Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers. Who Owns the Future? is his visionary reckoning with the most urgent economic and social trend of our age: the poisonous concentration of money and power in our digital networks.
Lanier has predicted how technology will transform our humanity for decades, and his insight has never been more urgently needed. He shows how Siren Servers, which exploit big data and the free sharing of information, led our economy into recession, imperiled personal privacy, and hollowed out the middle class. The networks that define our world—including social media, financial institutions, and intelligence agencies—now threaten to destroy it.
But there is an alternative. In this provocative, poetic, and deeply humane book, Lanier charts a path toward a brighter future: an information economy that rewards ordinary people for what they do and share on the web.
Although the threat of human-caused climate change is now widely recognized, politicians have failed to connect policy with the science, responding instead with ineffectual remedies dictated by special interests. Hansen shows why President Obama's solution, cap-and-trade, which Al Gore has signed on to, won't work; why we must phase out all coal, and why 350 ppm of carbon dioxide is a goal we must achieve if our children and grandchildren are to avoid global meltdown and the storms of the book's title. This urgent manifesto bucks conventional wisdom(including the Kyoto Protocol) and is sure to stir controversy, but Hansen-whose climate predictions have come to pass again and again, beginning in the 1980s when he first warned Congress about global warming-is the single most credible voice on the subject worldwide. Hansen paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture of what will happen in the near future, mere years and decades from now, if we follow the course we're on. But he is also an optimist, showing that there is still time to do what we need to save the planet.
Urgent, strong action is needed, and this book will be key in setting the agenda going forward to create a groundswell, a tipping point, to save humanity-and our grandchildren-from a dire fate more imminent than we had supposed.
In his newest book, Hedges argues that the conscious inertia of the left is destroying the progressive movement. Inaction and empty moral posturing leads not to change, but to an orgy of self-adulation and self-pity.
Hedges argues that the gravest danger we face as a nation is not from the far right, although the right may well inherit power. Instead, the threat comes from a bankrupt liberal class that has lost the will to fight and the moral courage to stand up for what it espouses.
“There is a temptation, when you are around George Friedman, to treat him like a Magic 8 Ball.” —The New York Times Magazine
With remarkable accuracy, George Friedman has forecasted coming trends in global politics, technology, population, and culture. In Flashpoints, Friedman focuses on Europe—the world’s cultural and power nexus for the past five hundred years . . . until now. Analyzing the most unstable, unexpected, and fascinating borderlands of Europe and Russia—and the fault lines that have existed for centuries and have been ground zero for multiple catastrophic wars—Friedman highlights, in an unprecedentedly personal way, the flashpoints that are smoldering once again.
The modern-day European Union was crafted in large part to minimize built-in geopolitical tensions that historically have torn it apart. As Friedman demonstrates, with a mix of rich history and cultural analysis, that design is failing. Flashpoints narrates a living history of Europe and explains, with great clarity, its most volatile regions: the turbulent and ever-shifting land dividing the West from Russia (a vast area that currently includes Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania); the ancient borderland between France and Germany; and the Mediterranean, which gave rise to Judaism and Christianity and became a center of Islamic life.
Through Friedman’s seamless narrative of townspeople and rivers and villages, a clear picture of regions and countries and history begins to emerge. Flashpoints is an engrossing analysis of modern-day Europe, its remarkable past, and the simmering fault lines that have awakened and will be pivotal in the near future. This is George Friedman’s most timely and, ultimately, riveting book.
From the Hardcover edition.
On close examination, the glowing promise of coal quickly turns to ash. Coal mining remains a deadly and environmentally destructive industry. Nearly forty percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year comes from coal-fired power plants. In the last two decades, air pollution from coal plants has killed more than half a million Americans. In this eye-opening call to action, Goodell explains the costs and consequences of America's addiction to coal and discusses how we can kick the habit.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
A VOICE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT TOP 25 FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
AN ESQUIRE MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Explaining why the whole is sometimes smarter than the sum of its parts, Johnson presents surprising examples of feedback, self-organization, and adaptive learning. How does a lively neighborhood evolve out of a disconnected group of shopkeepers, bartenders, and real estate developers? How does a media event take on a life of its own? How will new software programs create an intelligent World Wide Web?
