The Next Fifty Years

Author: John Brockman
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307429075
Size: 18.43 MB
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A brilliant ensemble of the world’s most visionary scientists provides twenty-five original never-before-published essays about the advances in science and technology that we may see within our lifetimes. Theoretical physicist and bestselling author Paul Davies examines the likelihood that by the year 2050 we will be able to establish a continuing human presence on Mars. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi investigates the ramifications of engineering high-IQ, geneticially happy babies. Psychiatrist Nancy Etcoff explains current research into the creation of emotion-sensing jewelry that could gauge our moods and tell us when to take an anti-depressant pill. And evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explores the probability that we will soon be able to obtain a genome printout that predicts our natural end for the same cost as a chest x-ray. (Will we want to read it? And will insurance companies and governments have access to it?) This fascinating and unprecedented book explores not only the practical possibilities of the near future, but also the social and political ramifications of the developments of the strange new world to come. Also includes original essays by: Lee Smolin Martin Rees Ian Stewart Brian Goodwin Marc D. Hauser Alison Gopnik Paul Bloom Geoffrey Miller Robert M. Sapolsky Steven Strogatz Stuart Kauffman John H. Holland Rodney Brooks Peter Atkins Roger C. Schank Jaron Lanier David Gelernter Joseph LeDoux Judith Rich Harris Samuel Barondes Paul W. Ewald From the Trade Paperback edition.

Out Of Chaos

Author: Wayne M. Bundy
Publisher: Universal-Publishers
ISBN: 1581129793
Size: 36.58 MB
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Excerpt from Foreword, written by Stuart Ross Taylor:"Are we really the pinnacle of 4500 million years of evolution? Closely related to the aggressive chimpanzees, have we evolved enough to cope? The nightly news on television, that mervelous technical invention of scientists, no turned into a field too barren to be termed a wastelad, provides little hope that Homo sapiens is more than another of nature's failed experiments... "Will a more evolved species evolve in time? Wayne notes the extraordinary achievements of the Ashkenazi Jews, separated in European ghettos for centuries, whose descendants, now three percent of the US population, have gernered 27% of the Nobel Prizes awarded to that country. In their enforced isolation, restricted to intellectually demanding occupations, did they evolve superior brains? Perhaps there are grounds for hope before the unrestricted growth in population; the elephant in the attic falls through the ceiling. Read this book. It tells us where we are, how we got there, and how we might escape disaster."

Science In The Contemporary World

Author: Eric Gottfrid Swedin
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 1851095241
Size: 71.19 MB
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This work is a unique introductory A–Z resource detailing the scientific achievements of the contemporary world and analyzing the key scientific trends, discoveries, and personalities of the modern age. * Over 200 A–Z entries covering topics ranging from plate tectonics to the first Moon landings * More than 40 stunning photographs providing a unique pictorial chronicle of the achievements of modern science

Tomorrow Now

Author: Bruce Sterling
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 0307491994
Size: 54.96 MB
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“Nobody knows better than Bruce Sterling how thin the membrane between science fiction and real life has become, a state he correctly depicts as both thrilling and terrifying in this frisky, literate, clear-eyed sketch of the next half-century. Like all of the most interesting futurists, Sterling isn’t just talking about machines and biochemistry: what he really cares about are the interstices of technology with culture and human history.” -Kurt Andersen, author of Turn of the Century Visionary author Bruce Sterling views the future like no other writer. In his first nonfiction book since his classic The Hacker Crackdown, Sterling describes the world our children might be living in over the next fifty years and what to expect next in culture, geopolitics, and business. Time calls Bruce Sterling “one of America’s best-known science fiction writers and perhaps the sharpest observer of our media-choked culture working today in any genre.” Tomorrow Now is, as Sterling wryly describes it, “an ambitious, sprawling effort in thundering futurist punditry, in the pulsing vein of the futurists I’ve read and admired over the years: H. G. Wells, Arthur C. Clarke, and Alvin Toffler; Lewis Mumford, Reyner Banham, Peter Drucker, and Michael Dertouzos. This book asks the future two questions: What does it mean? and How does it feel? ” Taking a cue from one of William Shakespeare’s greatest soliloquies, Sterling devotes one chapter to each of the seven stages of humanity: birth, school, love, war, politics, business, and old age. As our children progress through Sterling’s Shakespearean life cycle, they will encounter new products; new weapons; new crimes; new moral conundrums, such as cloning and genetic alteration; and new political movements, which will augur the way wars of the future will be fought. Here are some of the author’s predictions: • Human clone babies will grow into the bitterest and surliest adolescents ever. • Microbes will be more important than the family farm. • Consumer items will look more and more like cuddly, squeezable pets. • Tomorrow’s kids will learn more from randomly clicking the Internet than they ever will from their textbooks. • Enemy governments will be nice to you and will badly want your tourist money, but global outlaws will scheme to kill you, loudly and publicly, on their Jihad TVs. • The future of politics is blandness punctuated with insanity. The future of activism belongs to a sophisticated, urbane global network that can make money—the Disney World version of Al Qaeda. Tomorrow Now will change the way you think about the future and our place in it. From the Hardcover edition.

