What Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock was to the 20th century, Our Molecular Future will be to the 21st century.
What will happen to our jobs, health care, and investments when the molecular revolution hits? How might artificial intelligence transform our lives? How can molecular technologies help us cope with climate changes, earthquakes, and other extreme natural threats? Our Molecular Future explores some intriguing possibilities that answer these questions and many others. Douglas Mulhall describes the exponential changes that are about to be wrought by the nanotechnology and robotic revolutions, which promise to reduce the scale of computing to the nanometerùa billionth of a meterùwhile increasing computing power to almost unimaginable levels.
The resulting convergence of genetics, robotics, and artificial intelligence may give us hitherto undreamed-of capacities to transform our environment and ourselves. In the not-so-distant future, our world may include machines that scour our arteries to prevent heart disease, cars and clothes that change color at our whim, exotic products built in our own desktop factories, and enhancements to our personal financial security despite greatly accelerated obsolescence.
But while technology is making these fantastic leaps, we may also encounter surprises that throw us into disarray: climate changes, earthquakes, or even a seemingly improbable asteroid collision. These extremes are not the nightmare scenarios of sensationalists, Mulhall stresses, nor are many of them human induced. Instead, they may be part of nature’s cycleùrecurring more often than we’ve thought possible.
The good news is that this convergence of catastrophe and technological transformation may work to our advantage. If we’re smart, according to Mulhall, we can use molecular machines to protect ourselves from nature’s worst extremes, and harness their potential benefits to usher in an economic renaissance.
This visionary link between future technology and past disasters is a valuable guide for every one of us who wants to be prepared for the twenty-first century.