Synopses & Reviews
If you think the world has changed dramatically in the last five years, you havent seen anything yet.
You will never look at the world in the same way after reading As the Future Catches You. Juan Enriquez puts you face to face with unprecedented political, ethical, economic, and financial issues, dramatically demonstrating the cascading impact of the genetic, digital, and knowledge revolutions on all our lives.
Genetics will be the dominant language of this century. Those who can “speak it” will acquire direct and deliberate control over all forms of life. But most countries and individuals remain illiterate in what is rapidly becoming the greatest single driver of the global economy. The choice is simple: Either learn to surf new and powerful waves of change—or get crushed trying to stop them. The future is catching us all. Let it catch you with your eyes wide open.
You will never look at the world in the same way after reading As the Future Catches You. Juan Enriquez puts you face to face with a series of unprecedented political, ethical, economic, and financial issues, dramatically demonstrating the cascading impact of the genetic, digital, and knowledge revolutions on your life.
Genetics will be the dominant language of this century. Those who can "speak it" will acquire direct and deliberate control over all forms of life. But most countries and individuals remain illiterate in what is rapidly becoming the greatest single driver of the global economy.
Wealth will be more concentrated and those with knowledge to sell-both countries and individuals-will be the winners.
Consider what will happen when:
- Your genetic code can be digitally imprinted on an ID card and your insurance company and employer see that you are genetically disposed to, say, heart disease.
- Pharmaceutical products are developed so that you can eat genetically modified broccoli to protect yourself from cancer.
- Cloning will be as common as in vitro fertilization and scientists can influence the genetic design not only of other species but of your own children.
- Creating wealth no longer requires many hands. Lone individuals are giving birth to entire new industries that rapidly become bigger than the economies of most countries on earth, but create very few jobs.
As the Future Catches You resembles no other book. A typical page may contain just a few dozen words. But each seemingly discrete fact is like a chip in an intellectual mosaic that reveals its meaning and beauty only as you step back and see the big picture. Juan Enriquez is like thebest teacher you ever had, one who helps you to see something in a new light and makes you say, "Now I get it!"
Juan Enriquez's main point is that technology is not kind, it does not say "please," but slams into existing systems and destroys them while creating new ones. Countries and individuals can either surf new and powerful waves of change-or get crushed trying to stop them.
The future is catching us all.
Let it catch you with your eyes wide open.
"From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Juan Enriquez has a career that spans business, domestic and international politics, and science. He was the founding director of the Life Sciences Project at Harvard Business School and a fellow at Harvards Center for International Affairs. Enriquez has appeared on 60 Minutes and has published his work in Harvard Business Review, Foreign Policy, Science, and the New York Times. His new book is The Untied States of America.
Who do you see as your audience?
This book is for anyone who is curious about the future, and I hope it will spark debates around family dinner tables. No matter what Mom and Dad do for a living, or how much they know about science, they can read the book quickly and have a different take on what’s happening around the world. The same for their children, whether they’re in college or high school. Topics like genetic engineering and cloning are constantly in the news, and I want to help people understand them and wrestle with them.
Why did you use this unconventional format of bulleted facts mixed with charts and graphs and pictures?
Many people are afraid of science--they think it’s beyond them. Scientists reinforce this by cloaking their work in their own private language. As a result, we rarely understand and debate the greatest single driver of wealth and growth, which is knowledge. But today’s discoveries affect us all, so we have to frame the debate in terms everyone can understand and relate to.
Also science is fun and whimsical, and I really wanted the book to reflect this. I hope it can transmit some of the excitement I feel about the marvelous adventures going on in science and technology.
Your background is mostly in economics and international politics--how did you get so involved in genomics and other science topics?
I never intended to get involved, but during the course of my research I found that technological discontinuities are the greatest single driver of long-term economic success…or failure. And the ability to understand and apply gene research is probably the greatest single discontinuity we have seen since the Industrial Revolution.
Bigger than the Internet?
Yes. The digital revolution was just the beginning. The genomics revolution will be far more powerful.
Give us an example of that. How differently do you think medicine will be practiced in 20 or 30 years?
Medicine will evolve the way dentistry has evolved--from brute–force intervention to prevention. Your grandparents went to the dentist to get their teeth pulled. You went to get your teeth filled. Kids today go to get their teeth cleaned. A dentist’s office is now mainly a collection of hygienists because our mouths are a lot healthier--we need less intervention.
As we understand disease better, because we can map and attack microbes better, or because we can start to tell to which diseases we may be statistically more prone, we will live a lot longer and remain much healthier. We will carry genetic ID cards. Medicine will be personalized and preventive. We will need fewer and fewer surgeons
When you think about the future, what excites you the most and what frightens you the most?
We are acquiring direct and deliberate control over the evolution of most life–forms. This is a power that will allow us to feed more people, cure more people, and live far better lives. That’s very exciting. But it will also change the nature of things like warfare and terrorism, which of course is very frightening.
From the Hardcover edition.