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The Future Factor: The Five Forces Transforming Our Lives and Shaping Human Destiny Hardcover – July 27, 2000
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
Shows how breakthroughs in science and technology will impact the economy...and future generations.Extremely informative and provocative; highly recommended. -- Sterns Management Review
Zey offers insights into major commercial trends and business investments for the future.For a risk-tolerating investor, Future Factor is provocative stuff. -- Andrew Allentuck, The Toronto Globe and Mail
From the Back Cover
"With the right breaks, Zey could be the next Alvin Toffler."Booklist
"The future is an act of will," says internationally renowned sociologist/futurist Michael Zey. In The Future Factor, you will learn how the human species is heeding this message, decisively acting to master and unleash several forces to create an exciting new world of infinite possibilities. Within the next few decades, Zey predicts we will:Live to 150 years or more (while physically not aging past 30) Vacation in space hotels Commute to work in Skycars Use robots and other "smart machines" to make our lives and jobs easier Meet for business and pleasure in virtual cyberspace
Before century's end, we will:Control the weather Manufacture products, drugs, and food literally "from nothing" Re-create on other planets Earth-like environments where we will live and prosper
Does our species have a larger purpose in the general scheme of things? You will be both surprised and inspired by Zey's vision of humankind's ultimate destiny.
The Future Factor offers an inspiring, optimistic vision of the human future. Sociologist Dr. Michael G. Zey shows how breathtaking innovations in fields such as biotechnology, computing, robotics, medicine, energy development, and space technology are catapulting global society into a new era of unlimited abundance and prosperity. Soon, the average life span will be doubled, people will travel around the globe at hypersonic speeds, and robots and other "smart machines" will increase productivity in the workplace and enhance the quality of our lives.
As the third millennium begins, such technological breakthroughs provide each of us unprecedented opportunities for growth, profitability, and organizational and personal reinvention. However, to stay ahead of the curve of change, and anticipate future developments before competitors and peers do, leaders, companies, and individuals must be equipped with the right information to make informed decisions.
In The Future Factor, Zey provides the sophisticated cutting-edge knowledge companies need to achieve competitive advantage and individuals require to make career and life choices. Zey masterfully paints a "big picture" of powerful new forces¿biogenesis, cybergenesis, species coalesence, and dominionization¿that are subtly impacting society and the global economy, and changing forever the way we live.
Among the subjects explored in this wide-ranging and always surprising book are:Cybergenesis and the role it will play in making humans smarter and healthier The universal communication network based on the Internet and virtual reality Biogenesis, gene therapy, and the complete decoding of the human genome "Next generation" robots and smart machines, and their impact on economic growth The colonization of space and the advent of "space tourism" Fusion-based energy and its effect on the environment and the global economy The global transportation grid the "skycar" and the worldwide superhighway Biotechnological breakthroughs in agriculture and food production
And much more!
Throughout The Future Factor Zey pushes the envelope, challenging our conventional notions about the human species, its future and its ultimate purpose. What emerges is a compelling and radically novel vision of humankind as a species destined to place its indelible stamp on our planet and reshape the cosmos itelf. The Future Factor exhorts the readers to embrace this bold vision of humankind's destiny, and shows them how to participate in its achievement.
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Top customer reviews
Zey is particularly concerned about maintaining and enhancing human individuality when confronted with possibly quite invasive new technologies. Hence his criticisms of scientifically plausible notions that we are going to merge into some Borg-like "global brain" and nonsense of that sort. He's similarly critical of thinkers in the Transhumanist/Extropian camp, like Hans Moravec and Ray Kurzweil, who foresee the time when humans become subordinated to advanced artificial intelligences in the coming decades, pointing out that such scenarios are the flip-side of radical environmentalist and Neo-Luddite proposals to subordinate humans to other species or to the mystical "Gaia." No, Zey's primary focus is on the long-term welfare of individual humans, including their radical life extension, as we "dominionize" more and more of the universe for our own purposes, not those of other entities.
I can't give this book the highest rating, however, because Zey mixes his generally good analysis up with some questionable, if not controversial, ideas from physics, such as non-Big Bang cosmologies, a version of the Anthropic Principle and his theory that quantum nonlocality will keep human minds basically thinking in the same way no matter how much we diverge across space-time. Still, for people wanting to know what Transhumanism is all about, this is a good place to start.
While I personally found myself swept up in Zey's vision of human "destiny", I can see why some consider his views controversial, maybe even unsettling. He claims that humanity has a purpose, almost a mission, to change and "perfect" the universe. This is strong stuff-not for the pessimists (or perhaps these are the people that need this book most.). Zey definitely challenges the reader to "get involved" with helping make this new vision a reality.
According to the blurb on the book jacket, Zey holds a Ph.D. in sociology, which might explain his concern over the social factors that will impact our future. Zey claims that various social groups are choosing sides in a growing debate in our society over the future of humankind. According to Dr. Zey, this "battle for the future" is between two camps, one which supports human growth, technology, and progress, the other an environmentalist/new age faction that feels that man must live in balance with nature. Supposedly, the outcome of this "battle for the future" will determine the fate of humankind and eventually the universe.
I like the idea that you can go to his website, "zey.com", for more info on his book, news about technology, robots, the Internet, and politics, as well as "critical links" to other sites. The site also gives you info on the author's upcoming media appearances and lectures.
I definitely recommend The Future Factor!
What drew me to this book in the first place was itsintriguing subtitle, "The Five Factors Transforming Our Lives andReshaping Human Destiny". Unlike other books in this area,"The Future Factor" delivers on its subtitle in everyway. Once I began reading the book, I simply could not put itdown-"The Future Factor" is simply one of the mostoptimistic books about the future of the human species I've everencountered.
Zey paints a convincing portrait of an excitingfuture--we will be living to 150 years or more, using robots andcomputers to better our lives, and travel at superfast speeds (evenperhaps approach the speed of light). According to Zey, we arealready using genetic engineering, cloning, and bionics to improve thephysical condition of the human being in a process he labelsbiogenesis. (Zey has invented a new vocabulary of sorts to describehis vision.) The author makes a strong case that this world of spacecolonies, skycars, and "smart machines" no longer exists only inscience fiction, but is rapidly unfolding during this decade.
What Ifound truly original, and inspiring, about this book is Dr. Zey'svision of human destiny. He says that he synthesized many differenttheories to develop this "Expansionary Theory of HumanDevelopment". According to this theory, the appearance of humanspecies was almost "mandated" by the universe itself. Why? If Iunderstand what Zey is saying, humanity's ultimate destiny is toreshape the universe, maybe even save it from what most cosmologistsinsist is a predetermined Big Bang-style ending. He says that overthe eons we will transform the universe into something he calls the"Humaniverse". Zey turns Darwin, the Big Bang theory, and mostof modern cosmology on its head to demonstrate the importance ofhumankind in the grand scheme of things.
This is the kind of bookthat over a period of months should gain a wide audience simplythrough word of mouth. (I've told everyone in my circle about thisbook.) I feel changed (for the better) by reading "The FutureFactor", and I want friends and family to experience theexhilaration I felt as I pored through the pages. I think that overtime the ideas Zey presents in this book will be debated in the mediaand elsewhere...
I rated this book a "5"-it's riveting,extremely well-written, and, to put it bluntly, has simply changed theway I think about the future and humanity's role in helping to createthat future.