A historian argues that the leveling of inequality has always entailed war or disaster. A top scientist looks at how robots and biotech will shape the future.
Rees explores the opportunities and risks that cutting-edge science presents.
We fret unduly about small risks -- air crashes, carcinogens in food, low radiation doses, etc. But we're in denial about some newly emergent threats, which may seem improbable but whose consequences could be globally devastating. Some of these are environmental, others are the potential downsides of novel technologies. We mustn't forget an important maxim: the unfamiliar is not the same as the improbable.
We know that the world is warming, but how much and where and why is still uncertain. Nevertheless, if you care about those who will live into the 22nd century and beyond, then it's necessary to pay an insurance premium now to protect future generations against worst-case climate scenarios.
The world has entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene, and over the last few generations humanity has witnessed revolutionary changes in our biosphere. But what about the next few generations? What will happen for human life on Earth?