The Way We Will Be 50 Years from Today: 60 of the World's Greatest Minds Share Their Visions of the Next Half-Century


The world is an uncertain place, which is why the future and the unknown absolutely fascinate us. Veteran television journalist Mike Wallace asked the question "What will life be like 50 years from now?" to sixty of the world's greatest minds. Their responses offer a fascinating glimpse into the cultural, scientific, political, and spiritual moods of the times. Edited and with an introduction by Mike Wallace, this book provides an imaginative and thought-provoking look into our collective soul and the critical ...
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The Way We Will Be 50 Years from Today: 60 of the World's Greatest Minds Share Their Visions of the Next Half-Century

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The world is an uncertain place, which is why the future and the unknown absolutely fascinate us. Veteran television journalist Mike Wallace asked the question "What will life be like 50 years from now?" to sixty of the world's greatest minds. Their responses offer a fascinating glimpse into the cultural, scientific, political, and spiritual moods of the times. Edited and with an introduction by Mike Wallace, this book provides an imaginative and thought-provoking look into our collective soul and the critical issues that underlie our hopes, prayers, fears, and dreams for life in the 21st century.

Contributors include former presidents, leading scientists, noted writers and artists, respected religious leaders, and current political figures, including:

  • Vint Cerf, Vice President of Google; known as a "Father of the Internet"
  • Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a geneticist who led the Human Genome Project
  • Dr. Wanda Jones, Director of the Office on Women's Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Ray Kurzweil, an inventor whose developments include the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind and the first text-to-speech synthesizer
  • General James E. Cartwright, Commander of United States Strategic Command
  • Kim Dae-jung, the former President of the Republic of Korea
  • Ronald Noble, Secretary General of Interpol
  • Norman Borlaug, Nobel Peace Prize winner; called "the father of the Green Revolution"
  • Carol Bellamy, former Executive Director UNICEF, first former volunteer to serve as director of Peace Corp, and current president and CEO of World Learning
  • Gerardus 't Hooft, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Utrecht University in the Netherlands; Nobel Prize in Physics
  • Craig Newmark, Internet pioneer and founder of craigslist
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

These short meditations on the world in 50 years are overwhelmingly devoted to developments in human health, climate change and technology, with a disappointing scarcity of speculation about any social or spiritual transformations. Scientists, who make up more than half of the contributors, predict that genetic engineering will be commonplace and AIDS obsolete, although infectious diseases will adapt and prosper. Marriages will be arranged by compatible genotype; the oceans will rise; cats will no longer be kept as pets-they will have been identified (along with hamsters and birds) as transmitters of everything from Parkinson's to schizophrenia. China and India will be the new superpowers, and the U.S. will finally adopt the metric system. Although many writers note that certain species of plants and animals will be extinct in 50 years, only one laments that several languages will also be dead. This privileging of the scientific viewpoint makes the contributions from immunologist Peter Doherty and writer Michael Shermer all the more welcome as they attempt to focus on humanity rather than technology, imagination more than data. Perhaps it is easier to chart the course of climate change than social change-still the inhabitants of the planet and the future of their governments, beliefs and values deserve as much attention as the planet itself. (Apr .15)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The apparent contradiction between the title and subtitle may confuse readers, but once they get past that, they'll find longtime 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace explaining in his introduction that the book "presents the future by people who have brought us the present." The 60 contributors (most are American, despite the subtitle) assess the world they imagine in 2058 from the perspective of their own expertise. They are men and women prominent mostly in science, medicine, the Internet, and government, with several Nobel prize winners among them. The essays are short (two or three pages) and vary from the general (e.g., predicting that the worst contagious diseases will have been eradicated) to the more specific (e.g., showing the evolution of neuro-transistors), with some written as "present-day" reports on achievements in 2058 and others as predictions. Each essay is preceded by a short introductory paragraph on the writer. The order of the essays appears to be arbitrary. The book is clearly aimed at the general public, but while Wallace's name will draw attention, the contents will likely only be of interest to larger public libraries.
—Joel W Tscherne

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780849903700
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/13/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