In the coming years, the power of self-organization -- coupled with the connective technology of the Internet -- will usher in a revolution every bit as significant as the introduction of electricity. Provocative and engaging, Emergence puts you on the front lines of this exciting upheaval in science and thought.
Bringing readers on a lively and fascinating journey— from the wet moons of Saturn to the water-obsessed hotels of Las Vegas, where dolphins swim in the desert, and from a rice farm in the parched Australian outback to a high-tech IBM plant that makes an exotic breed of pure water found nowhere in nature—Fishman vividly shows that we’ve already left behind a century-long golden age when water was thoughtlessly abundant, free, and safe and entered a new era of high-stakes water. In 2008, Atlanta came within ninety days of running entirely out of clean water. California is in a desperate battle to hold off a water catastrophe. And in the last five years Australia nearly ran out of water—and had to scramble to reinvent the country’s entire water system. But as dramatic as the challenges are, the deeper truth Fishman reveals is that there is no good reason for us to be overtaken by a global water crisis. We have more than enough water. We just don’t think about it, or use it, smartly.
The Big Thirst brilliantly explores our strange and complex relationship to water. We delight in watching waves roll in from the ocean; we take great comfort from sliding into a hot bath; and we will pay a thousand times the price of tap water to drink our preferred brand of the bottled version. We love water—but at the moment, we don’t appreciate it or respect it. Just as we’ve begun to reimagine our relationship to food, a change that is driving the growth of the organic and local food movements, we must also rethink how we approach and use water. The good news is that we can. As Fishman shows, a host of advances are under way, from the simplicity of harvesting rainwater to the brilliant innovations devised by companies such as IBM, GE, and Royal Caribbean that are making impressive breakthroughs in water productivity. Knowing what to do is not the problem. Ultimately, the hardest part is changing our water consciousness.
As Charles Fishman writes, “Many civilizations have been crippled or destroyed by an inability to understand water or manage it. We have a huge advantage over the generations of people who have come before us, because we can understand water and we can use it smartly.” The Big Thirst will forever change the way we think about water, about our essential relationship to it, and about the creativity we can bring to ensuring that we’ll always have plenty of it.
"WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?"
For hundreds of years, philosophers, scientists, and mystics have studied the enigmatic writings of the great prognosticator Nostradamus for clues as to what our future holds. Drawing upon recent investigations undertaken by government agencies, major corporations, and noted works by world-renowned researchers, this book contains never-before revealed predictions for the years 2003-2025 -- including a haunting reference to the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers in one of Nostradamus's most famous quatrains.
Arranged in chronological year-by-year order of events, predictions range from the future of science and technology, to drastic changes in climate, population explosions, political upheaval, and social and cultural milestones for humanity. For all those who wish to know the foretold destiny of our world in the next quarter century, this is a must-have guide for the future.
Aging, cancer, stem cells, cloning - the themes of Merchants of Immortality are the stuff of today's headlines, yet they reflect some of humankind's most ancient hopes and fears. Stephen S. Hall delves behind the headlines to reveal just how close scientists are to fulfilling hopes of longer, healthier lives. Merchants of Immortality tackles profound social questions: How close are we to cloning humans? Can stem cell therapies tame illnesses such as heart attacks, Parkinson's disease, and diabetes? How long might our children live?
Hall's account of life-extension research is as dramatic as it is authoritative. The story follows a close-knit but fractious band of scientists and entrepreneurs who work in the shadowy area between profit and the public good. Hall tracks the science of aging back to its father figure, the iconoclastic Leonard Hayflick, who was the first to show that cells age and whose epic legal battles with the federal government cleared the path for today's biotech visionaries. Chief among those is the charismatic Michael West, a former creationist who founded the first biotech company devoted to aging research. West has won both ardent admirers and committed foes in his relentless quest to promote stem cells, therapeutic cloning, and other technologies of "practical immortality." Merchants of Immortality breathes scintillating life into the most momentous science of our day, assesses the political and bioethical controversies it has spawned, and explores its potentially dramatic effect on the length and quality of our lives.
