The Five Forces that Change Everything

How Technology is Shaping Our Future

As machines become capable of doing most of the work people have performed for centuries, we are headed for a massive social reorganization.

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The Five Forces that Change Everything takes you on a journey to see what the most brilliant minds of our age are dreaming up. Hoffman reveals how new scientific breakthroughs and business ventures are poised to reshape our lives and turn science fiction into fact. From Silicon Valley biohackers boosting their IQs to scientists in Japan creating lifelike robots, and Chinese labs developing human-monkey chimeras, Hoffman gives an inside look at the limits of what’s possible and the impact these developments will have.

Overview: Nanotech is at the point where it’s possible to unleash invisible robots and new materials into the world that permanently alter life on Earth. With genetic engineering, we have taken evolution into our own hands, creating new species of plants and animals that never existed before. We’re developing AIs that can predict future events, create lifelike simulations, and learn from their own mistakes. And space technology is advancing toward the point where visiting other planets and discovering alien life forms will no longer be the stuff of science fiction.

Hoffman delves into the hard questions: Should we modify the genetic code of life to produce new crops, cures for cancer, and DNA-edited babies? Is it possible to preserve any privacy in a world with billions of surveillance devices, where every action we take is parsed, analyzed, and recorded in a database? What happens when AI reaches or exceeds the level of human intelligence? How would it feel to connect our brains directly to one another and exchange thoughts, memories, and emotions? And what does it mean to merge with our machines and establish a class of cyborgs?

Along the way, Hoffman shows how these innovations are part of the five fundamental forces driving humanity forward. Our creations not only have the power to enable humans to live longer, healthier, richer lives, but also the potential to permanently change—and even destroy—us. The decisions we make in the coming years will determine who and what the human race becomes.


The Five Forces

  1. Mass Connectivity, the force driving humans to plug our machines and our brains into interconnected, intelligent, digital networks, will radically transform how we live and work, fusing the material and virtual into a new, alternate reality.
  2. Bio Convergence, the force driving humans to merge biology with technology, will enable us to decode the building blocks of life, create entirely new species of plants and animals, conquer disease, and heighten human abilities.
  3. Human Expansionism, the force driving human beings to push to the edges of our known universe, will propel us further into the quantum world and deeper into outer space, in order to harness their vast potential.
  4. Deep Automation, the force driving humans to algorithmically automate all the underlying processes for managing, growing, and sustaining life, will accelerate innovation, create wealth, and free us from the need to work.
  5. Intelligence Explosion, the force driving us to develop new forms of superintelligence that far surpass human capabilities, will bring into existence sentient machines that run our economies, act as our campions, and merge with our consciousness.


Table of Contents

Force 1: Mass Connectivity

  1. The Neural Pioneers
  2. Neural Implants and Brain Chips
  3. Next-Gen Brain-Machine Interfaces
  4. Mind Assistants and Brain Applications
  5. Brain Hacking, Mind Control, and Mental Privacy
  6. The Next Wave of Virtual Reality
  7. Artificial Sensory Perception
  8. Is the World a Simulation?
  9. Hyperlayers: Augmented Reality
  10. Mixed Reality: Living a Multimodal Existence
  11. The Seventh Wave of Mass Connectivity

Force 2: Bio Convergence

  1. Wetware Warriors: Biohackers on the Loose
  2. Grinders and Cyborgs
  3. Reshaping the Human Anatomy
  4. Smart Drugs, Energy Boosters, and Super Supplements
  5. Life Extension: The Epic of Gilgamesh
  6. The Global Impact of Life Extension
  7. Cryogenics, Rebirth, and Rabbit Brains
  8. The Clones Are Coming
  9. The Bionic Body
  10. The CRISPR Revolution
  11. Gene Drives
  12. Cow Cultures: Lab-Grown Meats
  13. DNA and Organic Computers
  14. Chimeras, Bioprinting, and Transgenic Life-Forms
  15. Genetic Imagineers: A Brave New World

