THE END OF THE BEGINNING

The End of the Beginning: Life, Society and Economy on the Brink of the Singularity is the sixth release of Humanity+ Press and has been released as a good old fashioned paperback book available for purchase via Amazon.com.

Chapters & ConversationsThe End of the Beginning- Life Society and Economy on the Brink of the Singularity

The process of creating this book began by collecting formal essays, some of which are quite general and abstract, others of which focus on particular technological innovations. As we read the essays, we found that we had questions for the authors, some of which led to very interesting email exchanges. We decided to edit some of these email discussions into Question and Answer Dialogues. These dialogues follow the chapters, which are organized into the following sections.

Part One: Where are we going? When will we get there?

Following the introduction you are now reading, the first section of the book presents three chapters giving broad (speculative, yet rationally considered) overviews of the potential developments during the next century.

Chapter One: Predicting the Age of Post-Human Intelligences by Ted Goertzel and Ben Goertzel.

Scientific futurism has had some significant successes as well as some well-known bloopers. In this chapter, five traditions are examined for insight into the coming of the age of post-human intelligence: (1) environmental futurism, (2) Kondratiev long-wave analysis, (3) generational cycle analysis, (4) geopolitical futurism and (5) the study of technological revolutions. Three of these traditions offer similar predictions leading us to predict a period of intense technological innovation in the 2040’s and another in the 2100’s. If these theories are correct, Artificial General Intelligence and The Singularity are likely to come in one of these periods, depending on the success of engineering models currently being completed and on the availability of funding to implement them.

The Chapter is followed by a Dialogue between Weaver (David Weinbaum), Ted Goertzel, Ben Goertzel and Viktoras Veitas follows the chapter.

Chapter Two: A Tale of Two Transitions by Robin Hanson

This chapter compares and contrasts two quite different scenarios for a future transition to a world dominated by machine intelligence. One scenario is based on continuing on our current path of accumulating better software, while the other scenario is based on the future arrival of an ability to fully emulate human brains. The first scenario is gradual and anticipated. In it, society has plenty of warnings about forthcoming changes, and time to adapt to those changes. The second scenario, in contrast, is more sudden, and potentially disruptive.

Chapter Three: Longer Lives on the Brink of Global Population Contraction: A Report from 2040 by Max More.

Written from the perspective of an analyst in 2040, this essay explains why the world’s population is shrinking due to birth rates declining more than many experts had predicted. The population would have shrunk even more if the average life span had not increased. Lower birth rates have meant that less expenditure is needed for education, and a declining population places less stress on the environment. But economic growth is slower with a declining population, especially if the proportion of retired people increases. Fortunately, the health of elderly people has improved, and older people continue to be economically active later in life. Life extension research is now valued as one means of slowing the rate of population decline.

Part Two: The Future of the Human Body

Our focus here is on human futures in the period leading up to the Singularity – and in this context, the future of the human body is a central concern. The two chapters in this section deal with the enhancement and improvement of the human body’s capabilities and the extension of the human body’s lifespan – two obviously critical issues that the biotechnology community is currently working very hard to address.

Chapter Four: Implementing Post-Human Intelligence in Human Bodies by John Hewitt.

John Hewitt’s chapter explores the future of medical implants for conquering disease and enhancing functionality. Developments he foresees in the relatively near term are intelligent, adaptive implants that control obesity, anorexia, blood sugar, seizure, mood or anxiety; and implants that send messages to the user when there is a problem or they need attention. Imagine getting an SMS, or a silent “in the head” verbal message, from your liver when it’s feeling a bit of strain, or from your limbic system when it notices you in the early stages of an outburst of bad temper.

The question of openness versus commercial, proprietary closed-ness is considered, and it is conjectured implant technology will develop more quickly if its development proceeds in the open, so that the future of peoples’ bodies lies more directly in their own hands. Open source implant technology could viably lead to a large, vibrant community of biohackers and grinders, seeking to go beyond implants that correct single problems, and (self-) experimenting with the use of multiple interacting implants achieving synergetic effects.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue between John Hewitt and Ben Goertzel.

Chapter Five: The Singularity and the Methuselarity: Similarities and Differences by Aubrey de Grey.

