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On the Future of Humanity 精选

已有 3439 次阅读 2018-10-9 01:42 |个人分类:S and T|系统分类:海外观察

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On the Future of Humanity

I mentioned in my previous blog on the Friedman lecture at MIT the competing lecture on the same day at the same time , hosted by Harvard for Dr. Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society, for a talk with the above title and the subtitle of “surviving this century”. Since I know the Friedman lecture will be on line for viewing later and the fact I have heard Friedman often but never Dr. Rees, I choose to go to the Rees lecture with the intriguing title. By the way, Rees also has written a book of the same title and he is on a book/lecture tour. He gave an excellent talk which also induced me to buy his book for sale at the lecture immediately afterwards. Here are my take away from the lecture. More details can be found in the book which I am slowly exploring.

·       For 4.5 million centuries all living things have to adapt to Nature and her changes. We are the only species that began to change Nature rather have the Nature change us

·       Two burning issues facing us: population trend and environmental change

·       Darwin evolution is now being superseded by technological revolution. The latter revolution is coming faster than many of us can adapt to it (a theme also echoed in the Friedman talk).

·       His predictions on Biology, Computation, Robotics & AI, and Space. While he see breakthroughs on all but “space” where he caution us to lower our expectations.

·       Rees is an “Optimist for technology” but a “Pessimist on governance”. Like Friedman, he is very worried about our future existence due to our inability to govern ourselves intelligently

·       Finally he close the talk with a joke: Two beavers are walking by a huge hydro-electric dam. One beaver says to the other that this is bringing huge benefit to human beings. And the other beaver contemptuously replied that “but they had stolen our original idea” which nicely illustrates the never ending conflict between scientists and engineers.

Below are the chapters of his book to give you some idea

1.  Deep In The Anthropocene

2.  Humanity’s Future On Earth

3.  Humanity In A Cosmic Perspective

4.  Limits And Future Of Science

5.  Conclusions

 



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