Force 3: Human Expansionism

  1. Quantum Computing
  2. The Birth of New Materials
  3. Nanoscale: Manipulating Molecules and Atoms
  4. Nanobots: Miniature Medical Machines
  5. Masters of the Universe or Mass Extinction?
  6. Mission to Mars
  7. Building an Interplanetary Ecosystem
  8. Space Pioneers and the Gold Rush
  9. The Space Economy
  10. Warp Drive: Far-Out Ideas
  11. Life on Other Planets

Force 4: Deep Automation

  1. Smart Cities: Dreams of Magic Kingdoms
  2. Smart Governments
  3. Robo Cops: Autonomous Policing
  4. The State of Surveillance: AI Is Watching You
  5. AI Fortune-Tellers: The Prediction Machines
  6. Reinventing Education
  7. Algorithmic Art: Can AI Be Creative?
  8. Silicon Valley and the Future of Hollywood
  9. Lights-Out Factories and Supply Chain Automation
  10. Roboto: Smart Hospitals and Health Tech
  11. Algorithmic Agriculture
  12. Robots to the Rescue
  13. The Future of Work: A Jobless Society?

Force 5: Intelligence Explosion

  1. Singularity: The Superintelligence Is Coming
  2. Can Machines Be Conscious?
  3. Society and Sentient Machines
  4. Humanoid Robots and Emotional Machines
  5. Can You Love a Robot?
  6. AI Bosses: Working for the Bot
  7. Self-Learning AIs and Evolutionary Robots
  8. AI Economies: The Centralization of Power
  9. Superintelligence: A Philosopher King in a Box
  10. Hatching Demons: Will AI Destroy Us?
  11. Merging with Our Machines
  12. Brain Net: Tapping the Subconscious
  13. Uploading Ourselves: Hyperconnected Realities
  14. Augmenting Our Senses: Neuroscience and Perception
  15. Organoids and Biological Super Brains
  16. The Coming of Super Sentience

The Five Forces that Change Everything is published by Matt Holt Books, an imprint of BenBella Publishing.



“Steve Hoffman’s book, The Five Forces, is a compelling vision of our forceful futures (of connectivity, biotech, space, automation & intelligence), and a great guide to what you can do to prepare. Steve is in a rare position to weigh in on these diverse topics as investor/advisor to so many rising entrepreneurs. You will be shocked how close and fast these asteroids of progress appear to be.”
Dr. George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and Professor of Health Sciences Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard

The Five Forces poses complex and profound questions about how technology is shaping our world and what will be the future of the human race. AI and robotics can bring enormous benefits for societies but can also be used for malicious purposes if falling into the wrong hands. Therefore, we must be prepared to keep pace and use it responsibly, without compromising the fundamental principles of Human Rights.”
Dr. Irakli Beridze, Head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute

“A lucid and fascinating exposé of the myriad technologies and scientific breakthroughs that are already shaping our lives, and which will determine what kind of people we become in the next few decades. Utterly fascinating and essential easy reading.”
Dr. David Levy, International Chess Master and author of over 40 books on chess, AI, and computers

“Anyone who cares at least one ounce about the future must read this book. Wake up. Hoffman offers an entirely new perspective on what is about to happen in the world.”
Dr. Sebastian Thrun, Cofounder of Udacity, CEO of Kitty Hawk, and former director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab

“Steve Hoffman nails it! He identifies the science fiction that is becoming our new reality. A delightful run through a wild future of sentient AIs, cyborgs, transgenic animals, and designer babies. Read it!”
Tim Draper, Founder of DFJ, Forbes Midas List of Top Venture Capitalists, AlwaysOn #1 Most Networked Venture Capitalist, Worth Magazine 100 Most Powerful People in Finance

