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The Future

Cover of The Future

The Future

Six Drivers of Global Change
by Al Gore
Borrow Borrow Borrow

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From the former vice president and #1 New York Times bestselling author comes An Inconvenient Truth for everything--a frank and clear-eyed assessment of six critical drivers of global change in the decades to come.

Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in history. With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change, and with his decades of experience on the front lines of global policy, Al Gore surveys our planet's beclouded horizon and offers a sober, learned, and ultimately hopeful forecast in the visionary tradition of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock and John Naisbitt's Megatrends. In The Future, Gore identifies the emerging forces that are reshaping our world:

  • Ever-increasing economic globalization has led to the emergence of what he labels "Earth Inc."--an integrated holistic entity with a new and different relationship to capital, labor, consumer markets, and national governments than in the past.
  • The worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions have led to the emergence of "the Global Mind," which links the thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases.
  • The balance of global political, economic, and military power is shifting more profoundly than at any time in the last five hundred years--from a U.S.-centered system to one with multiple emerging centers of power, from nation-states to private actors, and from political systems to markets.
  • A deeply flawed economic compass is leading us to unsustainable growth in consumption, pollution flows, and depletion of the planet's strategic resources of topsoil, freshwater, and living species.
  • Genomic, biotechnology, neuroscience, and life sciences revolutions are radically transforming the fields of medicine, agriculture, and molecular science--and are putting control of evolution in human hands.
  • There has been a radical disruption of the relationship between human beings and the earth's ecosystems, along with the beginning of a revolutionary transformation of energy systems, agriculture, transportation, and construction worldwide.

    From his earliest days in public life, Al Gore has been warning us of the promise and peril of emergent truths--no matter how "inconvenient" they may seem to be. As absorbing as it is visionary, The Future is a map of the world to come, from a man who has looked ahead before and been proven all too right.

    Praise for The Future

    "Magisterial . . . The passion is unmistakable. So is the knowledge. Practically every page offers an illumination."--Bloomberg

    "In The Future . . . Gore takes on a subject whose scale matches that of his achievements and ambition."--The New York Times Book Review

    "Historically grounded . . . Gore's strengths lie in his passion for the subject and in his ability to take the long view by putting current events and trends in historical context."--Publishers Weekly

    "Provocative, smart, densely argued . . . a tour de force of Big Picture thinking."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "A luminously intelligent analysis that is packed with arresting ideas and facts."--The Guardian

    From the Hardcover edition.
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    From the former vice president and #1 New York Times bestselling author comes An Inconvenient Truth for everything--a frank and clear-eyed assessment of six critical drivers of global change in the decades to come.

    Ours is a time of revolutionary change that has no precedent in history. With the same passion he brought to the challenge of climate change, and with his decades of experience on the front lines of global policy, Al Gore surveys our planet's beclouded horizon and offers a sober, learned, and ultimately hopeful forecast in the visionary tradition of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock and John Naisbitt's Megatrends. In The Future, Gore identifies the emerging forces that are reshaping our world:

  • Ever-increasing economic globalization has led to the emergence of what he labels "Earth Inc."--an integrated holistic entity with a new and different relationship to capital, labor, consumer markets, and national governments than in the past.
  • The worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions have led to the emergence of "the Global Mind," which links the thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases.
  • The balance of global political, economic, and military power is shifting more profoundly than at any time in the last five hundred years--from a U.S.-centered system to one with multiple emerging centers of power, from nation-states to private actors, and from political systems to markets.
  • A deeply flawed economic compass is leading us to unsustainable growth in consumption, pollution flows, and depletion of the planet's strategic resources of topsoil, freshwater, and living species.
  • Genomic, biotechnology, neuroscience, and life sciences revolutions are radically transforming the fields of medicine, agriculture, and molecular science--and are putting control of evolution in human hands.
  • There has been a radical disruption of the relationship between human beings and the earth's ecosystems, along with the beginning of a revolutionary transformation of energy systems, agriculture, transportation, and construction worldwide.