Biogerontology pioneer Aubrey de Grey’s chapter reviews his concept of the Methuselarity, a sister to the Singularity hypothesis. De Grey has done more than anyone else to advocate the scientific plausibility of conquering aging and extending the lifespan of the human body indefinitely. A decade ago the quest for radical longevity was an eccentric message with little mainstream acceptance; today in 2014, with Google’s Calico project and Craig Venter’s Human Longevity Incorporated initiative, it is increasingly broadly accepted as a reasonable thing to think about and work on. This shift is largely due to Aubrey’s tireless campaigning, his careful articulation of the known science regarding the biology of aging, and his creative thinking regarding potential solutions to the various aspects of the aging problem.

De Grey’s Methuselarity is, simply, the point in time at which: If you are alive at that point, then with reasonable odds, successive improvements in life extension technology will allow you to remain alive for an extremely long time (say, thousands of years at least). As he puts it, “Aging, being a composite of innumerable types of molecular and cellular decay, will be defeated incrementally. I have for some time predicted that this succession of advances will feature a threshold … the “Methuselarity,” following which there will actually be a progressive decline in the rate of improvement in our anti-aging technology that is required to prevent a rise in our risk of death from age-related causes as we become chronologically older.”

The feedback between the Methuselarity and the Singularity may be considerable, of course. The same technologies that enable life extension to the point of Methuselarity may enable other Singularity-relevant technological breakthroughs. And the fact of deferring aging should increase the intellectual firepower of humanity (by avoiding the degradation of scientists’ minds as they age), thus accelerating progress toward the Singularity.

The Chapter is followed by a Dialogue between Aubrey de Grey, Ted Goertzel and Ben Goertzel.

Part Three: The Rollout and Impact of Intelligent Robots

Chapter Six: Robotics and AI: Impacts Felt on Every Aspect of our Future World by Daryl Nazareth.

Daryl Nazareth lays out a plausible timeline for the roll-out of increasingly capable and intelligent robots into society. He foresees advances in robots as being largely driven by advances in AI, along of course with ongoing hardware progress. As he envisions it, from 2015 to 2020, most developments will be narrowly focused, but the period from 2020 to 2025 is likely to be a phase of much more rapid development, in which robots increasingly draw on AGI technologies. Robots will take over more jobs now held by humans. From 2025 to 2030 will be what Nazareth envisions as the “early Singularity” period, a conjecture that accords closely with Ray Kurzweil’s predictions. By that time robots will be generalists, not tools limited to specific tasks. This fits with Kurzweil’s hypothesis that by 2028-29, machine intelligence will be equal to human genius.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue between Daryl Nazareth and Ben Goertzel.

Chapter Seven: Robotics, AI, the Luddite Fallacy, and the Future of the Job Market by Wayne Radinsky.

Wayne Radinsky enlarges further on the likely socioeconomic consequences of this kind of robotics development timeline. In short he argues that once robots fueled with powerful AI are a major force, they will end up radically diminishing the need for human labor.

As Radinsky notes, this argument has been made for quite some time. Repeatedly it has been conjectured that automation will lead to rampant human unemployment, and this has proved wrong. Observing the realities of socioeconomic adaptation to new automation technologies, most economists have come to reject “Luddite” arguments that technological automation will cause unemployment, arguing that the net impact of technological innovation is positive and that as robots and other machines take over particular human jobs, people will just shift to other kinds of work. The jobs that open up are often better paying and more fulfilling, requiring more education.

But Radinsky’s key point is that AI may change all this. As we approach the singularity, machines will be increasingly used to replace jobs that require high levels of education and considerable skill. Therefore, “neo-Luddite” concerns may be more valid than they were in the past. Several scenarios can be considered: (1) the post-scarcity economy, (2) the super-education society; (3) the super-entrepreneurship society, (4) the society of shareholders; (5) the guaranteed minimum income society, (6) merging with the machines, (7) job market contraction. The most likely outcome, in Radinsky’s view, is a Robot Takeover of the society, in some form. Various incarnations that such a “takeover” might assume – some positive and some negative, from a human point of view – are considered in some of the subsequent chapters.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue with Wayne Radinsky and Ben Goertzel.

Chapter Eight: Moral Responsibility and Autonomous Machines by David Burke

David Burke looks at the moral aspects of increasingly intelligent, autonomous machines. To make the issues clear, he begins with some simulated courtroom arguments about the responsibility of autonomous machines in specific cases. The message from these cases is clear: As machines continue to demonstrate powers that are akin to human judgment and intelligence, there will be increasing pressure to grant them autonomy and broad decision-making powers while integrating them ever more deeply in human society (or more accurately, human/machine society).

