven weeks into the program, the participants take on SU’s 10^9 challenge with the goal of building a company that will positively impact a billion people in 10 years by leveraging exponential technology.

For many of these teams, GSP is only the beginning. Here’s a look inside five GSP 2015 team projects turned into startups and some of their post-program achievements.


Applications for the 2016 Global Solutions Program are open until February 22nd. Click here to begin your application.


1. Aipoly: Artificial intelligence for the blind
The Team: Marita Cheng, Alberto Rizzoli, Simon Edwardsson

Aipoly is an intelligent smartphone assistant for the visually impaired. Users take a photograph of a scene in front of them, which is then uploaded to Aipoly’s server, analyzed, and tagged. A description of the scene is read back to the user via text-to-speech.

Aipoly’s app officially launched this January and was released in Apple’s app store. Since launch, 33,000 visually impaired individuals have downloaded the app.

Co-founder Marita Cheng was recently listed as #6 in StartUp Daily’s Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs under 40, and the company won a booth at CES 2016 after being named a winner of a CEA Foundation contest. The company has been written up in TechCrunch, The Daily Dot, Kurzweil AI, and more.


2. AIME: Artificial intelligence in medical epidemiology
The Team: Rainier Mallol, Dhesi Baha Raja

AIME is using big data analytics and machine learning to predict the location and time of infectious disease outbreaks in real time. During tests of their dengue prediction platform in Malaysia and Brazil, AIME predicted where outbreaks would occur with 84-88% accuracy in advance of the outbreak.

After GSP, AIME secured a spot in Singularity University’s Field Innovation Exchange program (FIX) and worked with Brazil-based NGO Viva Rio. During the exchange, AIME predicted dengue outbreaks in Rio de Janeiro with 84% accuracy and were selected as winners of PitchGov Sao Paulo in the health category.

Since January, AIME has been working with Viva Rio and the government of San Paulo on a pilot program focused on preventing the spread of Zika and dengue virus in Brazil—just in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

With the data AIME is gathering, the team is working to define future research requirements to be incorporated into the decision-making process of public health officials in the city of San Paulo.

The team has also been invited to present at the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization and TedXYouth.


 3. Iris AI: Artificial intelligence to navigate scientific research
The Team: Anita Schjøll Brede, Jacobo Elosua, Maria Ritola, Victor Botev

Every day, new academic research is published around the world, but most of this research is only accessible to a small community of academic researchers. Iris AI is building an AI tool they’re calling “a shortcut to science.” They hope their software will make navigating complex research intuitive, fast, and available to the public.

This month the team is launching their first product in beta to coincide with the annual TED conference. This first version of Iris AI can scan over 2,000 TED talks and create a visual display of all research related to the talks. The display includes a subject overview plus details and links to the in-depth studies used in the talk.

Iris AI was recently selected by the 500 Startups pre-accelerator 500 Nordics, secured two private investments, and hired a CTO.


4. Emerge: A platform to communicate virtually through touch
The Team: Isaac Castro, Mauricio Teran, Sly Lee

Emerge is a new communication tool that digitizes the sense of touch. The goal is to give people a sense of closeness when connecting with loved ones remotely.

The team developed a proof-of-concept prototype during GSP and was recently accepted into top hardware accelerator Make in LA.

Co-founder Isaac Castro, an MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35, was invited to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos where he hosted two panels. Co-founder Sly Lee will present at Skoll World Forum later this year.


5. iHelmet (RedOlive): A low-cost smart helmet for motorcycle safety
The Team: Ganindu Nanayakkara

iHelmet is an intelligent and affordable motorcycle helmet that uses built-in sensors and a Bluetooth-connected app to communicate safety information to motorcycle drivers.

Features include high-speed warning, blind-spot assistance, an air-quality sensor, and SOS alerts to pre-identified contacts. Founder Ganindu Nanayakkara was recently a finalist in Verizon’s multi-million dollar challenge for entrepreneurs Powerful Answers Awards.


We’re accepting applications through February 22nd. Click here to begin. You can also join our next live, interactive webinar on February 17th to learn more about the program and ask any questions you have. Register here

For 10 weeks each summer, a group of impact-driven individuals from around the world come to Singularity University’s Silicon Valley campus to embark on our flagship Global Solutions Program (GSP).

Seven weeks into the program, the participants take on SU’s 10^9 challenge with the goal of building a company that will positively impact a billion people in 10 years by leveraging exponential technology.

