Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 316
Soonish by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith is a book about emerging technologies—including where they these technologies are in their current stage of development and what they could potentially become. This is not a novel; it's an in-depth exploration of society and the level of technology it utilizes and interacts with and where this technology is going eventually.
In this book, the two discuss many groundbreaking ideas and how they will change society. One aspect that is threaded throughout the book is the idea that we can't predict how disruptive technology will be; if you try to pin it down, you are more likely to be wrong than right.
For instance, when discussing the concept of space elevators—a technological concept that involves tethering a satellite to the Earth with a superstructure one thousand times taller than a skyscraper that can transport humans—they mention that, currently, our best idea is to use carbon nanotubes. Unfortunately, carbon nanotubes can't be made long enough to make the elevator. What's more, they were only very recently discovered, while the idea of a space elevator has been in existence for far longer. They postulate that there will always be emerging technology that will disrupt the ideas we have and revolutionize the plans we have for the future.
If, for instance, a new material is invented in 20 years that is stronger than nanotubes and can be made even longer than they currently can, maybe it would accelerate the development of the space elevator. Or perhaps some other technological advancement will remove the need for the space elevator altogether.
This book explores the exciting future of technology, and the authors' wit and dynamic representations of the scientific principles make the book engaging and approachable for all audiences. They make it clear, though, that technology changes at breakneck pace, and we're farther from predicting where it will lead than we ever were.
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