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Bryan Appleyard
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James Martin

The Meaning of the 21st Century

What does the 21st century have in store for us. Well in The Meaning of the 21st Century James Martin argues that it may be good or bad - it depends on our actions over the next few years - but what we certainly won't get is more of the same.

On the one hand there are revolutionary new technologies becoming available such as nanotechnology, genetic modification and artificial intelligence. These will give those people who have access to them extraordinary possibilities, for instance the chance to live to be 120 and maybe much more. There is also talk of the acceleration of technology to such a degree that we reach the Singularity, after which our lifes will be completely different to what has gone before.

On the other hand, many people on our planet are starving. Although we talk about 'developing' nations, Martin points out that for many countries, 'failed' nation is a better term - their citizens have little hope of improvement, and with the growing environmental problems such as global warming, things are likely to get worse.

The interplay of these two forces will shape the coming century, and Martin is clearly trying to make sure that we get the optimistic view. While the book is not particularly deep in any one area, it does bring together a wide range of topics relevant to life in the coming decades. I would recommend it to everyone, as it is the sort of book that motivates the reader to play an part in the shaping of our common future. info
Paperback 512 pages  
ISBN: 1594482594
Salesrank: 2177929
Published: 2007 Riverhead Trade
Marketplace:New from $39.99:Used from $2.46
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Paperback 544 pages  
ISBN: 190391986X
Salesrank: 238119
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2007 Eden Project Books
Amazon price £9.99
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Paperback 480 pages  
ISBN: 1594482594
Salesrank: 1315016
Weight:0.95 lbs
Published: 2007 Riverhead (TRD)
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 84.48:Used from CDN$ 3.67
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Product Description
According to James Martin-known as "the guru of the Information Age"-humanity is at a crucial turning point. If we succeed in finding ways to support massive gains in population combined with dizzying technological progress, we have a magnificent future ahead of us. If we fail, we may well be headed for a new Dark Ages.

In this provocative and prophetic book, Martin argues that we can use our intelligence and technology to transform the world rather than destroy it. Drawing on decades of experience as one of the world's most widely respected authorities on technology's impact on our lives, Martin outlines specific, achievable solutions for solving a wide array of problems, from repairing ocean ecosystems to lowering the birthrate to coping with advances in nanotechnology.