Containing both cutting-edge insights and simple truths that provide a roadmap to the future of business -- and illustrated by case examples from such companies as Motorola, Honda, GM, Solectron, Intel, Silicon Graphics, Modicon, Flavors, NeXT, Japanese Railway, and Andover Controls -- The Technology Machine challenges readers to understand the spirit and core drivers of growth: technology, knowledge, and individual excellence.
By combining rigorous research with their extensive experience with technology advances that have changed industry, Moody and Morley are able to supply simple guidelines for future growth and detail their keen vision of future systems, leaders, and workers. They isolate the three bad business habits at the root of manufacturing problems today -- shortsightedness, restrictive structures, and unbalanced improvement fads -- show how to break them, and supply four infallible predictors of the types of breakthrough technologies that will come to dominate the world of the future. In that world, customers and suppliers are linked by real-time, online systems; business is driven by customer-designed, point-of-consumption replication of product; and a wide gap grows between "The Island of Excellence" organization of the future -- with its holistic approach, including two-year apprenticeships, uniforms, and morning exercises -- and "The Others," the non-elite, sweatshop-like, breakeven companies of the past. The book is eloquent, original, and essential reading for managers in every area of business and industry.
Incorporating the research and insight of the Swedish biologist Carl Calleman, the Clows demonstrate how recent scientific discoveries validate their theories. The existence of the nine dimensions of human consciousness can be proved by science.
The most controversial aspect of this book is their exploration of the Mayan prophecies. Counter to much of the prevailing opinion, the fulfillment of the prophecies will not result in the Apocalypse, but will usher in a new and expanded era of human consciousness.
They also assert that the beginning of this new era begins not on December 21, 2012—but on October 28, 2011—making the time of the great shift in consciousness just around the corner. Provocative and informative, the Clows have provided an explanation and roadmap for the future. It will be embraced by all who are interested in the evolution of human consciousness.
Like her Diet for a Small Planet classic, EcoMind is challenging, controversial and empowering.
In The Tyranny of Experts, renowned economist William Easterly examines our failing efforts to fight global poverty, and argues that the "expert approved" top-down approach to development has not only made little lasting progress, but has proven a convenient rationale for decades of human rights violations perpetrated by colonialists, postcolonial dictators, and US and UK foreign policymakers seeking autocratic allies. Demonstrating how our traditional antipoverty tactics have both trampled the freedom of the world's poor and suppressed a vital debate about alternative approaches to solving poverty, Easterly presents a devastating critique of the blighted record of authoritarian development. In this masterful work, Easterly reveals the fundamental errors inherent in our traditional approach and offers new principles for Western agencies and developing countries alike: principles that, because they are predicated on respect for the rights of poor people, have the power to end global poverty once and for all.
Featuring an inside look at how germ warfare has been waged throughout history and what form its future might take (and in whose hands), Germs reads like a gripping detective story told by fascinating key figures: American and Soviet medical specialists who once made germ weapons but now fight their spread, FBI agents who track Islamic radicals, the Iraqis who built Saddam Hussein's secret arsenal, spies who travel the world collecting lethal microbes, and scientists who see ominous developments on the horizon. With clear scientific explanations and harrowing insights, Germs is a masterfully written -- and timely -- work of investigative journalism.
A supplementary section updates the original book with major research from the decade 1974-1984. Abundant illustrations, diagrams and photographs enhance the text, and challenging practice exercises at the end of each chapter test the student's grasp of each subject.The combination of introductory and advanced material makes Introduction to Artificial Intelligence ideal for both the layman and the student of mathematics and computer science. For anyone interested in the nature of thought, it will inspire visions of what computer technology might produce tomorrow.
This question led Michael Chorost to explore profound new ideas triggered by lab research around the world, and the result is the book you now hold. Marvelous and momentous, World Wide Mind takes mind-to-mind communication out of the realm of science fiction and reveals how we are on the verge of a radical new understanding of human interaction.
Chorost himself has computers in his head that enable him to hear: two cochlear implants. Drawing on that experience, he proposes that our Paleolithic bodies and our Pentium chips could be physically merged, and he explores the technologies that could do it. He visits engineers building wearable computers that allow people to be online every waking moment, and scientists working on implanted chips that would let paralysis victims communicate. Entirely new neural interfaces are being developed that let computers read and alter neural activity in unprecedented detail.
