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The Meaning of the 21st Century: A Vital…

The Meaning of the 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint for Ensuring Our Future

by James Martin

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Martin points out many interesting trends, and future scenarios. However, he is also overly optimistic (to say Pollyanna-ish would almost be an under-exaggeration). He nearly waxes poetic over how 'transhumans' will be created with physical and, more importantly, neural, nanobots -- while ignoring (until a blip at the very end) the serious, and all too real, 'nanobot-divide' that will ensue. The upshot seems to be that while the haves and the have-nots are currently severely divided (thousands of miles apart ,so to speak), in the future it seems clear that they will be thousands of light-years apart. This is not a good thing. The only force mitigating this result is the positive good-will of the haves to help and share, which Martin seems sincerely convinced of. As I say, Pollyanna-ish is too kind.
That said, I did really enjoy the parts of the book that didn't gall me. ( )
  abuannie | Apr 3, 2008 |
A pretty good combination of a doom warning (enumerating unsustainable world practices and trends, etc) à la Martin Rees's _Our Final Century_ and a golden-future paean à la Ray Kurzweil's _The Singularity is Near_. He conjectures that developments in such areas as transhumanism, near mid-century, could make the difference between the pessimistic and the optimistic scenarios. Somewhat marred by a much-too-benign view of religion and the nutty naming of Estonia as one of the world's poorest countries. (I think he must have meant to say Eritrea or Ethiopia.)
  fpagan | Dec 9, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 190391986X, Paperback)

A devastating analysis of the direction we are headed and a powerful prescription for change — from the Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of The Wired Society.

James Martin, one of the world’s most widely respected authorities on the impact of technology on society, argues that we are living at a turning point in human history. “We are travelling at breakneck speed into an era of extremes — extremes of wealth and poverty, extremes in technology, extremes in globalization. If we are to survive, we must learn how to manage them all.” In researching this volume, the author interviewed forty world experts in fields as diverse as information technology, medical ethics, climate change, and the economics of poverty. Martin contends that although we face huge challenges and conflicts, it is in the scientific breakthroughs of the new century that we will find new hope. In clear, penetrating and insightful prose, he addresses the key questions of our age and proposes an interconnected set of solutions to these problems.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:14 -0400)

"As Martin makes clear in The Meaning of the 21st Century, we can use our intelligence and technology to transform the world rather than destroy it. Drawing from his decades of experience as one of the world's most widely respected authorities on technology's impact on our lives, Martin offers astonishing - and surprisingly feasible - solutions for solving a wide array of problems, from repairing ocean ecosystems to lowering the global birth rate to coping with advances in nanotechnology."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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