Magazine article The Futurist

Innovating into a Whole New Species

Magazine article The Futurist

Innovating into a Whole New Species

Article excerpt

The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen--and What to Do by Daniel Berleant. Lifeboat Foundation. 2013. 364 pages. $13.79.

People living a hundred thousand years from now will still be human and will still look like us, but they will have evolved from us in some significant ways, according to Daniel Ber-leant, an information-science professor at the University of Arkansas and an advisory board member of the foresight non-profit Lifeboat Foundation. He explores the far-future implications of genetic change, along with social and technological change, and proffers advice to the world community on how to best begin managing the change processes in the here and now.

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His accounts of far-future life will strike readers as entertaining, yet Berleant derives each from present-day breakthroughs that offer promising precedents. Artificial intelligence research could lead to computers that read our minds, for instance. Schools everywhere could be replaced by electronic "ear-top guardian angels" that teach their wearers any and every classroom lesson that a human teacher might.

Berleant also foresees work becoming increasingly optional, as nanotechnology and automated manufacturing processes render all of life's necessities practically free; most work will take place outside the confines of physical offices. …

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