    From his earliest days in public life, Al Gore has been warning us of the promise and peril of emergent truths--no matter how "inconvenient" they may seem to be. As absorbing as it is visionary, The Future is a map of the world to come, from a man who has looked ahead before and been proven all too right.

    Praise for The Future

    "Magisterial . . . The passion is unmistakable. So is the knowledge. Practically every page offers an illumination."--Bloomberg

    "In The Future . . . Gore takes on a subject whose scale matches that of his achievements and ambition."--The New York Times Book Review

    "Historically grounded . . . Gore's strengths lie in his passion for the subject and in his ability to take the long view by putting current events and trends in historical context."--Publishers Weekly

    "Provocative, smart, densely argued . . . a tour de force of Big Picture thinking."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "A luminously intelligent analysis that is packed with arresting ideas and facts."--The Guardian

    From the Hardcover edition.
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    Awards-
    Excerpts-
    • INTRODUCTION

      Like many fulfilling journeys, this book began not with answers but with a question. Eight years ago, when I was on the road, someone asked me: "What are the drivers of global change?" I listed several of the usual suspects and left it at that. Yet the next morning, on the long plane flight home, the question kept pulling me back, demanding that I answer it more precisely and accurately---not by relying on preconceived dogma but by letting the emerging evidence about an emerging world take me where it would. The question, it turned out, had a future of its own. I started an outline on my computer and spent several hours listing headings and subheadings, then changing their rank order and relative magnitude, moving them from one category to another and filling in more and more details after each rereading.

      As I spent the ensuing years raising awareness about climate change and pursuing a business career, I continued to revisit, revise, and sharpen the outline until finally, two years ago, I concluded that it would not leave me alone until I dug in and tried to thoroughly answer the question that had turned into something of an obsession.
      What emerged was this book, a book about the six most important drivers of global change, how they are converging and interacting with one another, where they are taking us, and how we as human beings---and as a global civilization---can best affect the way these changes unfold. In order to reclaim control of our destiny and shape the future, we must think freshly and clearly about the crucial choices that confront us as a result of:

      • The emergence of a deeply interconnected global economy that increasingly operates as a fully integrated holistic entity with a completely new and different relationship to capital flows, labor, consumer markets, and national governments than in the past;

      • The emergence of a planet--wide electronic communications grid connecting the thoughts and feelings of billions of people and linking them to rapidly expanding volumes of data, to a fast growing web of sensors being embedded ubiquitously throughout the world, and to increasingly intelligent devices, robots, and thinking machines, the smartest of which already exceed the capabilities of humans in performing a growing list of discrete mental tasks and may soon surpass us in manifestations of intelligence we have always assumed would remain the unique province of our species;

      • The emergence of a completely new balance of political, economic, and military power in the world that is radically different from the equilibrium that characterized the second half of the twentieth century, during which the United States of America provided global leadership and stability---shifting influence and initiative from West to East, from wealthy countries to rapidly emerging centers of power throughout the world, from nation--states to private actors, and from political systems to markets;

      • The emergence of rapid unsustainable growth---in population; cities; resource consumption; depletion of topsoil, freshwater supplies, and living species; pollution flows; and economic output that is measured and guided by an absurd and distorted set of universally accepted metrics that blinds us to the destructive consequences of the self--deceiving choices we are routinely making;

      • The emergence of a revolutionary new set of powerful biological, biochemical, genetic, and materials science technologies that are enabling us to reconstitute the molecular design of all solid matter, reweave the fabric of life itself, alter the physical form, traits, characteristics, and properties of plants, animals, and...

    About the Author-
    • Former vice president Al Gore is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and a member of Apple Inc.'s board of directors. Gore spends the majority of his time as chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis. Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives four times and the U.S. Senate twice. He served eight years as vice president. He authored the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, and Our Choice. He is a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.



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