But we all know how addictive the Internet is. Chorost explains the addiction: he details the biochemistry of what makes you hunger to touch your iPhone and check your email. He proposes how we could design a mind-to-mind technology that would let us reconnect with our bodies and enhance our relationships. With such technologies, we could achieve a collective consciousness—a World Wide Mind. And it would be humankind’s next evolutionary step.
With daring and sensitivity, Chorost writes about how he learned how to enhance his own relationships by attending workshops teaching the power of touch. He learned how to bring technology and communication together to find true love, and his story shows how we can master technology to make ourselves more human rather than less.
World Wide Mind offers a new understanding of how we communicate, what we need to connect fully with one another, and how our addiction to email and texting can be countered with technologies that put us—literally—in each other’s minds.
While Barrett investigated the cutting edge of technology crime, the U.S. government struggled to catch up. Britain, however, was a different story. In the late 1990s, the Queen herself had declared safe e-commerce a national security priority. Agents from the London-based National Hi-Tech Crime Unit sought out Barrett and enlisted his help. They also sent detective Andrew Crocker, a Welsh former boxer, to Russia to track down and prosecute the hackers—and to find out who they worked for.
Fatal System Error penetrates both the Russian cyber-mob and the American mafia as the two fight over the Internet’s massive spoils. It takes readers into the murky hacker underground, traveling the globe from San Francisco to Costa Rica, London, and Russia. Using unprecedented access to mob businesses and Russian officials, it shows how top criminals earned protection from the Russian government—and how Barrett Lyon and Andrew Crocker got closer to the titans of the underground economy than any previous outsider. Together, their stories explain why cybercrime is much worse than you thought—and why the Internet might not survive.
Right now, a group of scientists is working on ways to minimize the catastrophic impact of global warming. But they’re not designing hybrids or fuel cells or wind turbines. They’re trying to lower the temperature of the entire planet. And they’re doing it with huge contraptions that suck CO2 from the air, machines that brighten clouds and deflect sunlight away from the earth, even artificial volcanoes that spray heat-reflecting particles into the atmosphere.
This is the radical and controversial world of geoengineering, which only five years ago was considered to be “fringe.” But as Jeff Goodell points out, the economic crisis, combined with global political realities, is making these ideas look sane, even inspired.
Goodell himself started out as a skeptic, concerned about tinkering with the planet’s thermostat. We can’t even predict next week’s weather, so how are we going to change the temperature of whole regions? What if a wealthy entrepreneur shoots particles into the stratosphere on his own? Who gets blamed if something goes terribly wrong? And perhaps most disturbing, what about wars waged with climate control as the primary weapon? There are certainly risks, but Goodell believes the alternatives could be worse. In the end, he persuades us that geoengineering may just be our last best hope—a Plan B for the environment. His compelling tale of scientific hubris and technical daring is sure to jump-start the next big debate about the future of life on earth.
“Goodell explores with infectious curiosity and thoughtful narration this strange, promising, and untested suite of climate fixes.” —BusinessWeek
“A quick, enjoyable read through a complex, timely topic. And after you read it, you’ll never look at the sky or the ocean—or Earth, really—in quite the same way again.” —The Christian Science Monitor
How will we do it? Not by discovering a magic bullet to slay our energy problems, but through a slew of fascinating technologies, drawing on wind, water, and fire. Powering the Future is an objective yet optimistic tour through alternative fuel sources, set in a world where we’ve burned every last drop of petroleum and every last shovelful of coal.
