Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly Weinersmith

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

What will the world of tomorrow be like? How does progress happen? And why do we not have a lunar colony already? What is the hold-up?In this smart and funny book, celebrated cartoonist Zach Weinersmith and noted researcher Dr. Kelly Weinersmith give us a snapshot of what's coming next -- from robot swarms to nuclear fusion powered-toasters. By weaving their own research,...

Title:Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything
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Edition Language:English

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything Reviews

  • Virginia

    This is a really fun collection of ten technologies currently in R&D. The Weinersmiths combine fact and humor to create a book that's so informative and silly you'll want to read it again and again.

    Zach Weinersmith is the creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a popular geek webcomic great for fans of XKCD. His wife, Dr. Kelly Weinersmith, is an accomplished scientist whose work has been featured through many popular science venues. They worked together to explain complicated technol

    This is a really fun collection of ten technologies currently in R&D. The Weinersmiths combine fact and humor to create a book that's so informative and silly you'll want to read it again and again.

    Zach Weinersmith is the creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a popular geek webcomic great for fans of XKCD. His wife, Dr. Kelly Weinersmith, is an accomplished scientist whose work has been featured through many popular science venues. They worked together to explain complicated technology and science in such a way that those who last took a science class in high school can understand what they're talking about. Their combined wit and self-deprecating humor make the writing exciting while Zach's cartoons help break up all the heavy concepts with a good laugh. Personally, I find that if I'm laughing while learning, the concepts stick with me better.

    For anyone who enjoys books like WHAT IF? and science podcasts, this will be an excellent book to add to your shelf. This is a great informative book about what technologies are being researched and which ones might come out soonish.

    ***I read this book thanks to an ARC I received***

  • Lisa Kucharski

    Enjoyed the book and the humor involved. It's nice to see what different people are seeing as the "on the horizon" tech. It's written with humor but also explains the reality of where things are and how far they are from happening be it, costly to well... we haven't worked out all the bugs yet... hmmm.

    The book covers 10 "areas". 1. Space Traveling. 2. Asteroid Mining 3. Fusion Power. 4. Programmable Matter (my fave) 5. Robotic Construction. 6. Augmented Reality 7. Synthetic Biology (yikes). 8. P

    Enjoyed the book and the humor involved. It's nice to see what different people are seeing as the "on the horizon" tech. It's written with humor but also explains the reality of where things are and how far they are from happening be it, costly to well... we haven't worked out all the bugs yet... hmmm.

    The book covers 10 "areas". 1. Space Traveling. 2. Asteroid Mining 3. Fusion Power. 4. Programmable Matter (my fave) 5. Robotic Construction. 6. Augmented Reality 7. Synthetic Biology (yikes). 8. Precision Medicine (still tricky). 9. Bioprinting (like as in to print a liver) 10 Brain Computer Interface (fork in the brain)

    Then it ends with chapters that didn't make it.

    If you have a nerd friend and are wondering what to get them this would be a good book, though you should also check to see they don't have it already. I'm reading an advanced copy so I didn't get to see the color cartoons which are throughout the book as well.

    The best thing about the book is the examination of where we are and why things are slowly progressing... that analysis of what it takes to make something happen... the shining idea and the crash of reality. However the way people are approaching the reality to make things happen are very interesting.

    If you need a good dose of humor with your science probably a good book for you. I just like humor everywhere so it works for me.

  • Cristina

    Power couple SMBC cartoonist & Rice University professor pick apart ten burgeoning fields of research: from space elevators, nanorobot swarms, 3D organ printing to brain-computer interfaces... and beyond! It’s no small feat predicting how upcoming technological advancements will play out -- both accidental discoveries and the complex dynamics of interacting fields of research can really throw a wrench in timelines (we were promised self-tying shoes and hoverboards damnit!), but the Wienersmi

    Power couple SMBC cartoonist & Rice University professor pick apart ten burgeoning fields of research: from space elevators, nanorobot swarms, 3D organ printing to brain-computer interfaces... and beyond! It’s no small feat predicting how upcoming technological advancements will play out -- both accidental discoveries and the complex dynamics of interacting fields of research can really throw a wrench in timelines (we were promised self-tying shoes and hoverboards damnit!), but the Wienersmiths do a fantastic job of presenting what’s out there, where it’s likely headed, and what we can expect to see Soonish.

