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An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out by Mark Stevenson

By Mark Stevenson

In the culture of invoice Bryson's A brief historical past of approximately Everything, a sensible and enjoyable consultant to the way forward for civilization

whilst without notice faced together with his personal mortality, Mark Stevenson- a author, deep-thinker, and stand-up comedian-began to consider what the longer term holds for our species. "The prior is a overseas country," writes Stevenson. "By my research it's kind of like France-in that i have been to elements of it and eaten a few great meals there. however the destiny? the long run is an unknown territory-and there isn't any 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 way in which, 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 lodge in house. whereas a few will be crushed, or maybe dismayed by means of the looming realities of genome sequencing, artificial biology, a nuclear renaissance, and carbon scrubbing, Stevenson continues to be, 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 fully mesmerizing portrait of the place we will be after we develop up- and why it really is now not so scary.

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Extra resources for An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer "What's Next?"

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But the ATGC code can give you an actual hedgehog. Why those instructions are arranged the way they are and what happens to them inside the cell is something Professor Church has been working to understand for most of his life. In doing so, he hopes to revolutionise medicine. I arrive in America the night before Labor Day (like William Shatner, a Canadian import) and, next day, with everyone on holiday explore the good city of Boston as the morning warms into a display of pure summery goodness.

He asks us to imagine parents choosing between two embryos – one which has a condition that, on balance, means it will probably live five years less than the other. ‘Which embryo should they pick? ’ I am the only person in the room to choose tossing a coin because I figure quality of life matters more than the length of it. It simply turns out that the embryo with the shorter projected life span is a boy. Soon we’re considering the argument that the future is better off all-female. Women live longer and tend to nurture offspring more diligently; they are less violent.

It’s better to think about what kind of mental state or mental activity would most correspond to what you would want to do if we had the ability to do whatever we wanted. So maybe try and find the highest reaches of human happiness and creativity and relationships – which will be refined even more in a posthuman future – but find the closest we can get today. What do you think the ideal is? Maybe the simple pleasures of family life, the ecstasies of artistic creation, romantic love, happy children eating an ice cream in a playground?

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