For many of these teams, GSP is only the beginning. Here’s a look inside five GSP 2015 team projects turned into startups and some of their post-program achievements.


Applications for the 2016 Global Solutions Program are open until February 22nd. Click here to begin your application.


1. Aipoly: Artificial intelligence for the blind
The Team: Marita Cheng, Alberto Rizzoli, Simon Edwardsson

Aipoly is an intelligent smartphone assistant for the visually impaired. Users take a photograph of a scene in front of them, which is then uploaded to Aipoly’s server, analyzed, and tagged. A description of the scene is read back to the user via text-to-speech.

Aipoly’s app officially launched this January and was released in Apple’s app store. Since launch, 33,000 visually impaired individuals have downloaded the app.

Co-founder Marita Cheng was recently listed as #6 in StartUp Daily’s Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs under 40, and the company won a booth at CES 2016 after being named a winner of a CEA Foundation contest. The company has been written up in TechCrunch, The Daily Dot, Kurzweil AI, and more.


2. AIME: Artificial intelligence in medical epidemiology
The Team: Rainier Mallol, Dhesi Baha Raja

AIME is using big data analytics and machine learning to predict the location and time of infectious disease outbreaks in real time. During tests of their dengue prediction platform in Malaysia and Brazil, AIME predicted where outbreaks would occur with 84-88% accuracy in advance of the outbreak.

After GSP, AIME secured a spot in Singularity University’s Field Innovation Exchange program (FIX) and worked with Brazil-based NGO Viva Rio. During the exchange, AIME predicted dengue outbreaks in Rio de Janeiro with 84% accuracy and were selected as winners of PitchGov Sao Paulo in the health category.

Since January, AIME has been working with Viva Rio and the government of San Paulo on a pilot program focused on preventing the spread of Zika and dengue virus in Brazil—just in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

With the data AIME is gathering, the team is working to define future research requirements to be incorporated into the decision-making process of public health officials in the city of San Paulo.

The team has also been invited to present at the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization and TedXYouth.


 3. Iris AI: Artificial intelligence to navigate scientific research
The Team: Anita Schjøll Brede, Jacobo Elosua, Maria Ritola, Victor Botev

Every day, new academic research is published around the world, but most of this research is only accessible to a small community of academic researchers. Iris AI is building an AI tool they’re calling “a shortcut to science.” They hope their software will make navigating complex research intuitive, fast, and available to the public.

This month the team is launching their first product in beta to coincide with the annual TED conference. This first version of Iris AI can scan over 2,000 TED talks and create a visual display of all research related to the talks. The display includes a subject overview plus details and links to the in-depth studies used in the talk.

Iris AI was recently selected by the 500 Startups pre-accelerator 500 Nordics, secured two private investments, and hired a CTO.


4. Emerge: A platform to communicate virtually through touch
The Team: Isaac Castro, Mauricio Teran, Sly Lee

Emerge is a new communication tool that digitizes the sense of touch. The goal is to give people a sense of closeness when connecting with loved ones remotely.

The team developed a proof-of-concept prototype during GSP and was recently accepted into top hardware accelerator Make in LA.

Co-founder Isaac Castro, an MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35, was invited to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos where he hosted two panels. Co-founder Sly Lee will present at Skoll World Forum later this year.


5. iHelmet (RedOlive): A low-cost smart helmet for motorcycle safety
The Team: Ganindu Nanayakkara

iHelmet is an intelligent and affordable motorcycle helmet that uses built-in sensors and a Bluetooth-connected app to communicate safety information to motorcycle drivers.

Features include high-speed warning, blind-spot assistance, an air-quality sensor, and SOS alerts to pre-identified contacts. Founder Ganindu Nanayakkara was recently a finalist in Verizon’s multi-million dollar challenge for entrepreneurs Powerful Answers Awards.


We’re accepting applications through February 22nd. Click here to begin. You can also join our next live, interactive webinar on February 17th to learn more about the program and ask any questions you have. Register here

Imagine your child requires a life-saving operation. You enter the hospital and are confronted with a stark choice.

Do you take the traditional path with human medical staff, including doctors and nurses, where long-term trials have shown a 90% chance that they will save your child’s life?

Or do you choose the robotic track, in the factory-like wing of the hospital, tended to by technical specialists and an array of robots, but where similar long-term trials have shown that your child has a 95% chance of survival?

Most rational people would opt for the course of action that is more likely to save their child. But are we really ready to let machines take over from a human in delivering patient care?

