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 nanometera billionth of a meterwhile 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 cyclerecurring 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.
|Product dimensions:||5.61(w) x 8.37(h) x 1.03(d)|
Table of Contents
|List of Illustrations||9|
|About the Title||11|
|Introduction: Collision of Futures||21|
|Part 1.||The Molecular Age|
|Chapter 2.||Molecular Building Blocks||30|
|Chapter 3.||What Comes First and What Does It Mean for Each of Us?||52|
|Chapter 4.||What Comes Next? Megatrends That Could Alter Our Lives||81|
|Chapter 5.||The Nanoecology Revolution||113|
|Chapter 6.||Reviving Tropical Islands||120|
|Chapter 7.||Who's Driving the Molecular Machine?||124|
|Part 2.||Nature's Time Bombs|
|Chapter 8.||Are We Getting More or Less Vulnerable?||143|
|Chapter 9.||Shaking Up Tokyo and the Globalized Economy||150|
|Chapter 10.||So, You're Bored by Doomsday?||156|
|Chapter 11.||An Elephant in the Room of Environmentalism||174|
|Chapter 12.||Lost Messages from Ancient Times||180|
|Part 3.||Blueprints for a Molecular Defense|
|Chapter 13.||Why Go There?||189|
|Chapter 14.||Tools for Defusing Time Bombs||191|
|Chapter 15.||Lessons from Tokyo-Learning to Predict the Big One||217|
|Chapter 16.||The Long Valley Caldera Defense-Avoiding a Dark Age||221|
|Chapter 17.||How to Avert Armageddon-Have an Asteroid for Lunch||226|
|Part 4.||Getting from Here to There|
|Chapter 18.||The Right Questions||233|
|Chapter 19.||Overcoming Cultural Amnesia||255|
|Chapter 20.||Bypassing the Road to Hell||263|
|Chapter 21.||Using Open Source||282|
|Chapter 22.||Redesigning Democracy for Artificial Intelligence||286|
|Chapter 23.||Liberating Each One of Us||293|
|Appendix A.||Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics||315|
|Appendix B.||Excerpt from Foresight Guidelines on Molecular Nanotechnology||316|
|A Brief Sampling for the Scientifically Inclined Reader||371|