Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World

Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World

by Douglas Mulhall
     
 

ISBN-10: 1573929921

ISBN-13: 9781573929929

Pub. Date: 08/28/2002

Publisher: Prometheus Books

What Alvin Toffler's Future Shock was to the 20th century, Our Molecular Future will be to the 21st century.

What will happen to our jobs, health care, and investments when the molecular revolution hits?
How might artificial intelligence transform our lives?
How can molecular technologies help us cope with climate changes, earthquakes, and other extreme

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Overview

What Alvin Toffler's Future Shock was to the 20th century, Our Molecular Future will be to the 21st century.

What will happen to our jobs, health care, and investments when the molecular revolution hits?
How might artificial intelligence transform our lives?
How can molecular technologies help us cope with climate changes, earthquakes, and other extreme natural threats?
Our Molecular Future explores some intriguing possibilities that answer these questions and many others. Douglas Mulhall describes the exponential changes that are about to be wrought by the nanotechnology and robotic revolutions, which promise to reduce the scale of computing to the nanometer—a billionth of a meter—while increasing computing power to almost unimaginable levels.

The resulting convergence of genetics, robotics, and artificial intelligence may give us hitherto undreamed-of capacities to transform our environment and ourselves. In the not-so-distant future, our world may include machines that scour our arteries to prevent heart disease, cars and clothes that change color at our whim, exotic products built in our own desktop factories, and enhancements to our personal financial security despite greatly accelerated obsolescence.

But while technology is making these fantastic leaps, we may also encounter surprises that throw us into disarray: climate changes, earthquakes, or even a seemingly improbable asteroid collision. These extremes are not the nightmare scenarios of sensationalists, Mulhall stresses, nor are many of them human induced. Instead, they may be part of nature's cycle—recurring more often than we've thought possible.

The good news is that this convergence of catastrophe and technological transformation may work to our advantage. If we're smart, according to Mulhall, we can use molecular machines to protect ourselves from nature's worst extremes, and harness their potential benefits to usher in an economic renaissance.

This visionary link between future technology and past disasters is a valuable guide for every one of us who wants to be prepared for the twenty-first century.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573929929
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
08/28/2002
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
5.61(w) x 8.37(h) x 1.03(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations9
About the Title11
Acknowledgments13
Preface15
Introduction. Collision of Futures21
Pt. 1The Molecular Age
Ch. 1Singularity27
Ch. 2Molecular Building Blocks30
Ch. 3What Comes First and What Does It Mean for Each of Us?52
Ch. 4What Comes Next? Megatrends That Could Alter Our Lives81
Ch. 5The Nanoecology Revolution113
Ch. 6Reviving Tropical Islands120
Ch. 7Who's Driving the Molecular Machine?124
Pt. 2Nature's Time Bombs
Ch. 8Are We Getting More or Less Vulnerable?143
Ch. 9Shaking Up Tokyo and the Globalized Economy150
Ch. 10So, You're Bored by Doomsday?156
Ch. 11An Elephant in the Room of Environmentalism174
Ch. 12Lost Messages from Ancient Times180
Pt. 3Blueprints for a Molecular Defense
Ch. 13Why Go There?189
Ch. 14Tools for Defusing Time Bombs191
Ch. 15Lessons from Tokyo - Learning to Predict the Big One217
Ch. 16The Long Valley Caldera Defense - Avoiding a Dark Age221
Ch. 17How to Avert Armageddon - Have an Asteroid for Lunch226
Pt. 4Getting from Here to There
Ch. 18The Right Questions233
Ch. 19Overcoming Cultural Amnesia255
Ch. 20Bypassing the Road to Hell263
Ch. 21Using Open Source282
Ch. 22Redesigning Democracy for Artificial Intelligence286
Ch. 23Liberating Each One of Us293
Conclusion311
App. AIsaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics315
App. BExcerpt from Foresight Guidelines on Molecular Nanotechnology316
Notes317
A Brief Sampling for the Scientifically Inclined Reader371
Index377

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