Future Imperfect describes and discusses a variety of technological revolutions that might happen over the next few decades, their implications and how to deal with them. Topics range from encryption and surveillance through biotechnology and nanotechnology to life extension, mind drugs, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. One theme of the book is that the future is radically uncertain. Technological changes already begun could lead to more or less privacy than we have ever known, freedom or slavery, effective immortality or the elimination of our species, and radical changes in life, marriage, law, medicine, work and play. We do not know which future will arrive, but it is unlikely to be much like the past. It is worth starting to think about it now.
David D. Friedman is Professor of Law at Santa Clara University, California. His first book, The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism, was published in 1973, remains in print and is considered a libertarian classic. His scientific interest in the future is also long-standing. Professor Friedman's web page, www.davidfriedman.com, averages more than 3,000 visitors a day and his blog, Ideas, at http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com receives about 400 daily visits.
Part I. Prolog: 1. Introduction; 2. Living with change; Part II. Privacy and Technology: 3. A world of strong privacy; 4. Information processing: threat or menace? or if information is property, who owns it?; 5. Surveillance tech: the universal panopticon; Part III. Doing Business Online: 6. Ecash; 7. Contracts in cyberspace; 8. Watermarks and barbed wire; 9. Reactionary progress - amateur scholars and open source; 10. Intermission: what's a meta phor?; Part IV. Crime and Control: 11. The future of computer crime; 12. Law enforcement x 2; Part V. Biotechnologies: 13. Human reproduction; 14. The more you know ...; 15. As gods in the garden; 16. Mind drugs; Part VI. The Real Science Fiction: 17. The last lethal disease; 18. Very small Legos; 19. Dangerous company; 20. All in your mind; 21. The final frontier; 22. Interesting times.