  • Patrick

    I was bamboozled.

    I read a fantastic book called “Filmish” which uses a comic-book format to discuss the history of cinema.

    When I saw a book called “Soonish”, which promised “a hilariously illustrated investigation into future technologies”, I imagined a science-focused “Filmish”.

    This was not that book.

    The illustrations were sparse and amateurish, the humor falls flat in most places, and although the science is accurate enough, the writing is juvenile and condescending at times.

    This book would be

    I was bamboozled.

    I read a fantastic book called “Filmish” which uses a comic-book format to discuss the history of cinema.

    When I saw a book called “Soonish”, which promised “a hilariously illustrated investigation into future technologies”, I imagined a science-focused “Filmish”.

    This was not that book.

    The illustrations were sparse and amateurish, the humor falls flat in most places, and although the science is accurate enough, the writing is juvenile and condescending at times.

    This book would be a lot shorter (and better) without the poor illustrations and lame attempt at humor.

  • Kyle Bunkers

    If you enjoy SMBC, then you will enjoy this book. The authors do a good job of injecting their humor into well-done explanations of possible future technologies. They do a very fair job of evaluating what a possible future technology will do, its benefits and possible downsides, and they get a good spread of experts. The topics covered range from energy to biology to space travel.

    I didn't notice any major errors in any of the areas I was familiar with and so would give pretty high confidence in

    If you enjoy SMBC, then you will enjoy this book. The authors do a good job of injecting their humor into well-done explanations of possible future technologies. They do a very fair job of evaluating what a possible future technology will do, its benefits and possible downsides, and they get a good spread of experts. The topics covered range from energy to biology to space travel.

    I didn't notice any major errors in any of the areas I was familiar with and so would give pretty high confidence in all that they said. The one minor error that I noticed was in the fusion section. I happen to work in magnetically confined fusion. They said that to heat plasmas "They electrocute it, microwave it, and fire a beam of neutrons at it". We most assuredly do not fire a beam of neutrons at it, but we fire a beam of neutrals (that is a particle with no net charge, or non-plasma). This technology is quite interesting on its own (look up netural beam injection on wikipedia). This is a common misinterpretation ("neutron" for "neutral" since they sound similar), though.

    Otherwise, I definitely recommend the book, but I like the style of humor. If you don't like SMBC, then you probably won't like the style of the book.

  • Paula Lyle

    This book is entirely entertaining and funny. Real science with irreverent humor and great stories. I'm not sure that I really got all the science, but that is not the fault of the authors. Very interesting.

  • Paperclippe

    If you're a citizen of the internet, you've seen Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Trust me, you have. If you think you haven't, go google "Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal," and then be like, "Oh yeah, that," and then come back to this review.

    So, Zach and Kelly wrote a book.

    Pals, it's fantastic.

    So, it's funny. You were probably expecting that.

    So, it's got comics. You were probably expecting that.

    What you might not have been expecting was one of the most thoroughly researched, best explained,

    If you're a citizen of the internet, you've seen Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Trust me, you have. If you think you haven't, go google "Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal," and then be like, "Oh yeah, that," and then come back to this review.

    So, Zach and Kelly wrote a book.

    Pals, it's fantastic.

    So, it's funny. You were probably expecting that.

    So, it's got comics. You were probably expecting that.

    What you might not have been expecting was one of the most thoroughly researched, best explained, unbiased looks at the future of technology and how it will change our world and ourselves. And that, actually, is the majority of what you get in Soonish. It's deeply insightful, very thorough, and incredibly easy to understand, even if you have absolutely - and I mean absolutely - no background in any of the hugely daunting topics, from robotics to bioethics, presented.

