Published by BenBella & Matt Holt Books
Distributed by Penguin Random House
The Five Forces reveals how technology is unleashing forces that will forever alter our lives, politics, and society.
Discover what lies in our future…
• How will humans change as we merge with our machines?
• What happens when intelligent algorithms make all the decisions?
• Should we connect our brains directly to the Internet?
• And are we entering an age of simulated realities?
The Five Forces
- Mass Connectivity
What happens when brain chips connect our minds directly to the internet? Will we be able to boost our IQs, exchange memories, and communicate with our thoughts? Or will this turn into a nightmare, with corporations reading our minds, hackers overwriting our identities, and governments controlling our actions?
- Bio Convergence
Now that we can decode the building blocks of life and create new lifeforms that never existed before, what comes next? Will we conquer disease, resurrect extinct species, develop superior plants and animals, create DNA-edited babies, and even spawn other intelligent beings?
- Human Expansionism
Is it our manifest destiny to colonize Mars and extend the human race beyond the limits of our solar system? How will technologies like space travel, new materials, and nanotech transform our civilization and open up new horizons we never imagined possible?
- Deep Automation
As our machines become capable enough to do every job better, faster, and cheaper, how will this affect society? Will we wind up delegating our most important decisions to data crunching algorithms? And does this mean our machines will end up running our economies, our corporations, and even our lives?
- Intelligence Explosion
As soon as we create a superintelligence that far surpasses human capabilities, what will happen to us? Will we be able to control our machines, or will they eventually control us? Are we headed for a paradise of plenty, where our technology eliminates hunger, disease, poverty, and war? Or will this be the end of our reign as the rulers of the planet?
The Five Forces 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.
With scientists in Japan creating humanoid robots, Silicon Valley biohackers boosting their IQs, and Chinese labs developing human-monkey chimeras, Hoffman gives an inside look at the limits of what’s possible today and the impact these developments will have.
“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
Table of Contents
Force 1: Mass Connectivity
- The Neural Pioneers
- Neural Implants and Brain Chips
- Next-Gen Brain-Machine Interfaces
- Mind Assistants and Brain Applications
- Brain Hacking, Mind Control, and Mental Privacy
- The Next Wave of Virtual Reality
- Artificial Sensory Perception
- Is the World a Simulation?
- Hyperlayers: Augmented Reality
- Mixed Reality: Living a Multimodal Existence
- The Seventh Wave of Mass Connectivity
Force 2: Bio Convergence
- Wetware Warriors: Biohackers on the Loose
- Grinders and Cyborgs
- Reshaping the Human Anatomy
- Smart Drugs, Energy Boosters, and Super Supplements
- Life Extension: The Epic of Gilgamesh
- The Global Impact of Life Extension
- Cryogenics, Rebirth, and Rabbit Brains
- The Clones Are Coming
- The Bionic Body
- The CRISPR Revolution
- Gene Drives
- Cow Cultures: Lab-Grown Meats
- DNA and Organic Computers
- Chimeras, Bioprinting, and Transgenic Life-Forms
- Genetic Imagineers: A Brave New World
Force 3: Human Expansionism
- Quantum Computing
- The Birth of New Materials
- Nanoscale: Manipulating Molecules and Atoms
- Nanobots: Miniature Medical Machines
- Masters of the Universe or Mass Extinction?
- Mission to Mars
- Building an Interplanetary Ecosystem
- Space Pioneers and the Gold Rush
- The Space Economy
- Warp Drive: Far-Out Ideas
- Life on Other Planets
Force 4: Deep Automation
- Smart Cities: Dreams of Magic Kingdoms
- Smart Governments
- Robo Cops: Autonomous Policing
- The State of Surveillance: AI Is Watching You
- AI Fortune-Tellers: The Prediction Machines
- Reinventing Education
- Algorithmic Art: Can AI Be Creative?
- Silicon Valley and the Future of Hollywood
- Lights-Out Factories and Supply Chain Automation
- Roboto: Smart Hospitals and Health Tech
- Algorithmic Agriculture
- Robots to the Rescue
- The Future of Work: A Jobless Society?
Force 5: Intelligence Explosion
- Singularity: The Superintelligence Is Coming
- Can Machines Be Conscious?
- Society and Sentient Machines
- Humanoid Robots and Emotional Machines
- Can You Love a Robot?
- AI Bosses: Working for the Bot
- Self-Learning AIs and Evolutionary Robots
- AI Economies: The Centralization of Power
- Superintelligence: A Philosopher King in a Box
- Hatching Demons: Will AI Destroy Us?
- Merging with Our Machines
- Brain Net: Tapping the Subconscious
- Uploading Ourselves: Hyperconnected Realities
- Augmenting Our Senses: Neuroscience and Perception
- Organoids and Biological Super Brains
- The Coming of Super Sentience