Human Frontiers

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What to expect

‘A fascinating book . . . Bhaskar is a reassuringly positive and often witty guide’
Observer

‘A fascinating, must-read book covering a vast array of topics from the arts to the sciences, technology to policy. This is a brilliant and thought-provoking response to one of the most critical questions of our age: how we will come up with the next generation of innovation and truly fresh ideas?’
Mustafa Suleyman, cofounder of DeepMind and Google VP

‘Have “big ideas” and big social and economic changes disappeared from the scene? Michael Bhaskar’s Human Frontiers is the best look at these all-important questions.’
Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation and The Complacent Class

‘Michael Bhaskar explores the disturbing possibility that a complacent, cautious civilization has lost ambition and is slowly sinking into technological stagnation rather than accelerating into a magical future. He is calling for bold, adventurous innovators to go big again. A fascinating book’
Matt Ridley, author of How Innovation Works

Where next for humanity? Is our future one of endless improvement in all areas of life, from technology and travel to medicine, movies and music? Or are our best years behind us?

It’s easy to assume that the story of modern society is one of consistent, radical progress, but this is no longer true: more academics are researching than ever before but their work leads to fewer breakthroughs; innovation is incremental, limited to the digital sphere; the much-vaunted cure for cancer remains elusive; space travel has stalled since the heady era of the moonshot; politics is stuck in a rut, and the creative industries seem trapped in an ongoing cycle of rehashing genres and classics.

The most ambitious ideas now struggle. Our great-great-great grandparents saw a series of transformative ideas revolutionise almost everything in just a few decades. Today, in contrast, short termism, risk aversion, and fractious decision making leaves the landscape timid and unimaginative.

In Human Frontiers, Michael Bhaskar draws a vividly entertaining and expansive portrait of humanity’s relationship with big ideas. He argues that stasis at the frontier is the result of having already pushed so far, taken easy wins and started to hit limits. But new thinking is still possible. By adopting bold global approaches, deploying cutting edge technology like AI and embracing a culture of change, we can push through and expand afresh.

Perfect for anyone who has wondered why we haven’t gone further, this book shows in fascinating detail how the 21st century could stall – or be the most revolutionary time in human history.

Critics Review

  • A fascinating, must-read book covering a vast array of topics from the arts to the sciences, technology to policy. This is a brilliant and thought-provoking response to one of the most critical questions of our age: how we will come up with the next generation of innovation and truly fresh ideas?

    Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder, DeepMind; Google VP
  • Have ‘Big Ideas’ and big social and economic changes disappeared from the scene? Michael Bhaskar’s HUMAN FRONTIERS is the best look at these all-important questions

    Tyler Cowen, author of THE GREAT STAGNATION and THE COMPLACENT CLASS
  • Michael Bhaskar explores the disturbing possibility that a complacent, cautious civilisation has lost ambition, and is slowly sinking into technological stagnation, rather than accelerating into a magical future. He is calling for bold, adventurous innovators to go big again. A fascinating book

    Matt Ridley, author of HOW INNOVATION WORKS
  • Michael Bhaskar deftly delivers big ideas about big ideas … HUMAN FRONTIERS is an admiring stroll through the history of ideas and an impressive display of innovation erudition

    Safi Bahcall, author of LOONSHOTS: NURTURE THE CRAZY IDEAS THAT WIN WARS, CURE DISEASES, AND TRANSFORM INDUSTRIES
  • Michael Bhaskar’s HUMAN FRONTIERS is a greatly welcome contrast to both doom-and-gloom and overly boosterish views of humanity’s future. It combines a masterful breadth of social perspective with an impressive grasp of our problems and potential solutions. Visionary and convincing

    Christine Peterson, co-founder, Foresight Institute
  • Bhaskar wants us to believe that big ideas, sometimes seized upon in an instant, propel humankind’s progress. The thesis is boldly and elegantly stated; the examples work in its favor. This important book demands our answer

    Margaret C. Jacob, University of California, Los Angeles

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