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Human Frontiers

The Future of Big Ideas in an Age of Small Thinking

Michael Bhaskar

$34.99

Paperback

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The Bridge Street Press
31 August 2021
'A fascinating, must-read book covering a vast array of topics from the arts to the sciences, technology to policy. This is a brilliant and thought-provoking response to one of the most critical questions of our age: how we will come up with the next generation of innovation and truly fresh ideas?'

Mustafa Suleyman, cofounder of DeepMind and Google VP

'Have big ideas and big social and economic changes disappeared from the scene? Michael Bhaskar's Human Frontiers is the best look at these all-important questions.'

Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation and The Complacent Class

'Michael Bhaskar explores the disturbing possibility that a complacent, cautious civilization has lost ambition and is slowly sinking into technological stagnation rather than accelerating into a magical future. He is calling for bold, adventurous innovators to go big again. A fascinating book'

Matt Ridley, author of How Innovation Works

Where next for humanity? Is our future one of endless improvement in all areas of life, from technology and travel to medicine, movies and music? Or are our best years behind us?

It's easy to assume that the story of modern society is one of consistent, radical progress, but this is no longer true: more academics are researching than ever before but their work leads to fewer breakthroughs; innovation is incremental, limited to the digital sphere; the much-vaunted cure for cancer remains elusive; space travel has stalled since the heady era of the moonshot; politics is stuck in a rut, and the creative industries seem trapped in an ongoing cycle of rehashing genres and classics.

The most ambitious ideas now struggle. Our great-great-great grandparents saw a series of transformative ideas revolutionise almost everything in just a few decades. Today, in contrast, short termism, risk aversion, and fractious decision making leaves the landscape timid and unimaginative.

In Human Frontiers, Michael Bhaskar draws a vividly entertaining and expansive portrait of humanity's relationship with big ideas. He argues that stasis at the frontier is the result of having already pushed so far, taken easy wins and started to hit limits. But new thinking is still possible. By adopting bold global approaches, deploying cutting edge technology like AI and embracing a culture of change, we can push through and expand afresh.

Perfect for anyone who has wondered why we haven't gone further, this book shows in fascinating detail how the 21st century could stall - or be the most revolutionary time in human history.
By:  
Imprint:   The Bridge Street Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   565g
ISBN:   9780349128276
ISBN 10:   0349128278
Pages:   432
Publication Date:  
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Michael Bhaskar is a writer, publisher, researcher and entrepreneur. He is Co-Founder of Canelo, a new kind of publishing company. Between 2017 and 2019 he was a consultant Writer in Residence at DeepMind, the world's leading AI research lab. He has written and talked extensively about the future of media and technology around the world. He has been featured in and written for the Guardian, the FT and Wired and on BBC 2, the BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and NPR among others. Michael has been a British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur, a Frankfurt Book Fair Fellow and a Visiting Researcher at Oxford Brookes University. He has written a prize-winning monograph, The Content Machine, and Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess. He is also the lead author of the Literature in the 21st Century report and is co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Publishing. His books have been translated into nine languages, and he can be found on Twitter as @michaelbhaskar.

Reviews for Human Frontiers: The Future of Big Ideas in an Age of Small Thinking

A fascinating, must-read book on a vast array of topics from the arts to the sciences, technology to policy. This is a thought-provoking and exhilarating wide-angle view of a question of fundamental importance: how we will come up with the next generation of innovation and fresh thinking -- Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of DeepMind Michael Bhaskar explores the disturbing possibility that a complacent, cautious civilisation has lost ambition, and is slowly sinking into technological stagnation, rather than accelerating into a magical future. He is calling for bold, adventurous innovators to go big again. A fascinating book -- Matt Ridley, author of HOW INNOVATON WORKS Have 'Big Ideas' and big social and economic changes disappeared from the scene? Michael Bhaskar's HUMAN FRONTIERS is the best look at these all-important questions -- Tyler Cowen, author of THE GREAT STAGNATION and THE COMPLACENT CLASS Sweeping in scope and thought-provoking throughout, HUMAN FRONTIERS is vital for understanding every aspect of Big Ideas: their origins, their role in societal progress, and how we can make more of them. While the increasing complexity of our world and our knowledge means finding big ideas is going to get harder, Michael Bhaskar is both clear-eyed and deeply optimistic, arguing that we are not forever doomed to a paucity of big ideas, laying out ways of ensuring the human frontier continues to push forward. A paean to curiosity, HUMAN FRONTIERS is essential reading for understanding how science and progress works, and how it can work in the future -- Samuel Arbesman, Scientist in Residence at Lux Capital and author of OVERCOMPLICATED and THE HALF-LIFE OF FACTS The world's big ideas are slowing down, but it needn't be that way. Bhaskar brilliantly shows how we can do better. If you loved books like HUMANKIND and SAPIENS, you'll love HUMAN FRONTIERS -- David Bodanis, author of EINSTEIN'S GREATEST MISTAKE and THE ART OF FAIRNESS Ideas through history have made their precarious way across a bridge from first conception to their understanding and acceptance, and in doing so often reconfigure our world. But is this vital process slowing down and stagnating? With infectious enthusiasm and verve Michael Bhaskar addresses these questions by taking us on an exhilarating grand tour of the history and future of big ideas. Bhaskar's inspiring call to arms, shining a bright and unflinching light on the challenges we face, is itself a reason to feel hopeful -- Ziyad Marar, author of JUDGED: THE VALUE OF BEING MISUNDERSTOOD HUMAN FRONTIERS is the most important book that I have read in a long time. With a broadside of explosive arguments, superb examples that effortlessly jump from big science to literature and back again, and an unputdownable writing style, Michael Bhaskar explains why our civilization appears to have run out of Big Ideas. An essential read -- Mark Piesing, journalist and author of N-4 DOWN: THE HUNT FOR THE ARCTIC AIRSHIP ITALIA


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