- Hardcover: 270 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 17, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159102613X
- ISBN-13: 978-1591026136
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,211,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Coming Convergence: Surprising Ways Diverse Technologies Interact to Shape Our World and Change the Future
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From Publishers Weekly
It's far easier to describe the past than to predict the future: this principle is unwittingly demonstrated by Schmidt, a physicist and longtime science fiction editor (Analog: Science Fiction and Fact). His book is best when discussing how past technologies have come together, usually in unforeseen ways, to enable social change. Joseph-Marie Jacquard's late–18th-century work on automatic looms controlled by punch cards, for example, can be traced forward to the development of early computers. Schmidt is glib but far less informative when projecting where the confluence of current technologies is likely to take us. He touches on nanotechnology and improvements in computing power, among other fields, and offers projections about how medicine, communication and interpersonal relationships are apt to change, but he largely does so superficially and perhaps overly optimistically: "In the kind of world we can aspire to, everybody will have enough and nobody will have to work very hard to get it." Though he acknowledges that some convergences can be harmful, he dismisses this downside with equal ease, concluding simply that we need to be vigilant about the choices we make. Illus. (Apr.)
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"No one can show the opportunities and dangers of the future better than Stan Schmidt. The Coming Convergence should be read - and enjoyed - by anyone who wants to understand what tomorrow will be like." -- Ben Bova, author of The Grand Tour series of novels
"People often say life is 'just one thing after another.' But it isn't. It's a whole lot of things after a whole lot of other things. Not change, but a tapestry of change. Stan Schmidt has taken that idea and projected it into the future, exploring not only the effects of this or that innovation, but the effects of all of them in concert. An exciting - and cautionary - vision." -- Michael F. Flynn, author of Eifelheim and The January Dancer
"Stanley Schmidt brings a broad intelligence and crisp writing style to this lucid and necessary book. His demonstration and analysis of how diverse technological and social forces come together in unexpected ways helps explain how we got to this perilous stage in human history, and what dangers and wonders we might expect just beyond the near horizon." -- Joe Haldeman, MIT professor and author of The Forever War, Forever Peace and The Accidental Time Machine
"[W]arns us of the problems inherent in the runaway growth of technology, but also describes the almost unimaginable benefits that can occur when different technologies come together in a happy marriage. The overall effect is uplifting and inspiring; if you think the world has changed a lot in the past twenty years, as someone once said 'you ain't seen nothin' yet'." -- John Gribbin, University of Sussex, and author of The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors
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Top customer reviews
Written for the lay reader, one needs no background in science at all to understand every word of this book. It includes chapters that survey some cutting-edge technologies, indicating both how these resulted from diverse predecessors, and how they may yet evolve. Things like MRI, CT scans, and such are explained in simple terms. The latter part begins to wrestle with a strategy for managing these changes. The stakes could not be higher.