The World of 2044: Technological Development and the Future of Society / Edition 1

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Overview

Predicting the future has always fascinated and interested humankind. This interest has not been limited to just knowing the future but with being able to influence the future in one way or another. Predicting or influencing the future of a physical system is, in principle, possible. Predicting the future of humanity in general, or of a social group in particular, is a much more difficult, almost impossible task. Social evolution is critically affected by ideological, political, religious, and military leaders, whose appearance and subsequent actions are impossible to predict. The "human factors" affecting the development of society are so unpredictable that a comprehensive forecast of the human future must be intrinsically flawed. At best, we can guess some possible scenarios. Beyond ideology, politics, and religion, one other human factor exerts an enormous influence on social evolution - "science and technology." The list of science and technology discoveries and inventions that have produced profound social changes includes fire, agriculture, metallurgy, gunpowder, the printing press, steam power and electricity. Yet none of these were the result of any desire to achieve social change. The last five decades have seen technological developments at an unprecedented scale; they are likely to exert an even more profound impact on the coming five decades. The technological forecasts in this book look specifically at developments in materials, energy, transportation, robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, biotechnology, medical technology, new human habitats, and communications. What we make of technological advances is largely a result of political and moral values. The benefits of technology can be used by elites for their own gain, by tyrants to oppress, or can be shared by all. History has shown that human beings can use technology to create a heaven or a hell, a utopia or a dystopia. Noted science fiction writers Jerry Pournelle, Ben Bova, Charl
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780943852492
  • Publisher: Paragon House Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/21/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Materials and Energy 17
Ch. 2 Robotics and Artificial Intelligence 27
Ch. 3 Biological Technologies 41
Ch. 4 Biomedical Technologies 59
Ch. 5 Transportation and Communication 69
Ch. 6 Inhabiting the Oceans 81
Ch. 7 Living in Space 89
Ch. 8 The Biological Century 99
Ch. 9 Prenatal Genetic Testing and Euthanasia 113
Ch. 10 O Brave New (Virtual) World 129
Ch. 11 Report on Planet Earth 141
Ch. 12 An Address to the Council 151
Ch. 13 A Nightmare 165
Ch. 14 A Land of Empty Abundance 177
Ch. 15 A Visit to Belindia 189
Ch. 16 A Utopian World 199
Ch. 17 The View from Outside America 205
Ch. 18 The Evolution of the World in the Next Fifty Years 219
Ch. 19 The United States in 2044 241
Ch. 20 2044: A View from Guatemala 253
Ch. 21 Thai Society in the 21st Century 267
Ch. 22 Opportunities for Africa 289
Ch. 23 Australia in 2044 303
Ch. 24 The Case for Jordan 339
Ch. 25 Polish Brainstorming 349
Ch. 26 The Philippines Fifty Years Hence 365
Notes on Contributors 377
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