Here is what the book is all about:
In his latest futuristic work, Gerd Leonhard breaks new ground by bringing together mankind’s urge to automate everything – down to human biology – with the timeless quest for justice and freedom which has dominated the story species. Before it’s too late, we must stop and ask the big questions, and dare to move beyond the surface allures or dangers of Digitization. When it happens – gradually and then suddenly – the machine era will create the greatest watershed in human life on earth. Technology vs. Humanity is the last moral map we’ll get as humanity enters the Jurassic Park of technology. Are we already too far gone down the road to Brave New World, or are there still opportunities for equating greater mechanization and machine intelligence with human equity? As we futurize our lives by automating everything from work to reproduction, what moral values are we prepared to stand up for – before being human alters its meaning forever?
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Here is a snippet from the introduction to the book:
“We are living in one of the most exciting times in the history of mankind. In the next 20 years humanity is likely to change more than it did in the previous 300. Technology is driving exponential progress in every sector of our society, from energy, transportation, media, medicine, and health to our very food and drink. Nothing and no one will be untouched by the changes in store for us, whether they’re realized with good will or evil intent. On one hand, unimaginable technological breakthroughs may dramatically improve our lives and further human flourishing. On the other hand, these new technologies may threaten the very fabric of society, and ultimately our humanness.
Welcome to HellVen! We are facing what I like to call hell/heaven challenges (#hellven): We are in warp drive toward a future that on one hand may resemble Nirvana, where we no longer have to work for a living, most problems are solved by technology, and we enjoy universal abundance — a Star Trek economy. Or on the other hand, the future could usher in a dystopian society that is orchestrated and overseen by intelligent software agents — machines and algorithms, cyborgs and robots (or rather, by those who own them). A world where humans might be tolerated as a necessary nuisance at best, or enslaved by a cabal of cyborg gods at worst. A dark society that would be de-skilled, desensitized, disembodied, and altogether dehumanised…”
For now, be sure to watch this short film below
This film marks the beginning of a new period for me, with much of my future work focusing on the topic of how exponential technological changes are changing what and who we are, as humans, where this is going in the next 15 years, and what we need to do, TODAY, to make sure that these changes will indeed be beneficial to us. For this film, I was very fortunate to be able to team up with Story7 and Jean Francois Cardella as producer and director, and Jeremy Joly as DOP. They made this film very special – thanks! We shot most of the footage in Cannes and the surrounding area – see some of the pics below. If you like this movie, please share it and spread the word, or submit a comment below and let me know what you think. Thanks! New hashtag as of today: #techversushuman
Related stuff I write, tweet, speak and think about: #manmachine #AIFutures #machinethinking Digital Ethics Automation The future of work and jobs Humarithms – not just algorithms #datawars The Future Show Videos
Download the high res MP4 version (creative commons license with attribution / non-commercial applies)
Update, August 10 2015: Here is a version with Turkish subtitles – a big thank you to my Futurist colleague Ufuk Tarhan!
Don’t miss my other videos from TheFutureShow series