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Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- And What It Means To Be Humanby Joel Garreau
Synopses & Reviews
In Radical Evolution, bestselling author Joel Garreau, a reporter and editor for the Washington Post, shows us that we are at an inflection point in history. As you read this, we are engineering the next stage of human evolution. Through advances in genetic, robotic, information and nanotechnologies, we are altering our minds, our memories, our metabolisms, our personalities, our progeny — and perhaps our very souls. Taking us behind the scenes with today's foremost researchers and pioneers, Garreau reveals that the super powers of our comic-book heroes already exist, or are in development in hospitals, labs, and research facilities around the country — from the revved up reflexes and speed of Spider-Man and Superman, to the enhanced mental acuity and memory capabilities of an advanced species. Over the next fifteen years, Garreau makes clear, these enhancements will become part of our everyday lives. Where will they lead us? To heaven — where technology?s promise to make us smarter, vanquish illness and extend our lives is the answer to our prayers? Or will they lead us, as some argue, to hell — where unrestrained technology brings about the ultimate destruction of our entire species? With the help and insights of the gifted thinkers and scientists who are making what has previously been thought of as science fiction a reality, Garreau explores how these developments, in our lifetime, will affect everything from the way we date to the way we work, from how we think and act to how we fall in love. It is a book about what our world is becoming today, not fifty years out. As Garreau cautions, it is only by anticipating the future that we can hope to shape it.
"Washington Post reporter Garreau takes readers on a cross-country trip into the future as he interviews scientists and other thinkers grappling with the implications of our newfound — and, to some, frightening — knowledge of the genome. Highlighting what he calls 'the Curve' — the rate of exponential change in technology — Garreau (Edge City: Life on the New Frontier) breaks the central part of his book into four scenarios. In 'Heaven,' genetic engineering will make us stronger and healthier, help us live longer and metabolize our food more efficiently. 'Hell' resembles the island of Dr. Moreau: science runs amok, we cripple the genome of our food supplies, and babies are born with unexpected deformities instead of the improved characteristics promised by gene therapies. The 'Prevail' scenario might also be called Muddling Through: even if we make a mistake now and then, we will figure out how to slow potentially harmful changes and speed up potentially beneficial ones. Last, 'Transcend' considers that humans might conquer the difficulties that lie ahead and emerge into a new age beyond our wildest dreams. Science buffs fascinated by the leading edges of societal and technological change and readers concerned by the ethical issues that change presents will find much to ponder in Garreau's nonjudgmentallook into our possible futures Agent, John Brockman. Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Garreau has an eye for the anecdote that throws much of this Buck Rogers technology into compelling human terms.... Excellent scientific journalism on the challenges arising from a real tipping point in human relations." Kirkus (Starred Review)
"How weird, how soon? That?s the question that dominates the debates about the coming of ?post-humanity.? With his customary journalistic acumen and wry humor, Garreau has the answer: much weirder than you imagine, much sooner than you expect." Stewart Brand, author of The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility and The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at M.I.T.
"Joel Garreau lives well ahead of the curve — even the really big Curve he describes in these pages. One of our foremost chroniclers of change and historians of the future, he?s done it again." Bill McKibben, author of Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age and The End of Nature
"Joel Garreau has hit upon something critical here, something most of us see daily and struggle to make sense of: That human technology may be advancing faster than our ability to adapt, leaving us ill-equipped to measure and manage the consequences. This is a timely, important book, and a fascinating read." Nathan McCall, author of Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America
"It isn't often an author gets to herald the biggest news in the last 10,000 years. But you'll get the full, uncensored, mind-blowing report here in this entertaining and surprisingly deep book." Kevin Kelly, author of Out of Control and Wired editor-at-large
"Radical Evolution is truly outstanding. I was hooked. It reads like a thriller, informs like a textbook, engages like a love note. Garreau is, truly, an artist." Eamonn Kelly, co-author, What's Next: Exploring the New Terrain for Business
"Radical Evolution, if it does nothing else, helps us realize that there's a lot left to understand, and an uncertain future ahead." Bookreporter
In this compelling look at the cutting-edge research that is transforming human nature, bestselling author Joel Garreau argues that an acceleration of technology is rapidly setting the course of the next stage of human evolution, raising serious questions about the future of our culture, society — and humanity itself.
About the Author
Joel Garreau is a student of culture, values and change. The author of the bestselling Edge City: Life on the New Frontier and The Nine Nations of North America, he is a reporter and editor at The Washington Post, a member of the scenario-planning organization Global Business Network, and has served as a senior fellow at George Mason University and the University of California at Berkeley. He has appeared on such national media as Good Morning America, Today, The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, NBC Nightly News, ABC?s World News Tonight, and NPR?s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He lives in Broad Run, Virginia.
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