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Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- And What It Means to Be Human
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Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- And What It Means to Be Human

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  680 ratings  ·  52 reviews
In "Radical Evolution," bestselling author Joel Garreau, a reporter and editor for the" Washington Post," shows us that we are at an inflection point in history. As you read this, we are engineering the next stage of human evolution. Through advances in genetic, robotic, information and nanotechnologies, we are altering our minds, our memories, our metabolisms, our ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 17th 2005 by Doubleday Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Oct 22, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate this book with a passion, not for its content but for its form. He basically just mushed a ton of research into paragraph form, and a lot of it is so hard to follow. And his incessant use of random quotes from random people whom he only mentions once in the entire book.... aaargh stop it! It was like he was just trying to fill up space so he searched every possible quote about each topic in google and just threw it in there. So poorly written.
Wayland Smith
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Technology is advancing faster than it ever has, and that brings challenges with it. Garreau traveled around and interviewed experts in various fields, not only asking what was happening now, but what might happen in the future and how that would effect humans in general. The book confronts technological and ethical issues. Where are we going with our inventions, and who or what will we be when we get there?

These are complicated issues, and there are opposing viewpoints. We might create a
James Cambias
Radical Evolution is a look at how rapid and fundamental advances in technology could produce enormous changes in human life and even in what we define as "human" in a relatively short time. It's by Joel Garreau, a Washington Post writer who wrote two books I enjoyed immensely: The Nine Nations of North America (about regional differences in and around the U.S.A.) and Edge City (about the new urban landscape of suburban development).

In Radical Evolution he tackles the potentially world-changing
Within the GRIN technologies (Genetics, Robotics, Information, and Nanotechology), Garreau presents the latest advancements and how they could lead to four different scenarios: Heaven, Hell, Prevail, and Transcend. Ultimately, we are still in control of how technological advancements play out, for better or for worse.
Mar 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew!Very scary book.

I thought that the 80's was fast and furious with the internet coming of age. It pales in comparision to the what Mr. Garreau says is on the futures menu.

Mr Garreau talks about DARPA(Defensce Advance Research Projects Agency) and other agencies that are currently working on advanced technologies that will enhance our lives, or may destroy us.

Garreau talks about Moores Law, which he says is the reason that electronics capacity doubles every 18 months, and this time fram will
Philip Cosand
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and insightful.

When I started the book, I assumed that everything that could be said would be contained in the first section and the rest would be dragged out and a chore to read. Not so.

Framed more as an extensive magazine article than a scientific text, Garreau navigates the upcoming world of technology and its possible outcomes. While he offers an opinion now and then, he makes sure that all sides and views are represented.

Cuttlefish and skin that communicates, the repercussions
Jul 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow - I learned of this book from Tom's brother. I found it fascinating and perhaps necessary to read, and even scary if I weren't protected by the coating of optimism that lets me vote for the 'prevail' theory. While not written by a scientist, there were plenty of scientific facts, and while not written by a philosopher, there was plenty to "chew on" for a long time to come (or not long enough if some of the predictions are accurate). The book was actually written by a journalist, which made ...more
Dennis Littrell
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dense exploration of the technological explosion to come

This is about the so-called GRIN technologies: Genetic, Robotic, Information, and Nano. Properly speaking the title should be "Extreme Cultural Evolution," or perhaps "Accelerated Technological Evolution." "Radical" is used here in the sense of "extreme." Regardless of what we call it, for better or for worse, we will be enhancing our minds and bodies and changing the life forms around us, especially those we use for food. In fact we have
Samira Elytess
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: transhumanism
If you want to learn about Transhumansim, I'd recommend this book. To understand more about the experiments or technology in the book that may be vague, use youtube to see the videos.

I love the cover of the book. It is super exotic and gorgeous with the cobalt blue color.
Nazim Elmazi
Apr 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read an earlier version of this book from 2005. I suspect this review still applies.

This is absolutely one of the worst books I've ever read. What would it be like if an author bounces around from one topic to the next 10, all within one page? Now imagine a whole book of that.

So the style was bad, what about the content? Early in the book, I was concerned I was learning bad information that I would need to forcibly try to forget. The author barely has a grasp of the material and you can
Clarissa Lunday
This book was horrible writing, slightly sexist, didn’t match the argument and the only chapter that was good was the Prevail chapter.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pop account of near-future technological accelerations and explosions. (AKA transhumanism v bioconservatism.) We face four types of dislocating technologies: Genetics, Robotics, Infotech and Nanotech.