Chapter Nine: How Will the Artilect War Start? by Hugo de Garis

In his chapter, evolvable hardware pioneer Hugo de Garis summarizes his dramatic vision of what the path to a “Robot Takeover” may look like. Echoing themes outlined in his book The Artilect War, he presents a dystopian vision of global warfare between rival parties, which he labels Terrans and Cosmists (though of course if real movements of this nature emerge they will likely have different names), the difference being that the Terrans want to stop the Robot Takeover before it’s too late, whereas the Cosmists embrace the Robot Takeover, figuring that while it may have pluses and minuses from a traditional human perspective, it’s going to lead to amazing things overall. The Terran/Cosmist dichotomy highlights a key value-system conflict that may come to the fore as Singularity approaches: valuing humanity in its traditional form, versus valuing intelligence, growth, joy and other values regardless of whether they come along with traditional human minds and bodies or are embodied in robots, computer networks, synthetic organisms, virtual-reality minds or other novel substrates.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue with Ben Goertzel. Dialogue 7.1 and Dialogue 11.1 also include discussion of Hugo de Garis’s ideas about the Artilect War.

Part Four: The Global Brain and the Emerging World of Views

The next few chapters present a quite different perspective on the future of human mind and society, elaborated by several researchers from the Global Brain Institute (GBI) at the Free University of Brussels. The focus of these thinkers is on the passage from a world in which the individual human mind/body is considered the nexus of intelligence, to one in which collectives of humans and/or combinations of humans with their (increasingly complex, adaptive) external tools, are the most natural entities to think about when analyzing the structure and dynamics of practical intelligence.

The Global Brain perspective is one that is often omitted from discussions of Singularitarian futures, especially in the Silicon Valley tech community. Yet it holds many deep insights, which may help guide understanding of the future as it unfolds, whether or not a full-scale Global Brain as envisioned by some of the GBI researchers emerges.

Chapter Ten: Return to Eden? Promises and Perils on the Road to an Omnipotent Global Intelligence by Francis Heylighen

Francis Heylighen, founder and leader of the Global Brain Institute, and (along with Peter Russell, Ben Goertzel and others) one of the key developers of the “Global Brain” concept, presents here a highly emphatic vision of the emergence of the Global Brain. More important than the Technological Singularity per se, in his view, will be the transition in which the collectivity of human minds as a whole – enabled by technological tools – becomes a powerful intelligent, causal actor in its own right … a Global Brain. Heylighen casts aside visions of a world-transforming superhuman AI created in a secret basement lab, and posits that the coming technologically driven explosion in intelligence will not be concentrated in one place but will be distributed across all the people and artifacts of the planet. He then takes another, more controversial step, arguing that the emerging “global brain” connecting all these people and artifacts will be all knowing and all powerful, much like traditional visions “God.”

As Heylighen views it, the emergence of such a Global Brain will usher in an “Eden”-like era verging on classical visions of utopia. The main risks on the path to this wonderful future are catastrophic failures due to hyperconnectivity, passivity as people become over dependent, and resistance from conservative backlash. He foresees that a global immune system will be developed to protect against these risks.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue with Francis Heylighen, Ben Goertzel and David Weinbaum (Weaver).

Chapter Eleven: Distributing Cognition: from Local Brains to the Global Brain by Clément Vidal

Clément Vidal, also from the Global Brain Institute, presents a related vision, but focused more on the externalization of human intelligence, hypothesizing that as technology develops, it will make less and less sense to think about human intelligence as centered on a brain/body, and more and more sense to think about the overall intelligence of brains and bodies together with “external” technological tools. Already our smartphones and other gadgets provide us a massive degree of enhancement, but this is just the beginning.

In the Epilogue to Chapter Eleven, Clément Vidal presents a fictional vision of life in 2060 where we can speak to anyone we meet with our built in translator, where potential partners evaluate each other with artificial intelligence, where life’s petty chores are taken care of automatically, and where science and technology are pushed forward via complex networks of human and machine intelligence, acting as massive, distributed, self-organizing knowledge bases.

These chapters are followed by a Dialogue with Clément Vidal, Ben Goertzel and Ted Goertzel.

