Books by Owen Davies

Released: June 12, 1997

Here's the latest effort by two science writers who've made a career of forecasting the future of science and technology. Cetron and Davies (Crystal Globe, 1991) set themselves the comparatively modest goal of looking perhaps two decades ahead- -although they are quite aware that even that limited time frame can bring major surprises, many of them nasty. But while the authors urge appropriate caution, they nonetheless foresee a rosy future. The computer explosion will continue, with tomorrow's desktop machines rivaling today's most advanced models in sheer power; the Internet, its speed enhanced by fiber-optic technology, will put the full resources of the Library of Congress or the programs of hundreds of cable TV networks in every home that can afford them. Transportation will dramatically improve, led by the revival of railroads in the US and by the development of supersonic transports that will put any spot on earth within a couple of hours of any other. And all this progress can take place without endangering the environment—in fact, the authors expect science to figure out a way to repair the Antarctic ozone hole and reverse global warming. Part of the process will be the movement of polluting industries into orbit, where accidents can be isolated from vulnerable populations. Much of this sounds as if the authors expect Murphy's Law to be repealed by Congress, followed by the voluntary retirement of every corner-cutting CEO in the industrial world. While many of the predictions in this book will undoubtedly come true, there is no telling which ones; and there is even less foretelling the side effects of even the tamest of predictions. It would be nice if everything worked out as the authors hope; but the prudent traveler into the future will be prepared to abandon his luggage more than once on the way to the year 2020. (Author tour) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 22, 1991

Not wholly convincing predictions of how the globe will coalesce into the ``New World Order,'' in which nations will ``cede sovereignty for the global good,'' resulting in interlocked trade for North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim, and likely starvation for those Third World nations with nothing left to sell. Cetron (Educational Renaissance, 1991; American Renaissance, 1989, coauthored with Davies) and Davies endorse, more or less, this New World Order: ``The world will be a more peaceful and prosperous place...because the rules by which it is governed have changed.'' To predict its course, they survey the present state and likely future of every region in the world, and then trace the probable route by which world government will replace national prerogatives. Although Cetron and Davies discuss social, political, and environmental concerns, their main interest is economics, and most countries are evaluated on how much hospitality they are likely to offer to the big-business agenda of building the global economy. Among the more startling predictions: Japan will lose its edge and within ten years not be among the top ten economies; Canada will lose Quebec to independence, then become part of the US; a unified Europe will enjoy the world's strongest economy; stock exchanges and multinational headquarters will shift from New York to Washington; and have-not nations will be doomed to starvation unless they offer natural resources or guarantee extremely cheap labor to foreign businesses. Backed by only cursory analysis and little documentation, Cetron and Davies's guesses—sometimes thrilling, sometimes chilling—are, in the end, only as good as anyone's. Read full book review >