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On the Future: Prospects for Humanity

by Martin Rees Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
08/2018
ISBN:
9780691180441
Format:
Hbk 272 pages
Price:
AU$34.99 NZ$37.38
Product Status: In Stock Now
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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 prospects for the future - 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 future depends on our taking a very different approach to thinking about and planning for tomorrow.


 


The future of humanity is bound to the future of science, and our prospects hinge on how successfully we harness technological advances to address the challenges to our collective future. 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 future. 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 slim, accessible book will captivate anyone who wants to understand the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond.


 


 


 


“Are we heading for a utopian or dystopian future? Martin Rees believes it’s down to us. But the one thing we must not do is put the brakes on technology. Science, applied wisely, offers humanity a bright future, but we must act now. In this visionary book, and despite his many fears, Rees adopts a refreshing and cautiously optimistic tone.”—Jim Al-Khalili, author of Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics




“On the Future is a delightful intellectual treat and a must-read for everyone on Earth—and beyond, if aliens exist. With wisdom and originality, Martin Rees, our most accomplished living astronomer, addresses the most important of subjects—the future of humanity and the scientific advances and risks it brings. His deep personal insights are unique and exciting and his many anecdotes are enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down.”—Abraham Loeb, Harvard University
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.