An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out by Mark Stevenson

By Mark Stevenson

In the culture of invoice Bryson's A brief heritage of approximately Everything, a sensible and interesting advisor to the way forward for civilization

while all of sudden faced together with his personal mortality, Mark Stevenson- a author, deep-thinker, and stand-up comedian-began to contemplate what the long run holds for our species. "The earlier is a overseas country," writes Stevenson. "By my research it's kind of like France-in that i have been to components of it and eaten a few great nutrition there. however the destiny? the longer term is an unknown territory-and there is no such thing as a guidebook." hence, his ambition was once born.

Stevenson set out easily, asking, "What's next?" after which traveled the globe in pursuit of the solutions. alongside the best way, he visited the Australian outback to go to the farmers who can retailer us from weather swap, met a robotic with temper swings, and talked to the Spaniard who is placing a lodge in house. whereas a few may be crushed, or perhaps dismayed through the looming realities of genome sequencing, man made biology, a nuclear renaissance, and carbon scrubbing, Stevenson continues to be, good, positive. Drawing on his singular humor and storytelling to collapse those occasionally complex discoveries, An Optimist's journey of the Future paints a superbly readable, and entirely enchanting portrait of the place we will be after we develop up- and why it truly is now not so scary.

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Busy chap. He wrote: The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself – not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way – but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. The term Huxley came up with was ‘Transhumanism’ – the idea that man could remain essentially human but transcend what nature had given him. ’ I’m travelling to see Nick because the debate around transhumanism is a car-crash of science, ethics and social policy.

Nature also provides a built-in backup of all that data. Adenine and thymine, and guanine and cytosine are like two couples who hang out but never swing. Adenine will only get into bed with thymine, and guanine only has eyes for cytosine. Within the confines of a cell, A’s will snuggle up to T’s and G’s will soon form trysts with C’s, one side reaching out with a ‘hand’ made of hydrogen to cop a feel of the other’s nitrogen or oxygen (this, appropriately, is called ‘hydrogen bonding’). The result?

In the Public Gardens I come across a demonstration calling for health care reform. It’s interesting to think that many of the medical conditions these demonstrators worry about could become a thing of the past if work like George Church’s continues to bear fruit. With the sun setting, I approach my hotel, passing the Broad Institute – a joint initiative by the mighty universities of Harvard and MIT. It is one of the many labs around the world spewing out documents full of A’s, T’s, G’s and C’s – labs that are writing down and cataloguing the DNA of pretty much anything they can get their hands on (including, in the Broad’s case, that elephant I mentioned earlier).

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