    Also it's funny and there are comics.

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    I had problems with the layout and illustrations but that may have to do with the way I approach books. fairly good on the science with one misstep. i think she underestimates the prospects for quantum computing which might be on the verge of taking off as I write. Anyway not a book for me but that doesn't mean it is a bad book.

  • D.L. Morrese

    Technological advances can change the world. They have before. Human civilization was significantly altered in the not-so-distant past by indoor plumbing, steam power, and the assembly line. Imagine how different your life would be without electricity, automobiles, computers, and the internet. One can argue about the costs and benefits, but no one can dispute that such things have had wide-ranging impacts on how we live. Innovations like these were the result of brilliant people striving to unde

    Technological advances can change the world. They have before. Human civilization was significantly altered in the not-so-distant past by indoor plumbing, steam power, and the assembly line. Imagine how different your life would be without electricity, automobiles, computers, and the internet. One can argue about the costs and benefits, but no one can dispute that such things have had wide-ranging impacts on how we live. Innovations like these were the result of brilliant people striving to understand the forces of nature and then inventing new ways to harness them to improve our lives. This process continues today. (If it ever stops, we're in trouble.)

    In

    , a husband and wife team (a cartoonist and a biological scientist) explore ten areas that may soon (or soonish) bring about such life-altering changes: cheap access to space, asteroid mining, fusion power, programmable matter, robotic construction, augmented reality, synthetic biology, precision medicine, bioprinting, and brain-computer interfaces. For each of these, they explain what it is, how close we are to achieving it (and why we might not), things to be concerned about, and how it could change the world. It's not a comprehensive list of emerging technologies nor is it an overly detailed one. It doesn't predict that these things will happen. It doesn't promise a brighter future or warn of an impending apocalypse. It doesn't argue that these things should or should not be pursued. It's a reasonably objective overview for casual readers of areas that are currently being explored, interspersed with humor and cartoons, and it's a surprisingly entertaining read. I know I enjoyed it.

  • Rachel Noel

    I picked this book up because I'm a fan of Zach Weinersmith's web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC). I actually pre-ordered the book because I liked his writing and non-fiction about technology is usually a big win with me. I was not disappointed!

    The potential technologies brought up in Soonish were not just computer science based. They cover many areas of science including medical, world enhancements and energy. Many of the topics covered are ones I had no idea we were so close to.

    I picked this book up because I'm a fan of Zach Weinersmith's web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (SMBC). I actually pre-ordered the book because I liked his writing and non-fiction about technology is usually a big win with me. I was not disappointed!

    The potential technologies brought up in Soonish were not just computer science based. They cover many areas of science including medical, world enhancements and energy. Many of the topics covered are ones I had no idea we were so close to. Programmable matter would be an incredible game changer in the world, for better and worse.

    And that's something else that I really appreciated about this book. Each technology sounds like it would be an incredible boon to mankind. So the authors have made sure to include a "Concerns" section for each of these potential marvels. It is important that these exciting innovations are properly thought through and discussed. As much fun as it was thinking that Asteroid Mining could soon be a reality, what would be the actual economic effects? Being able to 3D print your own replacement heart valve or liver sounds like nothing but good news (and the authors do struggle to find a concern for this one) but how do we make it fair to those who may not be able to afford this marvel?

    As much fun as the content is to read, the comics that they include are fun as well. Sometimes they're included to help drive a point home. Other times they're included to show the authors' sense of humor. For example, one comic shows Elon Musk walking on Mars and proclaiming "Finders Keepers" to talk about the legal issues of private companies driving the space program. Another comic shows one of the authors assuring Dr. Elvis they will not draw him as Elvis (though they totally do).

    Overall, I'm glad I got this book. If you're looking for a science, non-fiction with a good sense of humor, you'll enjoy this.

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