Chapter Twelve: A World of Views: A World of Interacting Post-human Intelligences, Viktoras Veitas and David Weinbaum (Weaver)

Viktoras Veitas and David Weinbaum (Weaver) from the Global Brain Institute present what is perhaps the deepest theoretical exploration in the volume. They outline a novel perspective for understanding the new world that will unfold as the Singularity approaches, centered on the concept of a “World of Views” – a network of subjective perspectives, interacting with and fueling each other, associated with overlapping intelligences on various levels (human, extended/externalized human, human group, Global Brain). In this richly networked world, a form of hierarchical control still exists due to the nesting of patterns within each other, but the traditional hierarchical power structures of human society becomes increasingly irrelevant. Heterarchical patterns play an increasingly large role, in which influence and content pass from views to other related views.

While at times somewhat brain-stretching, the perspective presented by Veitas and Weaver has an important role to play in our understanding of the future. Given as many uncertainties as there are regarding the Singularity and the pre-Singularity world, it isn’t possible to make detailed predictions with reasonable confidence in a purely objective way, based only on the available data. Beyond very broad aspects, the best way to understand the future is to begin an overarching conceptual framework that bridges the gap between the world we see today and the very different world that may soon come. The “World of Views” perspective provides such a framework.

The Chapter is followed by a Dialogue with Viktoras Veitas, David Weinbaum (Weaver) Ben Goertzel and Ted Goertzel.

Part Five: Globalization and the Path to Singularity

The primary originators of the Singularity concept are both American and associated with major tech hubs. Vernor Vinge spent his career as a professor and science fiction writer in southern California, and now continues there as a full-time writer. Ray Kurzweil carried out the bulk of his technology development and forecasting work from the Boston area, and at time of writing he is working largely on Google’s campus in Mountain View, California – the heart of Silicon Valley.

The ongoing science and technology work that makes the Singularity a plausible idea, however, is occurring throughout the globe. Given the ongoing stream of science and technology press releases emanating from Shenzhen, Seoul and Tokyo alongside San Francisco, Boston, London and so forth, few would doubt anymore the global aspect of exponential technological advancement. And neither is it plausible that a small percentage of major universities and companies, located in a handful of tech centers, is going to foist Singularity-enabling technology on the world all of a sudden. A look through the proceedings of any major scientific conference illustrates the broadly-distributed global nature of the ongoing advancement, bolstering Francis Heylighen’s view that what is happening is an overall emergent development entraining the whole human race.

The next two chapters of the book explore the implications of the pre-Singularity period for two key regions of the world, both far-flung from Mountain View and Boston: China and Africa.

Chapter Thirteen: Chinese Perspectives on the Approach to the Singularity by Mingyu Huang

Mingyu Huang gives a perspective on what China and the Singularity may bring to each other during the coming decades. Following a traditional Chinese style, he begins with a long view. Looking back over the thousands of years during which humanity has been building up toward a Singularity, China has been a major – arguably the largest – contributor to technological advancement, overall. In recent centuries, China fell behind the west in technological and social development for social and environmental reasons; but the common wisdom in China today, is that the Middle Kingdom is now poised to catch up and move ahead. China’s central regime is strongly committed to technological innovation and development, and Chinese culture is receptive to post-human innovations. The sheer number of trained engineers and scientists in China gives the nation a huge potential to advance technology in a variety of Singularity-relevant areas. Social and political changes are still needed to lessen bureaucratic constraints, however; and Internet tools are playing an increasing role in this process.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue with Mingyu Huang and Ted Goertzel.

Chapter Fourteen: Africa Today and the Shadow of the Coming Singularity by Hruy Tsegaye

Hruy Tsegaye begins his chapter on Africa with an even longer historical perspective -- noting that as the cradle of humanity, Africa would be a poetically natural place for advances toward the Singularity to occur. Currently, as he notes, Africa possesses the dubious title of “the continent of the third world”; and many government and business entities do not see Africa as a source of technological innovation. However, this is rapidly changing. As just two examples: In 2013 IBM announced the roll-out of 3 installations of its advanced IBM Watson AI system in Africa; and one of the editors (Ben Goertzel) and the chapter author are part of a team collaborating on building an AI software consulting firm in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The majority of Africans now own mobile phones, and smartphones are spreading rapidly. Internet access becomes increasingly prevalent and with it, education spreads.

