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The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-first Century Paperback – May 14, 2002
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Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Just to calibrate the thought again. If you want to learn the views of some pretty good scientists on the larger backdrop of their research, this is a good book to read. However, other than the fact that they are working on what they are working on, there is no convincing argument as to why the world will turn out the way they envision. Not to mention, good scientists tend to be spectacularly wrong on long term visions (remember Lord Kelvin's claim about the end of chemistry a century ago).
I still look forward enthusiastically to a book with this same title, but a different cast of contributors.
It's an exciting book. Almost every piece is enlightening, stimulating, and remarkably well written. I read a lot of books and articles about science, but still came across dozens of new ideas, convincing arguments and sparkling insights. Here are a few items that got me thinking:
Physicist Lee Smolin points out that subtle changes in light waves as they cross space may provide the first test of quantum theories of gravity--we won't need to build accelerators the size of the solar system to gain this information.
Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller speculates that gene activation chips will soon allow researchers to map the changes in our brains caused by "every state of mind lasting more than a few hours." The result will be a far richer understanding of human consciousness.
Mathematician Steven Strogatz expects that new methods for creating complex, evolving systems on computers will mean that we humans will "end up as bystanders, unable to follow along with the machines we've built, flabbergasted by their startling conclusions."
Richard Dawkins predicts that by 2050 it will cost just a few hundred dollars to sequence one's own personal genome, computers will be able to simulate an organism's entire development from its genetic code, and scientists may even be able to reconstruct extinct animals a la Jurassic Park.
Computer scientist Rodney Brooks thinks wars may be fought over genetic engineering and artificial enhancements that have the potential to turn humans into "manipulable artifacts.Read more ›
Lee Smolin - We will have a more detailed history of the universe which will constrain current theories about INFLATION...we may or may not have observed dark matter and dark energy. String Theory (its only mention in this book) will be ruled in or out by observations within a few years.
Ian Stewart - The concept of "proof" in mathematics will come under scrutiny and will survive. The use of computers in mathematical proofs will be ingrained. We will have a rigorous mathematical theory of emergent phenomenon and the high level dynamics of complex relationships.
Martin Rees - We will know how life began on earth.
Allison Gopnik - The emergence of the disciplines of philosophy of science, AI, statistics and developmental psychology will lead to a full-fledged theory of how we learn.
Paul Bloom - The fact that evolutionary considerations exist as a source of evidence in the study of psychology will no longer be questioned.Read more ›
The first part asks basic questions to which we still have no answer - How did life start? What is life? Do aliens exist? What is the nature of gravity and the universe? How will manipulation of genes, nanotechnology and quantum mechanics affect us? These and other questions such as morality, death, artificial intelligence and life extension are also discussed in a series of brilliant essays by a wide range of (for want of a better word) "experts". The last half of the book looks at the practical side - education, politics, entertainment, happiness, love, medicine. the biggest change that a book written fifty years ago and this book is the emphasis upon biology - the manipulation of our bodies, our genes, the emerging synthesis of humans and machine.
Perhaps one of the most startling essays was THE MERGER OF FLESH AND MACHINES by Rodney Brooks who heads the MIT artificial intelligence library.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another underwhelming entry from Edge and John Brockman (editor). These books are much less stimulating than they should be, and the included thinkers' perspective of reality shows... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Abner Rosenweig
I already owned a copy of this book and found it absorbing, so much so that I ordered additional copies for friends. I am strongly considering ordering more.Published on February 20, 2014 by Edgar Wright
The 25 essays (about 5-10 pages each) contained in this book are all from leading academic experts in their field. Hence they are very authoritative. Read morePublished on November 19, 2011 by Yoda
I am sure this book was not easy to put together - brought together are some
excellent scientists, most of whom were still very active in their fields in 2000,
and many... Read more
This book has a lot of intelligent insights, from different authors. It isn't written in a boring or too scientifically acute way, and almost everything should be understandable by... Read morePublished on November 26, 2009 by Stephane Wenric
I found this book and its various essays to be very interesting and insightful into future possibilities. Physical book quality is normal. Read morePublished on October 25, 2009 by Arvin
A very interesting read and outlook in terms of the scientific approach to the future.Published on September 29, 2009 by M. Ngo
This book is a great look into where some of our leading minds think we may be heading. If nothing else it will pique your curiosity and imagination... Read morePublished on September 13, 2009 by J. Sweeney
This book is definitely interesting and well written, and puts forth generally plausible ideas from many bright, well respected people. Read morePublished on November 18, 2007 by Bookophile