As the Future Catches You: How Genomics and other Forces are Changing your Life, Work, Health and Wealth, Juan Enriquez (2000).
Summary: This book is about how language has transformed in the past 5000 years. For example, ancient Chinese contains thousands of characters, but today's most advanced language contains only two! (Read to find out how!). These chapters move quickly across the big changes--the Neolithic revolution, the industrial revolution, then the digital revolution, and finally the genomic revolution (mapping the human genome). It’s about our transformation from an agricultural to an industrial to an information-based society; and those who understand these revolutions best have become the wealthy and powerful. So, this reading is also about inequality (which is the topic of our course: what is a just society?).
As you read: Use your imagination. Don’t worry about too many details—get the big ideas and themes. Make connections to other things you know.
Consider the following questions for group discussion in connection with the reading:
What are the positives and negatives of mapping the genome?
What do you think is significant about genetically modifying food and animals—is this good? Bad? What are the consequences?
How has the creation of wealth changed over the last few thousand years, especially in recent decades?
How has language changed?
We’ve been studying networks this year (infrastructure)—what are information networks? How does technology today depend on networks?