A leading force behind 60 Minutes, CBS's seminal newsmagazine, Mike Wallace has won countless awards for his work (including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, three Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, a Robert E. Sherwood Award, and a Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of California School of Journalism) and has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
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Table of Contents

Introduction     vii
As We May Live   Vint Cerf     1
A Revolution in Medicine   Francis S. Collins     4
A Tiny Dot in Cosmic Time; A Big Period in Human Time   George F. Smoot     7
What's Ahead: "Figures Don't Lie"   Christian de Duve     11
What a Climatologist Cannot Know about the Next 50 Years (but What He Does Believe)   John R. Christy     15
No More Heart Disease   Louis J. Ignarro     18
The End of Psychiatric Illnesses   E. Fuller Torrey     22
Simon Caplan's Day   Arthur Caplan     24
Fifty Years from Now: Today's Baby Reaches Middle Age   Wanda Jones     26
Blogging from the Future   Craig Newmark     31
Progress Accelerates Exponentially   Ray Kurzweil     33
An Economist Predicts   Thomas C. Schelling     39
Diary Entry: 2058   Chandrasekhar (Spike) Narayan     43
Deciphering the Mega-Trends   James E. Cartwright     46
Will We Be 50 Years from Today?   Jody Williams     52
The Era of Great Change is Coming   Kim Dae-jung     56
The Future of Crime   Ronald Noble     58
The Future of Food   Norman E. Borlaug     63
What Does It Mean to Be Human?   Richard Clarke     68
A Brain Scientist's Perspective   Richard Restak     74
In Harmony with Earth's Water Cycle   Sandra Postel     78
How Will Science Transform Human Society?   Gerardus 't Hooft     82
Where Are All the Robots?   Shigeo Hirose     86
Wind Farming in Pollyanna Land   Peter Doherty     90
Letters to My Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren   Stuart L. Pimm     94
Future Cars and the Jetsons   Malcolm Bricklin     99
A World without Borders   Abdulla Salem El-Badri     103
Technology, Security, and Liberty in 50 Years   Lee H. Hamilton     105
Our Place in the Universe   Steven Beckwith     109
Snapshot of a World with the New Nation of California   Tim Mack     112
Our Children, Our Future   Marian Wright Edelman     116
Landscapes and Living Conditions   Valli Moosa     119
Go Green by Thinking Blue   Leon E. Panetta   James D. Watkins     123
The Paradox   Aaron Ciechanover     128
The Transformation   Elias A. Zerhouni     131
A World without Breast Cancer   Nancy G. Brinker     136
Hope for People with Brain Diseases   Stanley B. Prusiner     141
A Physician's View of the Future   Victor Sidel     145
Clean Energy for Progress   Claude Mandil     150
CO[subscript 2] for Good   Nancy Ho     156
To Open the World to All People   Michael Shermer     159
The View as I Glide By   Joseph L. Bryant     164
One Tuesday in Australia   Barry Marshall     167
Wake-Up Call on Global Warming   Carl Pope   Daniel Becker   Allison Forbes     171
Dateline: 50 Years into the Future   Keith B. Richburg     175
Leaps and Eurekas   Gregory A. Poland     178
Snapshots of the Future with Infectious Disease: Living in a Brave New World with Age-Old Scourges   Earl G. Brown     182
The Age of the Global Citizen   Carol Bellamy     189
Some Words from "Dr. Future"   James Canton     192
Some Warnings, Some Worries, and a Call for Leadership    Douglas Osheroff     197
How Our Knowledge Will Increase   Lyman Page     201
We Will Have Learned Our Lesson   Carol M. Browner     204
The Future of the Soul   Richard Dawkins     206
A Bird's-Eye View of the Next 50 Years   Peter Marra     210
Global Climate Change and Our Children   Nsedu Obot-Witherspoon     214
A Way Back to Wilderness   William H. Meadows     217
Future World: The Bad, the Good, and the Ugly   Lawrence M. Krauss     221
Always So Much More to Discover   John C. Mather     225
The World in Fifty Years: Revolutions and Repercussions   Ahmed Zewail     228
The Earth in 50 Years: Rescue ... or Ruin?     233
Acknowledgments     237
Notes     239
Bibliography     241
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