A provocative and inspiring look at the future of humanity and science from world-renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees
Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing، and we face existential risks over the next century. Various outcomes―good and bad―are possible. Yet our approach to the future is characterized by short-term thinking، polarizing debates، alarmist rhetoric، and pessimism. In this short، exhilarating book، renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees argues that humanity’s prospects depend on our taking a very different approach to planning for tomorrow.
The future of humanity is bound to the future of science and hinges on how successfully we harness technological advances to address our challenges. If we are to use science to solve our problems while avoiding its dystopian risks، we must think rationally، globally، collectively، and optimistically about the long term. Advances in biotechnology، cybertechnology، robotics، and artificial intelligence―if pursued and applied wisely―could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on Earth، from climate change to nuclear war. At the same time، further advances in space science will allow humans to explore the solar system and beyond with robots and AI. But there is no “Plan B” for Earth―no viable alternative within reach if we do not care for our home planet.
Rich with fascinating insights into cutting-edge science and technology، this accessible book will captivate anyone who wants to understand the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond.
Hardcover: 272 pages Author: Martin Rees Publisher: Princeton University Press; First Edition edition (October 16، 2018) Language: English Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
About the Author Martin Rees is Astronomer Royal، and has been Master of Trinity College and Director of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University. As a member of the UK’s House of Lords and former President of the Royal Society، he is much involved in international science and issues of technological risk. His books include Our Cosmic Habitat (Princeton)، Just Six Numbers، and Our Final Hour (published in the UK as Our Final Century). He lives in Cambridge، UK.
Editorial Reviews "One of the Financial Times' Best Books of 2018: Science"
"Rees is hardly the first to issue a stern warning about what lies ahead if complacency and consumerism rule، but his lucid، well-reasoned explanation of the stakes and inimitable prose lift this manifesto above the rest. An impassioned call to action from one of the world's foremost scientists. A book to be read by anyone on Earth who cares about its future." (Kirkus، starred review)
"When politics seems impossible، it is sometimes good to take the long view. Astronomer Martin Rees’s On the Future offers a cosmological perspective on the present state of the world. Brexit seems a bit less all-or-nothing when set against the prospect of post-human space travel."---David Runciman، The Guardian
"[Hawking and Rees] offer brisk، lucid peeks into the future of science and of humanity. They evince a profound faith in science’s power to demystify nature and bend it to our ends."---John Horgan، Wall Street Journal
"Fortunately for Rees، the symptoms of his anxiety appear to be an exceptionally clear head and a capable grasp of the big picture. His sense of cosmic wonder shines through brilliantly in the book’s later chapters. Explanations of complex subjects like the Large Hadron Collider and the ongoing search for exoplanets benefit from his crisp، precise prose.... Rees is a seasoned science communicator، and in so far as his job is to get more and more people interested in the field، the book’s short length and approachable style is a shrewd move that will open a wormhole to the big questions for the curious."---Louie Conway، Vanity Fair
"[On the Future] offers forecasts of impending technological developments and words of hope for the human ability to use science to repair a wounded planet and improve lives.... This far-ranging but easily understood collection of ideas shares and communicates the enthusiasm of Rees’s ‘techno-optimist’ view of the prospects for humanity." (Publishers Weekly)
"Short in extent but wide in range: from redesigning genes، through the likelihood of human-induced climate change، to the possibility of encounters with alien intelligence in the Universe. [On the Future]’s overall theme is that Earth’s growing population will flourish only if science and technology are deployed with ‘wisdom.’"---Andrew Robinson، Science
"Rees neatly packages his sprawling subject matter into a guidebook for the responsible use of science to build a healthy and equitable future for humanity."---Daniel Ackerman، Scientific American
"UK astronomer royal Martin Rees faces the future as scientist، citizen and 'worried member of the human species'. His bold، beautifully synthesized primer paces from human-driven challenges such as climate change to dizzying astronomical discoveries within and beyond the Solar System... A clarion call for global، rational، long-term thinking."---Barb Kiser، Nature
"It is hard not to be fascinated as [Rees] builds his Eeyorish case – which is laid out with the dispassionate air of a superintelligent alien anthropologist observing our species’ eccentricities from afar.... [A] lucid and engaging book."---Tom Whipple، The Times