'I'm not saying the future will be better ...... but there's everything to play for.'When unexpectedly confronted with his own mortality, Mark Stevenson - a writer, deep-thinker, and stand-up comedian - began to ponder what the future holds for our species.
Stevenson set out simply, asking, 'What's next?' and then travelled the globe in pursuit of the answers.
His voyage of discovery took him to Oxford to meet Trans-humanists (they intend to live forever), to Boston where he confronted a robot with mood swings, to an underwater cabinet meeting in the Indian Ocean, and Australia to question the Outback's smartest farmer. He clambered around space planes in the Mojave desert, got to grips with the potential of nanotechnology, delved deep into the possibilities of biotech, saw an energy renaissance on a printer, a revolution in communications, had his genome profiled, glimpsed the next stage of human evolution ... and tried to make sense of what's in store.
A meticulous researcher, Stevenson sifts the genuine concerns about new technologies from fear-mongering - offering up a balanced take on everything from nanotech 'grey goo' to worries about population and resource crises, pandemics, climate change and new forms of terrorism. 'I'm not saying the future will be better,' he says 'but I do know there's everything to play for.'
Insightful and often very funny, An Optimist's Tour of the Future is a wonderfully readable and completely enthralling portrait of where we'll be when we grow up - and why it doesn't have to be scary.
"'Blind optimism is the last thing the world needs - a recipe for disappointment. But what about optimism based on careful reasoning? On digging below the surface for the ideas and the trends that really do add up to something promising? That's what's on offer here. Stevenson wears no blindfold. His tools are curiosity, open-mindedness, clarity and reason. That makes his journey intriguing... and ultimately exhilarating' - Chris Anderson, TED Curator"
Number Of Pages: 329
Published: 6th January 2011
Dimensions (cm): 21.7 x 13.6 x 3.2
Weight (kg): 0.41