This week’s review is a hard cover book with a
hard-hitting jacket, determined to catch your attention. As the Future Catches
You (ISBN 0-609-60903-3) is written by Juan Enriquez, the director of the Life
Sciences Project at the Harvard Business School.
It begins with, not an “introduction” but a page called
“Before you start reading” in which author Enriquez exhorts the reader to
go right through, returning if needed to difficult passages. He also assures
that one does not have to be a rocket scientist to understand what he has
written. He just wants you to understand the trends that are happening
The first chapter swings you into a new style of book
printing, and a new style of reading with it. Spectacular leaps across the
pages are made, dragging your eyes and stimulating your mind with chilling
predictions such as, “We are beginning to acquire direct and deliberate
control ... over the evolution of all life forms ... on the planet ...
Enriquez manages to show, very quickly, just why the world
technology is moving, very quickly, and in what direction it is going. He
states (and shows) the fact that the previous commodity based corporations
which were once supreme have become dinosaurs. In place of oil, agriculture,
automobiles, tobacco, the new wealth is in corporations dealing in (wait for
it) genomics, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, photonics, robotics and
aerospace. I must admit I have only heard of three of them and my spell checker
only recognised two!
Artificial intelligence is dealt with in chapter 8 with the
“news” that in 8 years time a computer should have the same processing
capacity as a human brain and by the middle of this century people will carry
around computers with the processing capacity equivalent to the sum of all the
brains in the United States.
Are you ready for the concept of computers made from silicon
and DNA that can bypass their own damaged sections and “regrow”
organically? Are you ready for computer chips that can assess your DNA for over
4,000 genetic conditions right now, and for 100,000 within five years? You’d
The review copy was provided by Bookazine with an RRP of 995
baht, and should be available at all major bookstores. It is a fascinating
read. It is the ‘brave new world’ staring you in the face, with the message
of ‘shape up or (be ready to) ship out’. His use of the English language is
superb in the way it takes you racing from page to page. If you want
“proof” for some of his sweeping statements (and that is really what every
page holds), then you can turn to the end notes in the book where a
comprehensive bibliography is printed for every chapter.
When I initially picked up this book I looked at the price
and thought, “This is a bit expensive.” After reading it, I now say it is
too cheap. Get it, read it and give it to your kids to show them that you are
still capable of keeping up - today! But tomorrow?