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What the Future Looks Like: Scientists Predict the Next Great…

af Jim Al-Khalili

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291649,019 (4)Ingen
"Science fact, not science fiction, on the cutting-edge developments that are already changing the course of our future. Every day, scientists conduct pioneering experiments with the potential to transform how we live. Yet it isn't every you hear from the scientists themselves! Now, award-winning author Jim Al-Khalili and his team of top-notch experts explain how today's earthshaking discoveries will shape our world tomorrow--and beyond. The scientists in the pages are interested only in the truth-- reality-based and speculation-free. The future they conjure is by turns tantalizing and sobering: There's plenty to look forward to, but also plenty to dread. And undoubtedly the best way to for us to face tomorrow's greatest challenges is to learn what the future looks like-- today"--From back cover.… (mere)
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Risky Business

When I was born, the five biggest cities were New York, Tokyo, London, Osaka and Paris. Today, they are Tokyo, Delhi, Mexico, Shanghai and Sao Paulo. No one predicted that. Soon Mumbai and Beijing will displace the laggards. The point is, how do we justify predicting the future? Meaning, beyond simply The Jetsons? Jim Al-Kahlili’s collection of essays stabs at it from numerous angles. They are arranged from the inside out: microbiology, artificial intelligence, diminishing biodiversity, climate change, robotics, apocalypse, space travel, and time travel/teleportation.

For the most part, it is all reasonable and recognizable. Scientific breakthroughs are extrapolated and exploded, posing some possibilities for future exploits and exploitation. One of the recurring ideas is DNA as a replacement for digital ones and zeroes in a base eight system. The amount of data in DNA is staggering, and if we can adapt that to our computers, it will be an order of magnitude beyond anything we’re drooling over today.

The book is for a general audience, so even though its chapters come from various academics and PhDs, the words and sentences are easy to read and understand. It is what is now called accessible. This is fortunate, as many of the topics are not understood by anyone at all. How artificial intelligence programs result in the results they do is a mystery. Quantum physics is famous for being incomprehensible. Biochemistry is right in there, opening new vistas we never knew of. We don’t even have names for things biologists are discovering.

Of the 18 chapters, seven are by women scientists, the first time I have come across anything like a balanced presentation. That is as refreshing as the book itself.

David Wineberg ( )
2 stem DavidWineberg | Dec 1, 2017 |
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"Science fact, not science fiction, on the cutting-edge developments that are already changing the course of our future. Every day, scientists conduct pioneering experiments with the potential to transform how we live. Yet it isn't every you hear from the scientists themselves! Now, award-winning author Jim Al-Khalili and his team of top-notch experts explain how today's earthshaking discoveries will shape our world tomorrow--and beyond. The scientists in the pages are interested only in the truth-- reality-based and speculation-free. The future they conjure is by turns tantalizing and sobering: There's plenty to look forward to, but also plenty to dread. And undoubtedly the best way to for us to face tomorrow's greatest challenges is to learn what the future looks like-- today"--From back cover.

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