Recommended

Our Final Hour Rees, M 2003

From Publishers Weekly
Nano-machines stand poised to revolutionize technology and medicine, but what happens if these minuscule beasties break their leash and run amok? Rees, the U.K.‘s Astronomer Royal and prolific author (Just Six Numbers; Our Cosmic Habitat), warns that the 21st century may well witness the extinction of mankind, a doomsday more likely to be caused by human error than by a natural catastrophe. Bioterrorists are the most widely publicized threat at the moment, but well-intentioned scientists, Rees says, are capable of accidentally wiping out mankind via genetically engineered superpathogens that create unprecedented pandemics, or even through something as weird as high-energy particle experiments that backfire and cause the universe to implode. Rees poses some hard questions about scientists’ responsibility to forsake research that might lead to a malevolent genie being let out of its bottle and even to restrict the sharing of scientific information to prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. Ultimately, though, Rees sounds more alarmist than precautionary. Some may find him overly optimistic on what science will be capable of doing in the next quarter century. Rees makes some provocative points, but the book falls short of what readers expect from a scientist of his stature.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Supporting the Blog and Podcast

SamHarris.org is supported by the generosity of its readers and listeners. If you find my essays, interviews, or podcasts useful, please consider becoming a sponsor of the website. —SH

Monthly Support

Member$7 / month
Supporting Member$20 / month
Sustaining Member$45 / month
Patron$95 / month


One-Time Support

You can also become a member by supporting one-time in any amount.

Get Sam's Newsletter

Joining our email list is the best way to hear about Sam's upcoming books, articles, podcasts, and public talks.