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As the Future Catches You: How Genomics and Other Forces Are Changing Your Life, Work, Health, and Wealth [Format Kindle]

Juan Enriquez

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If it seems like your world has been topsy-turvy over the past few years . . .
Consider what's coming.

Your genetic code will be imprinted on an ID card . . .
For better and worse.

Medicines will be tailored to your genes and will help prevent specific diseases for which you may be at risk.
(But . . . your insurance company and your prospective employer may also find out that you are genetically disposed to, say, heart disease, or breast cancer, or Alzheimer's.)

Meanwhile, lone individuals are birthing not just companies but entire industries that rapidly become bigger than the economies of most countries.
But unlike growth industries of the past . . . cars and aerospace, for example . . . the industries that will dominate our future depend on just a few smart minds . . .
Not a lot of manpower . . .
So during a period of prosperity and economic growth . . .
Wealth is ever more mobile and concentrated.

You and your children are about to face a series of unprecedented moral, ethical, economic, and financial issues.

The choices you make will impact where you live, what you earn, what your grandchildren will look like, how long you live.

It all starts because we are mixing apples, oranges, and floppy disks.

Put an orange on your desk . . .
Next to a floppy disk or CD . . .
Although each seems very different today . . .
They are becoming one and the same.

Your computer runs on a code based on "1"s and "0"s.
If you change the order and number of these 1s and 0s . . .
By tapping the keyboard . . .
You capitalize a letter, change a sentence, send an e-mail, transmit a photograph or music.
The floppy disk is simply the container for these 1s and 0s.
But it is reading and rewriting the code inside that drives change.

As of 1995, we began to read the full gene sequence of . . .
Bacteria, insects, plants, animals, humans.
It is written in a four-letter code (A, T, C, G) . . .
If you change this code, just as if you change the code in a floppy disk or on a CD . . .
You change the message, the product, the outcome.

We are beginning to acquire...
Direct and deliberate control...
Over the evolution of all life forms...
On the planet...

Including ourselves.

The skin and pulp of the orange that sits on your desk . . .
Is just packaging . . .
What matters is the code contained in the seeds.
Each seed has a long string of gene data that looks like . . .
The seed guides growth, how a tree and its leaves develop . . .
The size, flavor, color, shape of fruits.
If you can read the code . . .
And rewrite it . . .
You can turn an orange into a vaccine, a contraceptive, a polyester.
Each of these things has already been done in corn.

Today, bananas and potatoes can vaccinate you against things like cholera, hepatitis, diarrhea.
You can harvest bulletproof fibers . . .
Grow medicines in tobacco.
And it's not just apples, oranges, and corn that are rapidly becoming different organisms.


are flying hypodermic needles.
They can infect you with malaria, dengue, and other awful things.
They do so by transferring a little bit of genetic code
through their saliva . . .
Into your bloodstream . . .
Which then reprograms part of the way your cells operate . . .
By changing your genetic code ever so slightly . . .
In ways that can make you very sick.
So why not engineer mosquito genes so that they have the
opposite effect?

If mosquito saliva contained antibodies . . .
Or if you made it hard for malaria to mutate inside a mosquito's body . . .
You could immunize people and animals . . .
By making sure they were bitten.
Because the language of genes (A, T, C, G) is the same
for all creatures . . .
You can mix species.
If you are an artist, the genes that make jellyfish fluoresce
at night . . .
Can be used to make a bunny glow under black light.
If you are an M.D., the same genes can be placed in monkeys
to serve as markers . . .
Which help identify cures for diseases like Alzheimer's
and cancer.

By reading and rewriting the gene codes of bacteria, plants,
and animals . . .
We start to turn cells, seeds, and animal embryos into the
equivalent of floppy disks . . .
Data sets that can be changed and rewritten to fulfill
specific tasks.
We start deliberately mixing and matching apples and oranges . . .
Species . . .
Plants and animals.

These discoveries may seem distant, abstract, more than a little scary today.
But they will change the way you think about the world . . .
Where you work . . .
What you invest in . . .
The choices your children make about life . . .
What war looks like.

Many are unprepared for . . .
The violence and suddenness with which . . .
New technologies change . . .

Lives . . .

Companies . . .

Countries . . .