Arguing A I

Author: Sam Williams
Publisher: AtRandom
ISBN: 0679647201
Size: 15.82 MB
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Few scientific topics since the theory of biological evolution have inspired as much controversy as artificial intelligence has. Even now, fifty years after the term first made its appearance in academic journals, many philosophers and more than a few prominent scientists and software programmers dismiss the pursuit of thinking machines as the modern-day equivalent of medieval alchemists’ hunt for the philosopher’s stone-a pursuit based more on faith than on skeptical inquiry. In Arguing A.I., journalist Sam Williams charts both the history of artificial intelligence from its scientific and philosophical roots and the history of the A.I. debate. He examines how and why the tenor of the debate has changed over the last half-decade in particular, as scientists are struggling to take into account the latest breakthroughs in computer science, information technology, and human biology. For every voice predicting machines like 2001’s HAL within the next twenty to thirty years, others have emerged with more pessimistic forecasts. From artificial intelligence’s pioneers John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, to futurist authors Ray Kurzweil and Hans Moravec, to software architects Bill Joy and Jaron Lanier, Arguing A.I. introduces readers to the people participating in the current debate, both proponents and critics of A.I. who are changing the way computers “think” and the way we think about computers. Ultimately, Arguing A.I. is as much a history of thought as it is a history of science. Williams notes that many of the questions plaguing modern scientists and software programmers are the same questions that have concerned scientists and philosophers since time immemorial: What are the fundamental limitations of science and scientific inquiry? What is the nature of intelligence? And, most important, what does it really mean to be human?

Feeding The World

Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262692717
Size: 34.82 MB
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This book addresses the question of how we can best feed the ten billion or so people who will likely inhabit the Earth by the middle of the twenty-first century. He asks whether human ingenuity can produce enough food to support healthy and vigorous lives for all these people without irreparably damaging the integrity of the biosphere. What makes this book different from other books on the world food situation is its consideration of the complete food cycle, from agriculture to post-harvest losses and processing to eating and discarding. Taking a scientific approach, Smil espouses neither the catastrophic view that widespread starvation is imminent nor the cornucopian view that welcomes large population increases as the source of endless human inventiveness. He shows how we can make more effective use of current resources and suggests that if we increase farming efficiency, reduce waste, and transform our diets, future needs may not be as great as we anticipate. Smil's message is that the prospects may not be as bright as we would like, but the outlook is hardly disheartening. Although inaction, late action, or misplaced emphasis may bring future troubles, we have the tools to steer a more efficient course. There are no insurmountable biophysical reasons we cannot feed humanity in the decades to come while easing the burden that modern agriculture puts on the biosphere.

Einstein For The 21st Century

Author: Peter Galison
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691135205
Size: 77.74 MB
Format: PDF
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"A stellar array of twenty historians and philosophers, artists and scientists, and writers and critics has contributed to this fascinating examination of Albert Einstein's legacy and its relevance for our times. We are presented with a multifaceted, interpretive effort to understand in novel terms Einstein's science, music, and politics, his relationship to God and aesthetics, and his unusual position at the divide between a now-vanished world and a future that will surely retain deep traces of his unique contributions and personality."--Diana K. Buchwald, Einstein Papers Project, Caltech "Whether serendipitously or by design, many of us have found ourselves involved in some aspect of Einstein's multifaceted legacy. This far-reaching volume of personal essays clarifies why Einstein's persona has been so seductive and so meaningful to us all."--Alice Calaprice, editor of The New Quotable Einstein "Here is the complete Einstein: the physicist, whose many insights and achievements persist at the forefront of modern science; the man, who remained idealistic, philosophically minded, and politically engaged throughout his life; and the iconic visionary, who continues to inspire individual creativity. This is a generous book, rich with detail."--Tony Robbin, author of Shadows of Reality: The Fourth Dimension in Relativity, Cubism, and Modern Thought "Einstein for the 21st Century is accessible to a broad readership and attractive because its distinguished authors, all experts in their disciplines, cover a very large intellectual space. There are so many fine and interesting contributions that there is something for nearly every potential reader."--Helge Kragh, University of Aarhus, Denmark

A World Perspective Through 21st Century Eyes

Author: R. K. Koslowsky
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
ISBN: 1412040086
Size: 41.93 MB
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As a community of citizens in the twenty-first century we are fortunate to have emerged from the biological evolution of the past million years and the cultural evolution of the past ten thousand years. We have enjoyed an abundance of time and freedom to explore the 'why' and 'how' things work and continue to push the limits of the present technological evolution. A World Perspective through 21st Century Eyes is not a history textbook or a science history book. It is not a treatise on philosophy or theology. Rather, it is a book on the major themes in the evolution of man and the impact of science thereto. It is a book with the major theme addressing the impact of science on society; one in which the technical community has not had time to digest and reflect upon during the past fifty years. With the time pressures of the day and in the specializations in which we operate, there is precious little surplus energy available to us for leisure activity of our choosing. I trust that this treatment will sketch a broad outline that the scientific and technological community has had on society over the past five thousand years and potential areas where further impacts will be made in the next one hundred years. To this effort, I believe the reader will find his or her surplus energy well spent. An engineer, to which my life's training was aimed, is expected to have a complete and thorough knowledge of some subjects. This is true for most of us in the technical community, therefore, it is also true that most of us choose not to write about many topics of which we are not master. I feel this separation of subjects and isolation of scientists and technologists does a disservice to others in other disciplines, who look for different views in order to maintain a balanced perspective on the myriad of issues confronting them each day. Those of us who have grown-up in the Western Culture without a technical education may find this discussion exciting in the different way it is broached. Just as an engineer appreciates the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge and the precision of the clock, the inspiration from watching the setting sun, reading a biblical passage or viewing a Bouguereau painting can motivate and enlighten that same engineer. In this way, I aim to provide the reader, either technical or non-technical, with an appreciation of the evolving world from the viewpoint of one who has been technically trained. I cannot reproduce the sunset, paint or sing to inspire, but I hope these insights motivate you to pause and consider your area of expertise, with the aim for you to contribute that which has inspired and motivated you.