Tomorrowland | Steven Kotler

Summary of: Tomorrowland: Our Staggering Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact
By: Steven Kotler

Introduction

Embark on an astounding journey through the realm of science fiction as it transforms into science fact. The summary of ‘Tomorrowland: Our Staggering Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact’ presents a glimpse into the future where radical innovations and technological breakthroughs challenge the limits of human capabilities. Explore fascinating developments in prosthetics, brain-computer interfaces, genetic engineering, and advances in areas like nuclear fusion, stem cells, and asteroid mining. Discover how these once seemingly fantastical ideas reshape our world at an unbelievable pace, transforming every aspect of human life.

Breakthrough Technologies

The book explores how better technologies can make life easier and how visionary innovators are revolutionizing science. Innovators like Peter Diamandis, founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, reject common wisdom and dream big to encourage space-related innovation leading to space travel. With advancements in space exploration, asteroid mining, life extension, genetics, and robotics, humankind is experiencing massively disruptive changes. These breakthrough technologies are reshaping human evolution exponentially, offering extreme possibilities. The book delves into how technology is shaping human bodies, minds, environments, and certainties, with once-fantastical technologies now becoming a reality at an astonishing pace.

The Age of Advancements

The Age of Advancements reflects the strides made in prosthetics and brain-computer interfaces in reshaping human capabilities. Two inspirational stories – David Rozelle, a US Army captain, and Hugh Herr, an extreme climber, showed how advances in prosthetics design and function have given amputees the hope to remain active and productive. Dr. Peter Cochrane’s quest to develop an implanted memory chip, the Soul Catcher, is evidence of how we try to conquer the ultimate question – immortality. Dr. Melvin Morse’s interest in near-death experiences (NDEs) and how they affect our understanding of what is possible, might open up new lines of research that previously seemed hidden. The fear of death has reduced among people who have experienced NDEs, indicating that spirituality might have a biological component. The age of Prometheus and the age of Icarus seem to have merged into one, and the unbelievable turns into the possible, as the Human Genome Project, brain-connection mapping, and computing power develop at exponential rates.

Advancements in Technology and Genetics

Advances in technology and genetics are changing the way humans live and evolve. From brain implants that restore sight to genetic engineering to fight disease, new technologies and innovations are making previously impossible dreams a reality. Vision researcher William Dobelle’s ‘wetware’ brain implants have already restored sight to blind patients, paving the way for more superhuman visual capabilities. Economist Robert Fogel’s theory of ‘techno-physio evolution’ states that technology can impact human biology in a way that increases average height and leads to rapid, radical change. Scientific advances are also being used to fight diseases transmitted by insects, such as malaria and dengue fever, by genetically engineering mosquito species. While these advancements sound promising, they also raise questions about the potential risks associated with such tinkering. Nevertheless, the promise of a better tomorrow continues to drive technological and genetic advancements forward, bringing hope to people around the world.

Engineering for Environmental Salvation

The Florida Everglades have suffered grave environmental injuries from agriculture, building, and human intervention. The $8 billion federal plan, Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, aims to recover four million acres of natural sawgrass wetlands. One technique is rechanneling the Kissimmee River to reverse the havoc created by previous Army Corps of Engineers’ activities. The project also includes man-made lakes and storage wells to supply freshwater to the ecosystem. The ecological disaster is indicated by clogged waterways, mercury in fish, and a decreased number of wading birds. On another note, nuclear energy is slowly undergoing reforms, including safer reactors such as fast breeders and Liquid Fluoride Thorium reactors. Small-scale nuclear reactors could provide up to 300 megawatts of clean power to remote areas. Conversely, fusion power, which is low-waste and sustainable, is still a futuristic aspiration.

Future of Space Travel

Since 1917, inventors have been working to create flying cars, but none have gone into mass production until now. Aerospace engineer Dezso Molnar has created a lightweight and safe flying motorcycle that is powered by a motorcycle engine and can be flown with a sport pilot’s license. The potential for space tourism is also on the horizon, with Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo striving towards making it a reality. However, scientists and engineers must understand how equipment and the body can withstand the demands of space.

The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter holds precious resources such as gold, platinum, tantalum, and iridium. Scientists predict that in the future, people could mine these asteroids for their vast resources. While some worry about the morality of such actions, visionaries like Diamandis and Eric Anderson, co-founders of Planetary Resources, plan to launch robotic craft to scrape asteroids for precious metals.

Overall, the future of space travel is full of exciting possibilities and potential resources to be explored.

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