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Publisher's Summary

A provocative and inspiring look at the future of humanity and science from world-renowned scientist and best-selling author Martin Rees

Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Various outcomes - good and bad - are possible. Yet our approach to the future is characterized by short-term thinking, polarizing debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism. In this short, exhilarating book, renowned scientist and best-selling author Martin Rees argues that humanity’s prospects depend on our taking a very different approach to planning for tomorrow.

The future of humanity is bound to the future of science and hinges on how successfully we harness technological advances to address our challenges. If we are to use science to solve our problems while avoiding its dystopian risks, we must think rationally, globally, collectively, and optimistically about the long term. Advances in biotechnology, cybertechnology, robotics, and artificial intelligence - if pursued and applied wisely - could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on Earth, from climate change to nuclear war. At the same time, further advances in space science will allow humans to explore the solar system and beyond with robots and AI. But there is no “Plan B” for Earth - no viable alternative within reach if we do not care for our home planet.

Rich with fascinating insights into cutting-edge science and technology, this accessible book will captivate anyone who wants to understand the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond.

©2018 Martin Rees (P)2018 Princeton University Press

Critic Reviews

"It is hard not to be fascinated as [Rees] builds his Eeyorish case - which is laid out with the dispassionate air of a superintelligent alien anthropologist observing our species’ eccentricities from afar.... [A] lucid and engaging book." (Tom Whipple, The Times)

"Short in extent but wide in range: from redesigning genes, through the likelihood of human-induced climate change, to the possibility of encounters with alien intelligence in the Universe. [On the Future]’s overall theme is that Earth’s growing population will flourish only if science and technology are deployed with ‘wisdom.’" (Andrew Robinson, Science)

"Rees neatly packages his sprawling subject matter into a guidebook for the responsible use of science to build a healthy and equitable future for humanity." (Daniel Ackerman, Scientific American)

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