“An exciting whistle stop tour of how technology will affect our future. This is right on the button in terms of accuracy and coverage. A brilliant book!”
Dr. Kevin Warwick (Captain Cyborg), Professor of Cybernetics at Coventry University

“Hoffman steps on the gas on page one and doesn’t ease off until the last word. It’s common knowledge how fast science and technology are accelerating, but this book forces you to feel the g-forces involved. Strap in and enjoy the ride.”
Dr. Josh Bongard, Veinott Professor of Computer Science, University of Vermont

“In his trademark lively style, Steve Hoffman shines a light on the key technologies most likely to impact the future of humanity. If you want a knowledgeable tour guide to your future, hop on board and buckle up!”
Dr. Jerry Kaplan, serial entrepreneur, Lecturer at Stanford University, and author of Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know

The Five Forces framework delivers an incredible itinerary of insights into our evolving future. It should be required reading for all innovators. Hoffman offers a unique invitation to discover how today’s cutting-edge innovations drive our tomorrow.”
Dr. Aimee Arnoldussen, Innovation and Commercialization Specialist at Discovery to Product, University Wisconsin, Madison

“Thought provoking and insightful: Steve manages to provide a great overview of the technological disruptions happening in the world. The Five Forces is a great source for new ideas and business disruption.”
Dr. Ott Velsberg, Chief Data Officer Ministry of Economic Affairs, Estonia

“A highly entertaining and informative book that explores the forces shaping our future and how these will transform our lives.”
Dr. Steve Horvath, professor of human genetics at UCLA

“Steve Hoffman’s book is the reminder that the future of humanity relies on the groundbreaking technology we have now. It is upon us to decide what kind of world we want the future generations to live on.”
Dr. Alysson R. Muotri, Director of the Stem Cell Program at the Institute for Genomic Medicine, UC San Diego

“Change is constant and our evolution to adapt will define quality of life. The Five Forces takes an intriguing look into the rapid evolution of technology that connects humans more intimately with technology, from technology inspired by biology to those that mimic biology. Understanding and appreciating the interplay between the five forces will set readers thinking, imagining, and innovating.”
Dr. Sharath Sriram, professor of engineering at RMIT University, and chairman of Policy Committee of Science & Technology Australia

The Five Forces is very thought provoking. It is an incredible glimpse into the future that suggests that emerging technologies could go very well or go very badly.”
Gary Wishnatzki, cofounder of Harvest CROO Robotics

The Five Forces provides a great summary of the most recent advances in AI, with a very focused and objective, yet creative, view of where we stand today. It outlines a futuristic, but also the brutally honest, stance of where the five fundamental forces may drive humanity in the years to come.”
Dr. Oggi Rudovic, Machine Learning Researcher at MIT Media Lab

“Hoffman is that rare combination of the insider who brings the fierce curiosity of an Outsider’s mindset to new worlds. Read The Five Forces to open your own thinking to the astounding developments that are already here, and around the corner!”
Jonathan Littman, coauthor of the international bestsellers The Art of Innovation and Ten Faces of Innovation

“As a venture capitalist active in the US and Asia, Steve Hoffman sees startups pitching him today what the future will look like tomorrow and shares this vision with us in this compelling book.”
Andrew Romans, General Partner at 7BC Venture Capital and author of The Entrepreneurial Bible to Venture Capital

“The questions raised in this book are probably the most important ones to deal with today, for the sake of our future. It is not about agreeing with Steve but allowing you to be taken on a full cycle of thinking so you can eventually make up your mind. Do it for yourself.”
Liviu Babitz, cofounder & CEO of Cyborg Nest

“Hoffman’s writing is at once brilliant and lucid, hitting home at a time in society when technology is transforming the world and impacting our lives more than ever.”
Dr. Steve Mann (Father of Wearable Computing), professor of electrical and computer engineering at University of Toronto, co-creator of the discipline of Humanistic Intelligence, along with Marvin Minsky and Ray Kurzweil, and cofounder of InteraXon and BlueberryX