Political stability is needed to facilitate further development in the African science and technology spheres. But there is some hope for positive feedback dynamics in this regard, in that broader rollout of technological advances may help encourage political stability, in part via coupling African nations to global socioeconomic networks, in a more thoroughgoing and less exploitative way than has previously been the case.

Currently, African government and industry are understandably more focused on improving life in the near term than on creating relatively remote developments like a technological Singularity. Yet there are also interesting opportunities for “technology leapfrogging” – i.e. for Africa to turn its relatively minimal technological infrastructure into an asset, and leap directly toward implementation of advanced technologies that may be inhibited in other places due to lock-in by merely moderately advanced technologies. An example of this could be in the medical area, where e.g. the US medical system presents many institutional obstacles to progress, whereas the African medical system is sufficiently undeveloped that few are likely to push back against innovations such as, say, AI diagnosticians or smartphone-based diagnostic tools.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue between Hruy Tsegaye, Ben Goertzel and Francis Heylighen.

Part Six: The Future of Money

Today’s economic system is very different from what existed 200 years ago. Correspondingly, it seems quite possible that as the path to Singularity unfolds, the exchange of goods and services will occur according to patterns and mechanisms very different from what we see today. The two chapters in this section explore possibilities in this regard, discussing cryptocurrencies and also more radical possibilities for systematization of exchange.

Chapter Fifteen: The World’s First Decentralized System for Financial and Legal Transactions by Chris Odom

Chris Odom and his associate Johann Gevers, via their startup Monetas, are part of a new generation of economic pioneers, seeking to upend the world financial system via creative utilization of crypto-currencies. In this chapter, Chris Odom reviews some of the general ideas and trends underlying all the ongoing work in this area.

As everyone who has followed the ups and downs of Bitcoin knows, strong cryptography is making possible new forms of money that will be inexpensive, instantaneous and resistant to control by authorities. If the pioneers of crypto-currency are right, the money of the future will be largely a self-enforcing, autonomous eco-system, not dependent on any government.

Most likely, Odom projects, new forms of money will be adopted first in areas that have been most inhibited by governmental restrictions and practical problems. This means they will be most useful in developing countries where currencies are unstable, inflation is often high, and the rule of law is not as strong. Harking back to Hruy Teague’s chapter on Africa, this suggests that the role of cryptocurrency in Africa may be worth watching as the next decades unfold. Already, as is well known, some Africans retain their store of currency in accounts associated with their mobile phone accounts rather than with any bank, which is a significant break from traditional financial-system methodology.

Chapter Sixteen: Beyond Money: Offer Networks, Potential Infrastructure for a Post-Money Economy by Ben Goertzel

Cryptocurrencies constitute a major step beyond prior versions of currency, but are not necessarily going to be the last word in the computational systematization of exchange. In his chapter titled “Beyond Money,” Ben Goertzel takes the discussion a step beyond current financial systems, and explores the possibility of a more radically different form of exchange called Offer Networks. Offer Networks would enable direct exchange of goods and services between individuals or groups, mediated via sophisticated computer matching algorithms. A novel type of currency, the OfferCoin, could then be defined via mathematical analysis of the overall network of exchanges. This approach would avoid many of the issues involved with traditional fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and would also naturally encompass qualitative exchanges of services alongside traditional economic exchanges. Whether or not anything specifically like Offer Networks comes to pass, the concept makes clear that global, systematic exchange networks could operate based on a variety of different mechanisms, with traditionally-conceived unidimensional money being just one class of possibilities.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue between Francis Heylighen, David Weinbaum (Weaver) and Ben Goertzel

Part Seven: Human Society & Human Nature in the Era of Abundance

While the Singularity is commonly explored with a focus on science and technology, in fact the most interesting implications may be psychological in nature. By transforming our environments and our bodies, advanced technologies may also transform our minds. The next four chapters, authored or co-authored by the book co-editor Ben Goertzel, are more psychological and sociological than economic, and explore various hypothetical aspects of mind and society as Singularity approaches.

