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This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future Paperback – December 22, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (December 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061899674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061899676
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Part of a series stemming from his online science journal Edge (www.edge.com), including What Have You Changed Your Mind About? and What Is Your Dangerous Idea?, author and editor Brockman presents 136 answers to the question, "What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?" Milan architect Stefano Boeri responds with a single sentence: "Discovering that someone from the future has already come to visit us." Most others take the question more seriously; J. Craig Venter believes his laboratory will use "digitized genetic information" to direct organisms in creating biofuels and recycling carbon dioxide. Like biofuels, several topics are recurrent: both Robert Shapiro and Douglas Rushikoff consider discovering a "Separate Origin for Life," a terrestrial unicellular organism that doesn't belong to our tree of life; Leo M. Chalupa and Alison Gopnik both consider the possibility resetting the adult brain's plasticity-its capacity for learning-to childhood levels. Futurologist Juan Enriquez believes that reengineering body parts and the brain will lead to "human speciation" unseen for hundreds of thousands of years, while controversial atheist Richard Dawkins suggests that reverse-engineering evolution could create a highly illuminating "continuum between every species and every other." Full of ideas wild (neurocosmetics, "resizing ourselves," "intuiting in six dimensions") and more close-to-home ("Basketball and Science Camps," solar technology"), this volume offers dozens of ingenious ways to think about progress.

From Booklist

Brockman asked about 130 scientists and several artists the following question: What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see? Their two- to three-page prognostications bid farewell to the present while disagreeing on the mode of change. Several respondents espy catastrophes such as nuclear war or global warming, but the majority tell readers to expect a fundamental alteration in the human species. This group predicts that a stupendous expansion in computational capacity allied to genomic engineering will transform the human body, brain included, such that one writer suggests the end of Homo sapiens and its succession by Homo evolutis. Pending that apocalyptic development, other scientists nevertheless agree that burgeoning data processing speeds presage a revolution. Some find it in the transmission of knowledge that will profoundly affect education; others, in lifestyle changes such as a preference for robots as pets. Whether their predictions are alarming or reassuring, most names in this volume will be recognized by the futurology audience, who will reach for Brockman’s book on sight. --Gilbert Taylor

Customer Reviews

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I immediately bought another book of this series when I finished this one.
Terrence C. Watson
I must admit that it has taken me longer than I had expected to read This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future.
Bob Magnant
That gives room in the book to talk about a wide variety of interesting topics.
GAC

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By R. Neil Scott VINE VOICE on November 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
That's the question posed to more than 100 of the most influential thinkers of the world -- and, the answers are truly fascinating!

Written in layman language, the essays are brief and to-the-point. And, while familiar with, and having read a great deal in the areas of Future Studies and Competitor Intelligence, I don't think I've ever read anything quite like this book. Usually such works are full of gobbly-gook language or are too scholarly and arcane to be "easy-reading." This book is different as the narrative is similar to what one would probably hear if the reader met any of these individuals on a passenger jet and engaged them in casual conversation.

Here's a sampling:

Scott Sampson, a geologist and geophysicist, suggests that we'll incorporate our better understanding of evolutionary design and theory into science and technology applications. For example, in this field, called biomimicry, scientists will examine aspects of termite mounds to design of passive-cooled buildings; to use the present evolutionary design of spider silk to create strong, flexible fibers of our own, etc.

Rupert Sheldrake, who -- at Cambridge University -- explores unexplained human and animal abilities, discusses the future of materialism in the context of human consciousness via molecular biology and physiological psychology.

Paul Davies, a physicist at Arizona State who specializes in Astrobiology, considers the "fascinating question of whether there might be more than one form of life inhabiting the terrestrial biosphere" of Earth at the microbial level. He suggests: "I believe there is a strong likelihood that Earth possesses a shadow biosphere of alternative microbial life representing the evolutionary products of a second genesis.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By GAC on February 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice read that can be read in no particular order since it is composed of very short essays. If you're like me and have a short attention span with books but are interested in the ideas and opinons of others who are experts in their fields, then this is the book for you. All of the opinions are no more than a few pages each. That gives room in the book to talk about a wide variety of interesting topics.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By W. Saumweber on December 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in what some of our foremost scientists and researchers are thinking, and how they see our future, buy this book. The editor(s) have done a marvelous job putting this selection of short essays together enabling an interested layperson to get on overview of the widely varying approaches to understanding what our future holds - and what makes us and our world "tick." These essays present a balanced collection of optimistic and pessimistic voices. Critical inspiration for the rest of us. A must read!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James D. Michels on April 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an absolute treasure, not as a work of literature, but as an introduction to great minds.

The book is a collection of very diverse short essays of varying quality and substance. Most of them I would put into these categories. (strictly my perspective of course)
- Valuable short summaries of technology with expected advances
- Insider ideas of the practical impact of advances in science
- Insightful synthesis of the intersection of two or more areas
- Philosophical musings
- Ridiculous academic liberal blather about nothing
- Pipe Dreams and silliness

Probably at least half of the book is great material and the other part ranges from mediocre to pure garbage. I still give the book 4 stars because there is substantial value in it.

The value that I find is in supplementing my reading list for the next year+. Each of the essays gives us a peek into the work and the writing of one person, many of whom I had never heard of before. I have over a dozen names of people that I consider worth researching for future reading.

The topics include alien life, black holes, designer children, robotics, mind control, space travel, life extension and much, much more. It is hard to think of a good topic that was not included.

In one of the worst essays of the book, a moron who will not be named, gushes on and on about the possibility of dumping some yet to be developed chemical into all the worlds waters in order to chemically neuter humans so that they are incapable of having a mean or violent thought. And if the chemical cannot be developed, implanting electronics in the brains of every human on the planet that does the same thing.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jackal on March 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Some of the entries are great and others are not impressive at all. All of the entries have previously been published on the author's website. So I don't understand why he doesn't make a stronger selection for the book. I don't mind paying (only $6) for the book, but I don't like having to wade through to find nuggets. I can't really recommend this book. Still given the low price you might find it moderately interesting.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Magnant on December 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I must admit that it has taken me longer than I had expected to read This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future. My initial curiosity dropped off quickly because, let's face it, a writer really can't build up much steam in two or three pages. But since I was faced with more than a hundred individuals who were vying for my attention, the odds were pretty good that eventually I would find something that would capture my imagination. The truth is that I was slowly overwhelmed by this collaboration of short essays from 125 of today's leading thinkers, who offered me their thoughts and ideas `that will change the future' for everyone.

It was Juan Enriquez who snuck up on me with Homo Evolutis [p.174] and drove the point home as he described how we have taken control of our own evolution, both mentally and physically, for the first time in human history! Next Laurence Smith [p.191] impressed me when he addressed disappearing ice sheets and other occurring phenomena, Antarctica and other Sleeping Giants, that are threatening our environment and the very future of this world that we have come to know. Stephen Schneider [p.195] reinforced this while he encouraged Conserving the Climate as William Calvin [p.198] foretold of the economic impact of climate change.

Eric Drexler [p.200] follows these warnings up with an innovative molecular manufacturing solution that is designed to attack the related carbon emissions problem head on. Then Robert Provine's [p387] paragraphs raise the novel thought that we may not be perceiving the ongoing changes while Nicholas Humphry [p.
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