By Mark Stevenson
while by surprise faced along with his personal mortality, Mark Stevenson- a author, deep-thinker, and stand-up comedian-began to consider what the long run holds for our species. "The prior is a overseas country," writes Stevenson. "By my research it's kind of like France-in that i have been to elements of it and eaten a few great meals 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 way in which, he visited the Australian outback to go to the farmers who can store us from weather swap, met a robotic with temper swings, and talked to the Spaniard who is placing a inn in house. whereas a few should be crushed, or perhaps dismayed through the looming realities of genome sequencing, artificial biology, a nuclear renaissance, and carbon scrubbing, Stevenson is still, good, confident. 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 fully spell binding portrait of the place we will be after we develop up- and why it really is no longer so scary.
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Extra info for An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer "What's Next?"
Kossel called the four substances adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine, and sometime later got a Nobel prize, in part, for doing so. One letter (A, T, G or C) is all you need to represent each of the substances Kossel discovered. ‘A,’ for instance, is shorthand for the arrangement of five atoms of carbon, five of hydrogen and five of nitrogen that make up a molecule of adenine. ’ It is these four substances that nature uses to store all her recipes. ”’ It takes over three billion adenines, thymines, guanines and cytosines lined up in a row and in the right order to make the human recipebook as we know it – ‘the human genome’ – a row of chemical letters you’ll find in nearly every one of your trillions of cells (the most notable exception being the red blood cells).
Even though you can’t read the cookbook, your cells (and now human technology) can. So getting hold of a copy (otherwise known as ‘having your genome sequenced’) could soon play a part in saving your life. More than that, in fact. It may mean that you hardly have to visit the doctor, because you won’t get ill in the first place. Anyone on a quest to understand biotechnology at some point comes to the work of George Church – the man who helped kick off the human genome project all those years ago.
I tell the story because I’m trying to imagine what would happen if any modern politician suggested we end the practice of blood transfusion. Medicine has been changing the rules ever since the first patient was saved, and we’ve welcomed it. Like it or not, we’re not getting off this road, because we don’t want to. Would any of us deny the newly windpiped Claudia Castillo the right to go dancing, or run in the park with her children? It’s quite likely that I’ll live to hundred – and while that may not be long enough to get me into the running for becoming posthuman (although it might) it’s longer than I was expecting and gives me a good frame of reference for my travels – what’s going to happen in the next sixty years.
An Optimist's Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer "What's Next?" by Mark Stevenson