The Predictable: Fossil fuels will run out. The present flow of crude oil out of the ground equals in one day the average flow of the Mississippi River past New Orleans in thirteen minutes. If you add the energy equivalents of gas and coal, it’s thirty-six minutes. At the present rate of consumption, we’ll be out of fossil fuels in two centuries’ time. We always choose the cheapest gas. From the nineteenth-century consolidation of the oil business to the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, the energy business has shown, time and again, how low prices dominate market share. Market forces—not green technology—will be the driver of energy innovation in the next 200 years. The laws of physics remain fixed. Energy will still be conserved, degrade entropically with use, and have to be disposed of as waste heat into outer space. How much energy a fuel can pack away in a given space is fixed by quantum mechanics—and if we want to keep flying jet planes, we will need carbon-based fuels. The Potential: Animal waste.If dried and burned, the world’s agricultural manure would supply about one-third as much energy as all the coal we presently consume. Trash. The United States disposes of 88 million tons of carbon in its trash per year. While the incineration of waste trash is not enough to contribute meaningfully to the global demand for energy, it will constrain fuel prices by providing a cheap supply of carbon. Solar energy.The power used to light all the cities around the world is only one-millionth of the total power of sunlight pouring down on earth’s daytime side. And the amount of hydropump storage required to store the world’s daily electrical surge is equal to only eight times the volume of Lake Mead. PRAISE FOR ROBERT B. LAUGHLIN “Perhaps the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Richard Feynman”—George Chapline, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory “Powerful but controversial.”— Financial Times “[Laughlin’s] company … is inspirational.” —New Scientist
In Tropic of Chaos, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe--the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet's midlatitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters. But he also reveals the unsettling presence of Western military forces and explains how they see an opportunity in the crisis to prepare for open-ended global counterinsurgency.
Parenti argues that this incipient "climate fascism"--a political hardening of wealthy states-- is bound to fail. The struggling states of the developing world cannot be allowed to collapse, as they will take other nations down as well. Instead, we must work to meet the challenge of climate-driven violence with a very different set of sustainable economic and development policies.
For centuries, people have dreamed of creating a machine that thinks like a human. Scientists have made progress: computers can now beat chess grandmasters and help prevent terrorist attacks. Yet we still await a machine that exhibits the rich complexity of human thought—one that doesn’t just crunch numbers, or take us to a relevant web page, but understands and communicates with us. With the creation of Watson, IBM’s Jeopardy!-playing computer, we are one step closer to that goal.
In Final Jeopardy, Stephen Baker traces the arc of Watson’s “life,” from its birth in the IBM labs to its big night on the podium. We meet Hollywood moguls and Jeopardy! masters, genius computer programmers and ambitious scientists, including Watson’s eccentric creator, David Ferrucci. We see how Watson’s breakthroughs and the future of artificial intelligence could transform medicine, law, marketing, and even science itself, as machines process huge amounts of data at lightning speed, answer our questions, and possibly come up with new hypotheses. As fast and fun as the game itself, Final Jeopardy shows how smart machines will fit into our world—and how they’ll disrupt it.
“The place to go if you’re really interested in this version of the quest for creating Artificial Intelligence.” —The Seattle Times
“Like Tracy Kidder’s Soul of a New Machine, Baker’s book finds us at the dawn of a singularity. It’s an excellent case study, and does good double duty as a Philip K. Dick scenario, too.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Like a cross between Born Yesterday and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Baker’s narrative is both . . . an entertaining romp through the field of artificial intelligence—and a sobering glimpse of things to come.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Rodney A. Brooks, director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory believes we are. In this lucid and accessible book, Brooks vividly depicts the history of robots and explores the ever-changing relationships between humans and their technological brethren, speculating on the growing role that robots will play in our existence. Knowing the moral battle likely to ensue, he posits a clear philosophical argument as to why we should not fear that change. What results is a fascinating book that offers a deeper understanding of who we are and how we can control what we will become.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Bruce Berkowitz's explanation of how information war revolutionized combat and what it means for our soldiers could not be better timed. As Western forces wage war against terrorists and their supporters, in actions large and small, on several continents, The New Face of War explains how they fight and how they will win or lose. There are four key dynamics to the new warfare: asymmetric threats, in which even the strongest armies may suffer from at least one Achilles' heel; information-technology competition, in which advantages in computers and communications are crucial; the race of decision cycles, in which the first opponent to process and react to information effectively is almost certain to win; and network organization, in which fluid arrays of combat forces can spontaneously organize in multiple ways to fight any given opponent at any time.
