Humanity has reached a critical moment. Our world is unsettled and rapidly changing, and we face existential risks over the next century. Various prospects for the future – good and bad – are possible. Yet our approach to the future is characterized by short-term thinking, polarizing debates, alarmist rhetoric, and pessimism.
In his latest book, renowned scientist and bestselling author Martin Rees argues that humanity’s future depends on our taking a very different approach to thinking about and planning for tomorrow.
The future of humanity is bound to the future of science, and our prospects hinge on how successfully we harness technological advances to address the challenges to our collective future. If we are to use science to solve our problems while avoiding its dystopian risks, we must think rationally, globally, collectively, and optimistically about the long-term future.
With Oxford University Vice Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, Professor Alastair Buchan, Professor Dame Carol Robinson and Professor Susan Lea
In the 1950s, science was altered forever by the discovery of the structure of DNA and how genes work: we are now on the verge of a second transformation. The extraordinary convergence of breakthroughs across different scientific disciplines is driving a revolution in biomedical science and enabling us to study the complexity of cells for the first time. Cells are the fundamental units that make up our bodies; consequently, their malfunction underlies almost all disease. By learning how cells function at a mechanical level – what goes wrong with them, how we can fix them and how drugs work – scientists expect to develop entirely new approaches to combatting diseases of the 21st Century, such as dementia and other neurodegenerative conditions, cancer and infections associated with the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Oxford is the top ranked university in the world for medical science and its scientists are at the forefront of these efforts, bringing together the traditionally distinct areas of physical and life sciences to advance our understanding in this critical area.