By Mark Stevenson
while all of sudden faced together with his personal mortality, Mark Stevenson- a author, deep-thinker, and stand-up comedian-began to think of what the long run holds for our species. "The prior is a international country," writes Stevenson. "By my research it's kind of like France-in that i have been to components of it and eaten a few great nutrients there. however the destiny? the long run 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 keep us from weather swap, met a robotic with temper swings, and talked to the Spaniard who is placing a inn in house. whereas a few should be crushed, or perhaps dismayed through the looming realities of genome sequencing, man made biology, a nuclear renaissance, and carbon scrubbing, Stevenson is still, good, confident. 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 spell binding portrait of the place we are going to 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?"
Currently, as a planet, we are collectively in the process of writing down the code of life in all its forms, including some that are extinct (their DNA being sifted out of hair, hooves and tusks held in museums). The reasons for this gargantuan effort of genome librarianship are numerous but include, among other things, conservation. For instance, the University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology have built ‘DNA maps’ that highlight genetic differences between elephants from, say, Zambia and Malawi, helping them pinpoint where a particular specimen has come from.
The second story to grab my attention that week is more compelling. It was about a woman called Claudia Castillo, who in 2008 suffered a collapse of part of the windpipe leading to her left lung. The result was a debilitating shortness of breath, making it impossible for her to look after her children, to work, clean, shop or cook. The usual medical options for such a condition are wholesale removal of a lung or a partial trachea (windpipe) transplant. Transplants are particularly tricky because our immune systems tend to reject donated body parts, requiring patients to take immunosuppressive drugs.
Nick Bostrom, founder of Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, agrees. In fact, he thinks I could live not for a hundred years but for thousands. And he’s not joking. Bostrom is an advocate for transhumanism. Described as ‘the world’s most dangerous idea,’ the concept got its modern name in Religion Without Revelation, written in 1927 by Julian Huxley. The brother of Aldous, Julian Huxley was a leading biologist, the first director-general of UNESCO and founder of the World Wildlife Fund.
An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer "What's Next?" by Mark Stevenson