Books et al.Science & Society

Looking ahead

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Science  14 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6407, pp. 1079
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau9686


In 2004, the year before he became president of Britain's Royal Society, Martin Rees memorably remarked that "we are no wiser than Aristotle was more than 2000 years ago." Rees's latest book, On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, written "as a scientist, as a citizen, and as a worried member of the human species," is really a meditation on this thought, short in extent but wide in range: from redesigning genes, through the likelihood of human-induced climate change, to the possibility of encounters with alien intelligence in the universe. Its overall theme is that Earth's growing population will flourish only if science and technology are deployed with "wisdom."