Because they do not understand what these
technologies can do.

From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

"After reading As the Future Catches You, shocking propositions feel like common sense. Juan Enriquez will change your view of change itself." —Nicholas Negroponte, author of Being Digital

“By far the best book I know to help us understand and cope with the powerful technologies that are about to change every aspect of our lives.” —Roger Fisher, coauthor of Getting to Yes

“With amazing insight and a graphical, almost poetical style of writing, Enriquez describes how computers, genomics, and other new technologies are shaping our present and future.” —Hamilton O. Smith, Nobel laureate in medicine

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5  52 commentaires
39 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Don't let first appearances fool you 21 octobre 2001
Par Chandra K. Clarke - Publié sur
When I first received this book and flipped through it, I was seriously tempted to send it back unread. The typesetting is... creative to say the least - lots of white space, multiple fonts, scattershot graphics. Indeed, it looks like you've received an extra long email from someone who's just discovered how to play with all the format settings. Given that I'd purchased a hard cover book at hard cover prices, I felt ripped off.
However, I decided to read it anyway, and I'm glad I did. It's a short read, but a wild ride, and it's packed with information about the biotech and economic revolution we're just getting into. There are lots of facts and figures to consider, and the author does an excellent job of providing thought-provoking analogies that may change the way you look at some things. In one example, he asks you to think of mosquitoes as flying hypodermic needles - right now these insects infect people with things like malaria, but scientists are trying to figure out how to use them to innoculate people instead.
This book would make an excellent Christmas gift for non-technical people who want to try to understand the potential impact of biotechnology, genetic engineering, computers, and the Internet. The choice of typesetting, it turns out, is deliberate: it's designed to convey the speed at which these changes are taking place, and it makes reading the book as easy as consuming a sound byte from the 11 o'clock news. It can get a bit heavy on the hype factor, but the author acknowledges this at the end.
It should also be required reading for all the politicians, bureaucrats and other politicos involved in making decisions about things like cloning, genetically modified foods etc. These people in particular have to be able to see past the immediate 'ick factor' reaction and to the long term economic consequences of the legislation they propose.
In short, its an excellent primer on the biotech revolution, and a great starting point for anyone seeking to understand what's happening. And even those who are used to, as I am, reading more technical material on this topic, it provides a good summary of what's happened to date, how technologies have converged, and what we might expect in the next decade.
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Easy to Read and VERY INSIGHTFUL 12 décembre 2001
Par Dan E. Ross - Publié sur
If you want to understand some of the "big picture" issues in our society I strongly encourage you to read this book. Peter Drucker's Management Challenges for the 21st Century and Daniel Pink's Free Agent Nation are two other good reads on a knowledge-based economy.
While Mr. Enriquez spends most of the book talking about genomics (his area of expertise and knowledge) and the implications arising from developments in the area, he also tries to illustrate the impact such discoveries might have on the world economy in a very basic, easy-to-understand manner. Mr. Enriquez does an excellent job in talking about the importance of education and how the large differences among certain geographic regions may lead to a larger divergence of wealth in the next century.
In talking about genomics, Mr. Enriquez is quick to talk about cloning and the moral and ethical issues that will arise from such technology and how it will be EXTREMELY TOUGH to policy this technology due to its rapid evolution and ability to move into other countries borders. In the past the evolution of public policy was adjusted with the technologies but genomics is different in that we are talking about the potential to create human life via cloning, which stirs up all kinds of moral and social issues which affects politicians and their voting constituencies.
The one thing I know is that genomics is revolutionizing modern medicine as we breathe today. The new drugs, cures and foods that will be created and these WILL have VERY PROFOUND impacts on our standard of living in the next century and will cause tons of social implications. This book is your entrance into learning about geonomics in a very easy to read book. I highly recommend purchase of the book.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Back to the Future 1 octobre 2006
Par Raja Mannar - Publié sur
This book is a blend of intresting observations and speculation on various hot technologies (gnemoics in particular) and it's likely impact on people and countries. It is an intresting book and can be easily followed by anybody (even without any intrest or knowledge of the subject). The page layout (with large typeface and fonts) may seem condescending to some of the serious readers, but i think it works in this case, since the book isn't verbose and the author packs thought and info in small sentences, which provokes one to pause and reflect. For eg: sample this: "there used to be one way of getting pregnant.. Now there are more than Seventeen" OR " A seed is an instruument designed to execute a genetic program that transforms soil, water and sun into Wood, Flower.. Fruit"

You need not know anything about Gneomics, Computers, Biology sciences or the various other technologies which this books quotes, to enjoy this book. It's pretty sweeping in scope and you need not necessarily agree with all that the author says about his versiion of the future (i did not). But, one can certainly give full marks to the author for making serious sciences entertaining, by sharing his thoughts on how it is/may impacting our lives.

