By Mark Stevenson
while without notice faced along with his personal mortality, Mark Stevenson- a author, deep-thinker, and stand-up comedian-began to give some thought to what the longer term holds for our species. "The previous is a international country," writes Stevenson. "By my research it is a bit like France-in that i have been to elements of it and eaten a few great nutrients there. however the destiny? the longer term is an unknown territory-and there is no such thing as a guidebook." hence, his ambition was once born.
Stevenson set out easily, asking, "What's next?" after which traveled the globe in pursuit of the solutions. alongside the best way, he visited the Australian outback to go to the farmers who can shop us from weather switch, met a robotic with temper swings, and talked to the Spaniard who is placing a inn in house. whereas a few may be crushed, or perhaps dismayed by means of the looming realities of genome sequencing, artificial biology, a nuclear renaissance, and carbon scrubbing, Stevenson is still, good, positive. Drawing on his singular humor and storytelling to collapse those occasionally complex discoveries, An Optimist's journey of the Future paints a superbly readable, and entirely enchanting portrait of the place we will be after we develop up- and why it truly is now not so scary.
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Extra info for An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer "What's Next?"
Life is like a sonnet. It’s fourteen lines and you know how to operate within its perimeter. ’ But is it? Even now? For I myself am alive because the rules changed. One Saturday at the start of the school summer holidays in 1981 my eldest brother was tasked with looking after me while our parents went shopping. He wasn’t happy about this as he’d arranged to drive over to see his new girlfriend. We never made it. Ironically, if Ian hadn’t spent so long making sure my seat belt was a good fit, we would have missed the car that went straight through the Stop sign and ploughed into our passenger side.
There are three fronts on the transhumanists’ war with our inbuilt human limitations. The first is an attack on the restrictions of our biology. If the transhumanists wanted a field marshal to lead this advance, then Aubrey de Grey would be the obvious candidate. He’s encouraging the scientific community to find solutions to ‘seven major types of molecular and cellular damage that eventually become bad for us’ which he believes, once fixed, will put an end to ageing. He’s a big fan of stem cells and long-lived mice (his Methuselah Foundation offers prizes for scientific research teams who extend mouse life spans).
But maybe you’re contributing to Hitler’s war machine? ’ He even suggests it may be beyond us, but this hasn’t stopped him trying. ‘I want to think rationally about these things, rather than going for whatever makes the best story or gives you the most emotional comfort. ’ It’s important to remember that Nick comes from a very protranshumanist perspective. ’ I’m keen to understand where his optimism about transhumanist outcomes comes from, when so many people I mention the idea to visibly recoil.