Catalog of the Future
Tech TV's Catalog of Tomorrow: Trends Shaping Your Future edited by Andrew Zolli. Que Publishing. 2002. 288 pages. Paperback. Check price/buy book.
Colorful and creative are the best words to describe TechTV's Catalog of Tomorrow, a vibrant collection of the best, shiniest, and most cutting-edge toys and accessories the near-future has to offer. Cable television network TechTV is uniquely qualified to produce this collection, given its resources and its eye-pleasing way of presenting sometimes-tough information. Nearly every page is brimful of color, loaded with pictures and schematics attractively presented, and replete with information on the latest products changing our lives.
The Catalog's four sections cover Our Tools, Our Lives, Our Society, and Our Planet. The tools of tomorrow include the cyberglove, which remotely controls a robot arm that does whatever the user's hand does; cellular robots to cruise the bloodstream looking for viruses; and techniques to create your own avatar. Our future lives will include artificial organs, telemedicine, hyperinstruments for composers, and reusable electronic paper.
Futurists looking for a little less glitz will find articles taking a more serious tack on more serious subjects, including war, education, health care, and cosmic loneliness. Also included are "horizons essays" by noted visionaries such as Clement Bezold of the Institute for Alternative Futures, Christine Peterson of the Foresight Institute, SETI's Frank Drake, and Paul Saffo of the Institute for the Future.
Though the emphasis is on gadgetry, the Catalog doesn't shortchange the reader on social and other conditions that gave rise to its showcased products, nor their likely place in our future--in short, genuine trend analysis that is easily accessible. And if you want more information, either on the product or the trend, most sections list relevant Web sites.
Taken altogether, this is a great collection of great information, nicely combining entertainment with real futuring.
[Reviewed in THE FUTURIST July-August 2003]
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