Garreau gives loads of stage time to two dogmatic cranks from each side: Kurzweil (booster technocrat), and Fukuyama (neocon fearmonger) as well as an unclassifiable polymath, Jaron Lanier. But this is sadly just the way science journalism is done, and Garreau is later courageous in half-endorsing
Nov 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if it is because this book was written nearly 10 years ago, or because I philosophically disagree with the author, or for some other reason that I can't put my finger on, but I really did not care for this book. It seemed outdated to me. It seemed fatalistic in a sense. It left no other options for the future than the ones presented in the book. Technology is both incredibly exciting and incredibly terrifying. It offers on one end extreme hope and on the other extreme despair. The ...more
What a very interesting book, at times hopeful and at times very scary. The author analyzes the impact technological advances will have on the future of humanity. His projections range from a scenario where the latest in technology makes mankind virtually immortal, and life wonderful and without hardship, called the "Heaven" scenario, to a time when machines, robots, and computers rule the world, with humans as slaves, the "Hell" predictions. The middle ground, called Prevail describes a time ...more
Funny now this book already feels kind of dated, and not because we have advanced any closer to the "singularity" since it was published, but because it's occasional outbursts of gee-whiz enthusiasm seem a product of a different time. Garreau is a journalist, not a philosopher, but his journalism isn't exactly hard-hitting. He doesn't ask too many difficult questions of his subjects, or himself really. For instance, it seems particularly significant to me that most of the development of the ...more
Gabe Stockman
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Radical Evolution, were do I begin. This Book deals with the idea of controlling human evolution, mostly though cybernetic and mechanical ways. Also, with the idea of what that means, and then what it means to be human (hence the splurge on the title). The books deals a lot with a (I believe governmental) corporation DARPA, which works on what the author describes as GRIN technologies genetics, robotics, information, and nanotechnology. The book talks about early one of the greatest advancements ...more
Wesley Fox
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Radical Evolution is both fascinating and frightening. Joel Garreau provides dozens of anecdotal stories of scientific progress toward human enhancement and the possibility of the first transhuman or posthuman. Despite the technical subject-matter Garreau writes in a very entertaining and accessible way. As he says, he focuses on how technology changes people and how we live with one another rather than focusing on the mechanisms of the technology itself. A lot of science fiction writers could ...more
Shea Mastison
May 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Joel Garreau examines three different ideological bents in the transhuman or posthuman worldview. The writing style is straight journalistic; who, what, when, where, and why. There's some analysis, which might be a drag under any other circumstances, but it works really well in this case; giving the narrative a down-to-earth feeling that it might not otherwise have.

The speculative nature of the book can seem a bit grating at points because the author seems to be laying on the "Gee-Willikers"
May 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic
Okay, I guess there was some "evolution" to this, but I kind of would have been more interested in the discussion of gene manipulation or selection and what kind of different types would be used first, stuff like that. This had some of that, certainly, but it also focused on several other areas including robotics and computers. I know that both of those connect in with the main topic, but it also felt as if it strayed too far into those areas while neglecting a real focus on bio evolution.

Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Things are weird and getting weird when it comes to technology and how we use it. This leads to all sorts of crazy predictions that may not, in fact, be that weird, from Ray Kurzweil's visions of a utopia in which man melds with machine to the nightmare scenarios of just about every sci fi novel or movie ever made in which technology run amok tries to kill us all, or a small elite of bad people use it to oppress the miserable masses. Garreau walks us through some of the human-enhancing ...more
Mark Valentine
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this in conjunction with Huxley's, Brave New World and Orwell's, 1984, and Anderson's, Feed. In this sense, it worked as a great companion to the fiction to balance out how close we are in achieving some radically different ways to change our culture and ourselves.

What I liked about Garreau's approach here is that he groups it into the dystopian, the utopian, and the mixed or balanced views. He has done extensive research in compiling his information and he has written it in such a way
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Garreau's thesis that human evolution is being fundamentally altered by technology is fascinating and, I believe, well supported. He builds alternative scenarios of a future global society irreversibly changed by computers and technology, weaving the words and work of contemporary leading tech-minds through his (mostly) neutral and well-researched discussion. Some of the ideas Garreau presents seem more sensationalist than scientific. But he maintains a journalistic neutrality in presenting ...more
Ed Finn
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I met the author before I started reading this and he turns out to be one of those people you hear loud and clear through his prose. In Joel's case, that's a great thing. He brings a great sense of humor and appreciation for life's glorious ironies to this...I want to say rollicking account of the future of humanity's "it's complicated" relationship with technology. Still holds up six years after it came out--I guess the singularity isn't quite here yet.
Sep 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: futurists
Recommended to Mitchell by:
I finished Radical Evolution after it's journey around the bus system. The book was very though provoking, and as I mentioned in my full blog, I was glad I read FutureHype first. Garreau assumes exponential growth with little resistance for the potential changes, but I think lots of folks will be very resistant to changing, shaping and modifying their own bodies (today's prevelance of piercings and skin art not discounted)

Oct 21, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: comp teachers looking to switch it up
Shelves: cyborgs
using this for a college comp course on cyborgism, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence. readable and engaging, provides a good broad overview of the state of advanced technology, as well as three different scenarios with which to consider it.

edit (4.28.2008): i am now so sick of this book. open to other recommendations.
Dennis W
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very happy to read this book. It's a little out there for the mainstream person, but that's the whole point. It definitely helps you open your mind to some interesting possibilities for how life and human nature could change over the next few decades. If you are looking for something to challenge yourself, this is a good one to pick up.
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up off the OMSI book shelf.

If you love science fiction, then you probably enjoy thinking about the future. This book discusses our potential future as humans and the technology that will shape our future.

Thought provoking, and perspective building. Especially the "Transcend" and "Prevail" scenarios outlined by the author.

Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: leaders, culture-watchers
Like all of Garreau's books, written a bit breezily but contains solid, thought-provoking material. Not only does he summarize his own introduction to the issue and his research process, he outlines three scenarios for our biologically-enhanced future. Very interesting (and, sooner or later, necessary) to think through all this from a confessional standpoint.
Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human - Nevisande : Joel Garreau - ISBN : 767915038 - ISBN13 : 9780767915038 - Dar 400 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2005
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