The challenge and pitfalls in speculating about the future is ironically seen here - This book was written in 2001 and as such the author makes a glowing reference to the AOL-Timewarner merger (which later turned out into a disaster!); India and China are lumped as "having few resources, capital and respect for entrepreneurs", whereas the outsourcing boom in the last five years has clearly proved this wrong.

Not everyone will agree with the author's touting of Gene food (btw, this is not a default food in Europe) or the 'small population' advantage. Patents is relatively a western phenomenon, so comparing the number of patents of US to China or India seems out of place. Couple of chapters venture into politics of why many countries broke apart in the last fifty years and the treatment of it may seen one-dimensional. Afterall, the things that defines a nation is something more complex than what the author seems to define.

There is lot of great Links/references in the Appendix of the book for anybody intrested in exploring further on this topics.

Irrespective of what one's throughts are on the opinions and coverage in this book, i think this is a book which gives value for the time and money spend. It is thought provoking.

I would recommend it to all.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Good but Flawed Overview of Post-Genomics Technology Trends 27 janvier 2003
Par BlueJay54 - Publié sur
On the whole, this is a good read, integrating and extrapolating contemporary trends in national wealth & technology (especially genomics). Yet these insights suffer from several flaws. First is the uncritical idolatry of Craig Venter. Sure he pioneered excellent work in shotgun sequencing whole genomes. Yet Celera has now dumped Venter & their sequencers & the sale of genomic sequences (derived in part from PUBLIC information, I might add--although you wouldn't know it from *this* book), and is now in the business of finding new pharmaceuticals. This whole issue raises some important questions (like, "Who should legally 'own' gene sequence data?") that are nowhere addressed here. You can bet that the author spent NO TIME talking with Eric Lander, Francis Collins or other leaders of the public project. And there are business models besides Venter's (e.g., Big Pharma's public SNP consortium). Secondly, his chapter "Sleepless (and Angry) in Seattle"--on opposition to Globalization--is weak and vapid in the extreme. Apparently, there aren't any potential problems with rampant bioengineered tradition-busting world capitalism. Nor is there anything traditional worth salvaging from the slaughter. Enriquez' version of technology lacks vision, prioritization or leadership--its pure gang-busters. This might be fine, given leaders with moral authority a la Peter Drucker. But in our too-real post-Enron/WorldCom/Tyco world of sleazy ethics, criminal accounting and unabashed greed, I find it remarkably naive. And the environment? No problemo--global warming, air/water pollution, the fossilization of fossil fuel economies, & natural resource depletion notwithstanding. The anti-Globalization movement has some very important points that are sadly overlooked here. That said, the book offers a largely comprehensive and integrative look at the convergence of technologies facing us in the 21st century.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Introduction of the next wave ?? 4 novembre 2001
Par Naren Chawla - Publié sur
First of all, I would like to thank the author for exposing enoromous potential of genetic revolution (if you can call it that !). Also, the author provides an interesting look at history - history of nations. How some nations simply failed to progress due to faulty policy-making. From that regard, I would consider this book a must-read for policy-makers all across the world, specifically, developing countries like India, Mexico, etc..
This book is more like a article stretched into a book in an innovative way by using different fonts. Personally, I found the chaning fonts a bit irritating while reading. Author promises to publish three "serious" book going forward, this book is suppossed to be an introduction. It does a good job as an "introductory" book.
I wish the author had highlighted some more disturbing ramifications of "genetic engineering" . The movie "Gattaca" comes to mind.
In conclusion, this is a book that you could read in few hours and it gets you excited about some fascinating possibilities. However, it is skewed more towards hype.
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