The Skeptics’ Guide to the Future: What Yesterday’s Science and Science Fiction Tells Us about the World of Tomorrow

Written by Steven Novella

From Grand Central Publishing:

From the bestselling authors and hosts of “The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe,” a high-tech roadmap of the future in their beloved voice, cracking open the follies of futurists past and how technology will profoundly change our world, redefining what it means to be human.

Our predictions of the future are a wild fantasy, inextricably linked to our present hopes and fears, biases and ignorance. Whether they be the outlandish leaps predicted in the 1920s, like multi-purpose utility belts with climate control capabilities and planes the size of luxury cruise ships, or the forecasts of the ‘60s, which didn’t anticipate the sexual revolution or women’s liberation, the path to the present is littered with failed predictions and incorrect estimations. The best we can do is try to absorb the lessons from futurism’s checkered past, perhaps learning to do a little better.

In THE SKEPTICS’ GUIDE TO THE FUTURE, Steven Novella and his co-authors build upon the work of futurists of the past by examining what they got right, what they got wrong, and how they came to those conclusions. By exploring the pitfalls of each era, they give their own speculations about the distant future, transformed by unbelievable technology ranging from genetic manipulation to artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Applying their trademark skepticism, they carefully extrapolate upon each scientific development, leaving no stone unturned as they lay out a vision for the future.

“Steve Novella and crew are serious, knowledgeable nerds. They use their critical thinking skills to analyze what is and isn’t possible . . . or likely. Along with some remarkable insights, they’ve written a little science-based fiction of their own that is a delight to read. It’s a well-researched, well-reasoned reference book.”―Bill Nye, CEO, the Planetary Society


“[A]n entertaining evaluation of futurism. . . The result is pop science done right.”―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A gimlet-eyed look at the promises of technology and futurists past. . . An intriguing if bet-hedging work of futurology that calls into question the whole business of futurology itself.”―Kirkus Reviews

“A fun overview of both the current state of modern science and a general survey of the history of futurism.”―Booklist

“I think that anyone who has been fascinated with the future, as I assume most people have at one time or another, should check out The Skeptics Guide to the Future. . . [I]t gives such an interesting take and view in which we should all look at the future. The realist perspective created more hope in me because it felt like the trajectory presented was achievable because of the building blocks already around.”―Cosmic Circus