Of course, machines will not always get it right. But like autopilots in aircraft, and the driverless cars that are just around the corner, medical robots do not need to be perfect, they just have to be better than humans.

So how long before robots are shown to perform better than humans at surgery and other patient care? It may be sooner, or it may be later, but it will happen one day.

But what does this mean for our hospitals? Are the new hospitals being built now ready for a robotic future? Are we planning for large-scale role changes for the humans in our future robotic factory-like hospitals?

Our future hospitals

Hospitals globally have been slow to adopt robotics and artificial intelligence into patient care, although both have been widely used and tested in other industries.

Medicine has traditionally been slow to change, as safety is at its core. Financial pressures will inevitably force industry and governments to recognize that when robots can do something better and for the same price as humans, the robot way will be the only way.

What some hospitals have done in the past 10 years is recognize the potential to be more factory-like, and hence more efficient. The term “focused factories” has been used to describe some of these new hospitals that specialize in a few key procedures and that organize the workflow in a more streamlined and industrial way.

They have even tried “lean processing” methods borrowed from the car manufacturing industry. One idea is to free up the humans in hospitals so that they can carry out more complex cases.

Some people are nervous about turning hospitals into factories. There are fears that “lean” means cutting money and hence employment. But if the motivation for going lean is to do more with the same, then it is likely that employment will change rather than reduce.

Medicine has long been segmented into many specialized fields but the doctor has been expected to travel with the patient through the full treatment pathway.

A surgeon, for example, is expected to be compassionate, and good at many tasks, such as diagnosing, interpreting tests, such as X-rays and MRIs, performing a procedure and post-operative care.

As in numerous other industries, new technology will be one of the drivers that will change this traditional method of delivery. We can see that one day, each of the stages of care through the hospital could be largely achieved by a computer, machine or robot.

Some senior doctors are already seeing a change and they are worried about the de-humanising of medicine but this is a change for the better.

Safety first but some AI already here

Our future robot-factory hospital example is the end game, but many of its components already exist. We are simply waiting for them to be tested enough to satisfy us all that they can be used safely.

There are programs to make diagnoses based on a series of questions, and algorithms inform many treatments used now by doctors.

Surgeons are already using robots in the operating theatre to assist with surgery. Currently, the surgeon remains in control with the machine being more of a slave than a master. As the machines improve, it will be possible for a trained technician to oversee the surgery and ultimately for the robot to be fully in charge.

Hospitals will be very different places in 20 years. Beds will be able to move autonomously transporting patients from the emergency room to the operating theatre, via X-ray if needed.

Triage will be done with the assistance of an AI device. Many decisions on treatment will be made with the assistance of, or by, intelligent machines.

Your medical information, including medications, will be read from a chip under your skin or in your phone. No more waiting for medical records or chasing information when an unconscious patient presents to the emergency room.

Robots will be able to dispense medication safely and rehabilitation will be robotically assisted. Only our imaginations can limit how health care will be delivered.

Who is responsible when things go wrong?

The hospital of the future may not require many doctors, but the numbers employed are unlikely to change at first.

Doctors in the near future are going to need many different skills than the doctors of today. An understanding of technology will be imperative. They will need to learn programming and computer skills well before the start of medical school. Programming will become the fourth literacy along with reading, writing (which may vanish) and arithmetic.

But who will people sue if something goes wrong? This is, sadly, one of the first questions many people ask.

Robots will be performing tasks and many of the diagnoses will be made by a machine, but at least in the near future there will be a human involved in the decision-making process.

Insurance costs and litigation will hopefully reduce as machines perform procedures more precisely and with fewer complications. But who do you sue if your medical treatment goes tragically wrong and no human has touched you? That’s a question that still needs to be answered.

So too is the question of whether people will really trust a machine to make a diagnosis, give out tablets or do an operation?

Perhaps we have to accept that humans are far from perfect and mistakes are inevitable in health care, just as they are when we put humans behind the wheel of a car. So if driverless cars are going to reduce traffic accidents and congestion then maybe doctorless hospitals will one day save more lives and reduce the cost of health care?The Conversation


Anjali Jaiprakash, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Medical Robotics, Queensland University of Technology; Jonathan Roberts, Professor in Robotics, Queensland University of Technology, and Ross Crawford, Professor of Orthopaedic Research, Queensland University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com


Today only, Amazon’s offering the Bluetooth model of Anova’s excellent Sous Vide immersion circulator for $139, or $40 less than usual. Sous Vide was already the easiest way to cook food perfectly, and this model makes it even simpler by putting every recipe you need on a mobile app. [Anova Bluetooth Sous-Vide Immersion Circulator, $139]

Read more…



Four-year-olds get to play with Power Wheels , teenagers get to drive real cars, but how do all those kids in-between quench their need for speed? With the new Arrow Smart-Kart from Actev Motors that sounds as feature-packed as a Tesla Model S, without the $70,000 price tag.

