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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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.

In The Five Forces that Change Everything, venture capitalist and CEO of Founders Space Steve Hoffman 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.

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.
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  3. 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.
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  5. 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.
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  7. 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.
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  9. 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