Martin Rees and Margaret Heffernan

Martin Rees and Margaret Heffernan

Prospects for Humanity

The Great Reset/
Sat 21 November 2020

Crowdcast

Martin Rees and Margaret Heffernan

Prospects for Humanity

Martin Rees and Margaret Heffernan
Sat 21 November 2020,

Crowdcast

Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Various outcomes – good and bad – are possible. Renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees argues that the future of humanity is bound to the future of science, and hinges on how successfully we harness technology to address our challenges. But we need values, too.

Advances in biotechnology, cybertechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence could empower us to boost the developing and developed world and overcome the threats humanity faces on Earth, from climate change to nuclear war. But if we are to use science to solve our problems, we must think rationally, globally, collectively and optimistically about the long-term. We must avoid the short-term thinking, polarising debates, alarmist rhetoric and pessimism that currently characterise our approach to the future. In a recent Times essay, Rees said ‘We need some “cathedral thinking” – global, rational and unashamedly long-term – empowered by 21st-century technology but guided by values that science alone can’t provide.’

With insights into cutting-edge science and technology, Rees examines the critical issues that will define the future of humanity on Earth and beyond. He is in conversation with Margaret Heffernan, author most recently of Uncharted: How to Map the Future.

Book cover of On the Future by Martin Rees  Book cover of Uncharted by Margaret Heffernan

On the Future: Prospects for Humanity is published by Princeton University Press. Buy a copy from our friends at Waterstones.

Uncharted: How to Map the Future Together is published by Simon & SchusterBuy a copy from our friends at Waterstones.

This is part of The Great Reset programme, in which we look at the challenges facing us and the solutions to these. The programme starts in November 2020 and runs to November 2021. Future themes include: freedom of speech and democracy (Spring-October 2021); the Bristol Constitutional Convention (Spring 2021) and a new future for cities in Festival of the Future City (October 2021). Ongoing events in our Festival of Ideas throughout 2021 will also focus on challenges and solutions.

This is a Festival of Ideas Online event and will take place on our Crowdcast platform. You can find out more about how this works in our blog.

It’s important to us that ideas and debate are affordable to everyone. It’s also important that our commentators, artists, writers, poets and thinkers are paid. This is a Pay What You Can event. You are invited to choose your own contribution to the event, from £0 to £8. All proceeds go towards supporting our speakers and sustaining Festival of Ideas. The option to attend for free is available for all online events.

Image credit: Nesta

 

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