America's use of networked, elite ground forces, in combination with precision-guided bombing from manned and unmanned flyers, turned Afghanistan from a Soviet graveyard into a lopsided field of American victory. Yet we are not invulnerable, and the same technology that we used in Kuwait in 1991 is now available to anyone with a credit card and access to the Internet. Al Qaeda is adept in the new model of war, and has searched long and hard for weaknesses in our defenses. Will we be able to stay ahead of its thinking? In Iraq, Saddam's army is in no position to defeat its enemies -- but could it defend Baghdad? As the world anxiously considers these and other questions of modern war, Bruce Berkowitz offers many answers and a framework for understanding combat that will never again resemble the days of massive marches on fortress-like positions.
The New Face of War is a crucial guidebook for reading the headlines from across our troubled planet.
Brimming with insight and written with charm and self-deprecating humor, Rebuilt unveils, in personal terms, the astounding possibilities of a new technological age.
Less than 1 percent of the world’s water is fresh and potable—and no more will ever be available. Thanks to pollution, global warming, and population growth, water access is poised to become today’s most explosive global issue. This book, based on the film Last Call at the Oasis by Academy Award®–winning director Jessica Yu, offers insights into the coming water crisis from visionary scientists, policymakers, activists, and environmentalists, including:
ROBERT MORAN on how oil and mineral development pollute and divert water supplies—often beyond public scrutinyPETER H. GLEICK on discovering the “soft path” to global water securityROBERT GLENNON on how the power of markets can help protect the world’s waterLYNN HENNING on how a family farmer became a passionate “water activist”ALEX PRUD’HOMME on how the water crisis affects us allGARY WHITE on how innovative social and economic strategies can make clean water available even for the world’s poorest peopleHADLEY ARNOLD AND PETER ARNOLD on how arid regions like America’s Southwest can wisely husband water supplies for cities and farmers alikeROBYN BEAVERS on how today’s smartest businesses are making sustainable water management a competitive advantageZEM JOAQUIN on nine “ecofabulous” ways of saving water at home—and doing it with styleBILL MCDONOUGH on how smart design can preserve water’s “Endless Resourcefulness” for generations to come
No resource on earth is more precious—or more endangered—than water. Last Call at the Oasis is a powerful tool for learning about the water challenges we face as well as the remarkable solutions available to us—if we have the will to use them.
Scholars, journalists, and publishers have turned their brains inside out in the effort to predict what lies ahead, but who better to comment on the future of the book than those who are driven to write them?
In The Late American Novel, Jeff Martin and C. Max Magee gather some of today’s finest writers to consider the sea change that is upon them. Lauren Groff imagines an array of fantastical futures for writers, from poets with groupies to novelists as vending machines. Rivka Galchen writes about the figurative and literal death of paper. Joe Meno expounds upon the idea of a book as a place set permanently aside for the imagination, regardless of format. These and other original essays by Reif Larsen, Benjamin Kunkel, Victoria Patterson, and many more provide a timely and much-needed commentary on this compelling cultural crossroad.
Author Sarah Miller Caldicott, a great-grandniece of Edison and expert in his methods, sets out to answer just that. Inventing the Future is a well-researched, intriguing look at how Edison would innovate today using new technology, and how modern day thinkers can adapt his proven innovation methods to their advantage. It also includes 7 steps anyone can take to start thinking like an innovator, and offers a hands-on view of how creativity and risk-taking come together to design powerful concepts that create new markets.
Learn the strategies needed to remove innovation barriers, begin driving the breakthroughs of the future, and change the way you do business. Stimulate your ability to imagine what's possible.
In No Turning Back, naturalist Richard Ellis conducts a masterful and engrossing investigation of one of the world’s most harrowing inevitabilities: extinction. Taking a concentrated look at a variety of species—from those that went out with a bang upon the impact of an Everest-sized asteroid to those that gradually disappeared after years of human overhunting—Ellis discusses the five great mass extinctions in history, and how extinction shapes the evolutionary process. He also outlines the steps we can take to ensure that today’s endangered species can be pulled back from the brink. Richly illustrated with Ellis’s stunning, hand-drawn artwork, No Turning Back is an invaluable read for anyone seeking to understand the past, present, and future of life on our planet.