Read more…


Imagine your child requires a life-saving operation. You enter the hospital and are confronted with a stark choice.

Do you take the traditional path with human medical staff, including doctors and nurses, where long-term trials have shown a 90% chance that they will save your child’s life?

Or do you choose the robotic track, in the factory-like wing of the hospital, tended to by technical specialists and an array of robots, but where similar long-term trials have shown that your child has a 95% chance of survival?

Most rational people would opt for the course of action that is more likely to save their child. But are we really ready to let machines take over from a human in delivering patient care?

Of course, machines will not always get it right. But like autopilots in aircraft, and the driverless cars that are just around the corner, medical robots do not need to be perfect, they just have to be better than humans.

So how long before robots are shown to perform better than humans at surgery and other patient care? It may be sooner, or it may be later, but it will happen one day.

But what does this mean for our hospitals? Are the new hospitals being built now ready for a robotic future? Are we planning for large-scale role changes for the humans in our future robotic factory-like hospitals?

Our future hospitals

Hospitals globally have been slow to adopt robotics and artificial intelligence into patient care, although both have been widely used and tested in other industries.

Medicine has traditionally been slow to change, as safety is at its core. Financial pressures will inevitably force industry and governments to recognise that when robots can do something better and for the same price as humans, the robot way will be the only way.

What some hospitals have done in the past 10 years is recognise the potential to be more factory-like, and hence more efficient. The term “focused factories” has been used to describe some of these new hospitals that specialise in a few key procedures and that organise the workflow in a more streamlined and industrial way.

They have even tried “lean processing” methods borrowed from the car manufacturing industry. One idea is to free up the humans in hospitals so that they can carry out more complex cases.

Some people are nervous about turning hospitals into factories. There are fears that “lean” means cutting money and hence employment. But if the motivation for going lean is to do more with the same, then it is likely that employment will change rather than reduce.

Medicine has long been segmented into many specialised fields but the doctor has been expected to travel with the patient through the full treatment pathway.

A surgeon, for example, is expected to be compassionate, and good at many tasks, such as diagnosing, interpreting tests, such as X-rays and MRIs, performing a procedure and post-operative care.

As in numerous other industries, new technology will be one of the drivers that will change this traditional method of delivery. We can see that one day, each of the stages of care through the hospital could be largely achieved by a computer, machine or robot.

Some senior doctors are already seeing a change and they are worried about the de-humanising of medicine but this is a change for the better.

Safety first but some AI already here

Our future robot-factory hospital example is the end game, but many of its components already exist. We are simply waiting for them to be tested enough to satisfy us all that they can be used safely.

There are programs to make diagnoses based on a series of questions, and algorithms inform many treatments used now by doctors.

Surgeons are already using robots in the operating theatre to assist with surgery. Currently, the surgeon remains in control with the machine being more of a slave than a master. As the machines improve, it will be possible for a trained technician to oversee the surgery and ultimately for the robot to be fully in charge.

Hospitals will be very different places in 20 years. Beds will be able to move autonomously transporting patients from the emergency room to the operating theatre, via X-ray if needed.

Triage will be done with the assistance of an AI device. Many decisions on treatment will be made with the assistance of, or by, intelligent machines.

Your medical information, including medications, will be read from a chip under your skin or in your phone. No more waiting for medical records or chasing information when an unconscious patient presents to the emergency room.

Robots will be able to dispense medication safely and rehabilitation will be robotically assisted. Only our imaginations can limit how health care will be delivered.

Who is responsible when things go wrong?

The hospital of the future may not require many doctors, but the numbers employed are unlikely to change at first.

Doctors in the near future are going to need many different skills than the doctors of today. An understanding of technology will be imperative. They will need to learn programming and computer skills well before the start of medical school. Programming will become the fourth literacy along with reading, writing (which may vanish) and arithmetic.

But who will people sue if something goes wrong? This is, sadly, one of the first questions many people ask.

Robots will be performing tasks and many of the diagnoses will be made by a machine, but at least in the near future there will be a human involved in the decision-making process.

