Futurist Andrew Zolli has an interesting blog that stimulates your brain to think about many virtually ignored trends and technologies that are coming together to shape the future. I’m not saying Zolli is necessarily correct in his analysis, but the information is there to ponder – and you’re definitely not seeing much of this in the MSM.
In addition to his posts, Zolli has posted his reviews of some very interesting-sounding books that would be ideal for reading while sunbathing beside the gene pool. Below are some of the books that sounded most interesting to me (though they’ve probably got some lefty assumptions), along with excerpts from Zolli’s reviews (links are to Amazon.com):
Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion – (biotech has) also generated several near-cult-like movements. Collectively known as the transhumanists, these acolytes of pharacogenomics, cryonics, bionics, medical nanotech, artificial intelligence and the like look to the technology not only to improve, but transform and transcend human life as we know it. (Some of their more famous gurus, like Ray Kurzweil, are actively planning for a date in the next decade or two when such technology will enable them to live forever.) In this important and entertaining guide to the transhumanists, Wired contributor Brian Alexander explores the movement and its structural similarities to other systems of faith. Highly recommended!
The Culture of Defeat: On National Trauma, Mourning and Recovery – Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s extraordinary treatise on societies’ psychological responses to being defeated in war is brilliant, and has done more to add to my understanding of the current situation in post-Saddam Iraq than any other work. This is a must-read.
The Penquin State of the World Atlas (7th ed.) – In beautifully designed spreads that bring abstract statistics to life, the Atlas covers such subjects as The Rise of Globalization, Control of the Seas, Control of Space, Population Growth, Urbanization, Traffic, Energy Use, Global Warming, Biodiversity, Stock Markets, Human Rights, Children’s Rights, The Internet and Digital Media, Global Investment and Health and Disease.
The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else – (Hernando DeSoto) An extremely compelling account of why capitalism fails in places like the former Soviet Union and broad swathes of the developing world, but succeeds in the developed West. In DeSoto’s view, these underperforming societies don’t lack for either motivation or for raw resources. Rather, they lack the complex system that allows tangible assets – like homes – to be turned into abstract forms of working capital. Without a system of deeds, mortgages, etc. the impoverished citizen of Manila or Sao Paolo can’t unlock the value of their otherwise ‘dead’ capital.
Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotic, Genetics and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World – Douglas Mulhall provides an accessible guide to important emerging technologies for the 21st century. This is an excellent guide for anyone interested in understanding the future directions of the current state of the art.(hide)
I don’t know if my local library has any of these books, but I already feel smarter just knowing these books are out there somewhere!