Chapter Seventeen: Sousveillance and AGI by Ben Goertzel and Stephan Vladimir Bugaj

The increased surveillance capabilities provided by current technologies have been at the fore of public discourse since Edward Snowden’s revelations and before. David Brin’s distinction between surveillance (the powers-that-be watch everyone) and sousveillance (everyone watches everyone) has never been more topical. In this chapter on “Sousveillance and AGI”, Goertzel and his R&D collaborator Stephan Vladimir Bugaj (now a leader in the computer gaming space) extend this theme into the future, exploring the possibilities that may ensue as observation technology becomes more and more prevalent, at the same time as AI technology advances. The argument is made that, as traditional human notions of privacy become obsolete, human psychology may change commensurately, with the traditional notion of the “individual self” morphing into something quite different. This brings us back to the themes of the Global Brain Institute chapters, regarding the potential trend away from the individual and toward collective intelligence.

The essay is followed by a Dialogue between Ted Goertzel, Stephan Vladmir Bugaj, Ben Goertzel, Hruy Tsegaye and Mingyu Huang.

Chapter Eighteen: The Future of Human Nature by Ben Goertzel

This chapter takes a speculative historical look at how the human mind became what it is, due to evolutionary and social forces – and leverages this to hypothesize regarding what the future of human nature might hold. Once we have reasonably advanced brain-computer interfacing and mind uploading technology, it seems likely that humans will consciously transcend the limitations of legacy human nature, moving on to new ways of conceiving the self and orchestrating actions. As the path toward these technologies unfolds, the human self will gradually transform. Some persistent human-psychology issues, such as repression resulting from conflict between one’s actual self and one’s ideal self, can be expected to diminish as technology gives us more awareness of, and more control over, the inner workings of our minds and bodies. Other conflicts at the heart of human nature, such as the struggle between individual versus group goals, cannot be expected to vanish merely due to the advancement of technology, but may transform into something new and unexpected, e.g. if Global Brain or World of Views type projections hold true.

The Chapter is followed by a Dialogue between Clément Vidal and Ben Goertzel.

Chapter Nineteen: Capitalism, Socialism, Singularitarianism, by Ted Goertzel

This chapter discusses historical efforts to use cybernetic technology to advance capitalist and socialist socio-economic systems, and explores the implications of the global brain and artificial general intelligence for socialist, capitalist, anarchist and other forms of societal organization.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue between Ben Goertzel, Hruy Tsegaye and Ted Goertzel.

Chapter Twenty: Toward a Human-friendly post-Singularity World by Ben Goertzel

This chapter asks the broad question “What might the human world look like after a Technological Singularity?” and then explores the path from here to Singularity in terms of the possibility of gradual pre-Singularity emergence of key aspects of post-Singularity human society and psychology. The post-Singularity human world is speculatively envisioned as a society in which working for a living is replaced with pursuit of aesthetic, social and psychological goals, and humans cluster themselves into affinity groups rather than conforming to the default expectations of a larger society.

Ideas are explored regarding potential social structures that may emerge as the Singularity approaches, triggered by the shift from our current “era of scarcity” in which the struggle for resources is a dominant factor in human society, to an “era of abundance” in which the resources needed for ordinary human life are easily available, and the focus of human life shifts to social and artistic pursuits. Potential pre-Singularity social-structure changes discussed include the emergence of microstates embodying specific social contracts among relatively small numbers of individuals, and the emergence of complex networks of human and software interactions displaying Global Brain type emergent patterns. It is hypothesized that advanced AGI may play a key role in maintaining global order in such a future society, allowing humans to focus on other matters. Finally, it is suggested that this sort of society would have radical implications for human psychology, naturally leading a substantial portion of the human population in the direction of “self-transcendence” as explored in the prior chapter on “The Future of Human Nature.

The chapter is followed by a Dialogue between Hruy Tsegaye, Clément Vidal, Aaron Nitzkin and Ben Goertzel.

Chapter Twenty-One: Looking Backward from 2100 by Ben Goertzel and Ted Goertzel

This fictional essay is in the tradition of time-travel futurism that includes Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle (1819), Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward 2000-1887 (1888), H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895), Mack Reynolds’s Looking Backward from the Year 2000 (1973) and many others. It presents one possible future scenario incorporating many of the ideas presented by the various chapter authors, without agreeing with every author on every detail. This scenario is not presented as a specific prediction of what will happen, but merely as an example of what MIGHT happen. Readers are invited to formulate their own hypothetical future scenarios and compare them with ours and with the various scenarios hinted by the various chapter authors. The future is, in large part, ours to create.

The cover art for the book was done by Zarko Paunovic

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