Insurance costs and litigation will hopefully reduce as machines perform procedures more precisely and with fewer complications. But who do you sue if your medical treatment goes tragically wrong and no human has touched you? That’s a question that still needs to be answered.

So too is the question of whether people will really trust a machine to make a diagnosis, give out tablets or do an operation?

Perhaps we have to accept that humans are far from perfect and mistakes are inevitable in health care, just as they are when we put humans behind the wheel of a car. So if driverless cars are going to reduce traffic accidents and congestion then maybe doctorless hospitals will one day save more lives and reduce the cost of health care?The Conversation


Anjali Jaiprakash, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Medical Robotics, Queensland University of Technology; Jonathan Roberts, Professor in Robotics, Queensland University of Technology, and Ross Crawford, Professor of Orthopaedic Research, Queensland University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

“We will find new things everywhere we look.” –Hunter S. Thompson

At the rate of 21st century technological innovation, each year brings new breakthroughs across industries. Advances in quantum computers, human genome sequencing for under $1,000, lab-grown meat, harnessing our body’s microbes as drugs, and bionic eye implants that give vision to the blind—the list is long.

As new technologies push the boundaries of their respective industries, fields are now maturing, growing, and colliding with one another. This cross-pollination of ideas across industries and countries has changed the world—and will continue to—and it’s one of the reasons Singularity University exists.

The first SU Salon, a gathering for professionals of varying backgrounds but common interest in innovation, recently took place at our campus in Silicon Valley.

The event featured three speakers from distinct sectors—biotech, cybersecurity, and music—and was an open forum to connect with local technologists, innovators, and most importantly, to cross-pollinate ideas.

If you weren’t able to make it, below is a glimpse into each speaker’s presentation.


Ryan Bethencourt: The future of biotech

Program Director and Venture Partner at IndieBio

“Our world is built on biology and once we begin to understand it, it then becomes a technology.  –Ryan Bethencourt

When most people hear the word biotech they think of syringes, new cancer treatments, and cutting-edge disease therapies. Though this is biotech, it’s just one vertical.

Ryan Bethencourt, a biohacker, entrepreneur, and program director and venture partner of biology accelerator IndieBio, spoke about four primary areas of acceleration in biotech—food, biomaterials, computation, and medicine.

Bethencourt broke down how biology is being applied as a technology in each of these areas and highlighted companies to keep an eye on:

  • Food: Impossible Foodsmaking real burgers that bleed from plant cells. The company recently turned down an acquisition offer from Google for $200 million, so stay tuned.
  • Biomaterials: Bolt Threadsbrewing spider silk in yeast and turning it into an outstandingly durable material with applications in the industrial space. The company recently raised roughly $40 million in funds.
  • Computation: Konikupioneering neuron-powered computation by harnessing the power of biological neurons to create the next generation of supercomputers.
  • Medicine: Organogenesis Inc.—developing regenerative medicine such as bioactive wound healing and soft tissue regeneration. Next up in this industry may be the ability to build human organs like lungs and hearts.

Siobhan MacDermott: The state of cybersecurity

Principal of Risk and Cybersecurity at Ernst & Young

“[Though] many people in DC know little about Internet security and privacy…[they] are the ones trying to reform it.” -Siobhan MacDermott

When Siobhan MacDermott began working in the field of cybersecurity in the 1990s, companies across the board could not grasp why they needed Internet security software. It seemed foolish and unreasonable. Jump forward to 2016, and the need is clear. It’s projected there will be one million unfilled cybersecurity related jobs in 2020, if we continue at the current rate of education for this field.

MacDermott is one of the foremost experts on the future cybersecurity and privacy and is principal of risk and cybersecurity at Ernst & Young where she coaches Fortune 100 companies, NGOs, and the government on best practices and strategies for Internet security. She is also the vice chair at the Fund for Peace.

In her talk, MacDermott explored pressing cybersecurity issues such as how to balance surveillance and privacy—a subject gaining global attention, and also one that has been front-and-center in recent US presidential debates.

MacDermott highlighted how, at the diplomatic level, the exchange and security of information is under mass scrutiny, and pointed to additional players, such as “hacktivist” groups like Anonymous, and campaign-aligned corporations.


Tamer Rashad: Democratizing music

Founder and CEO of Humtap

Music, according to Tamer Rashad, founder and CEO of Humtap, allows communities and cultures to transcend traditional boundaries of communication. But it’s expensive to produce high-quality music, and the industry is dominated by three major music labels.

Rashad said Humtap wants to democratize music creation with new technologies such as AI and machine learning to open music production to the masses.


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