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The full title is ``SOONISH: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything'', and I learned of the book by reading the WWW comic strip maintained by one of the authors; I noticed the book whilst browsing a store one day and decided to purchase it as a way to support the comic strip.

The book naturally shares a website with the comic.

The prose is obviously from the last decade, for reasons I mention not, and varies from disgustingly grating to clever; it becomes less grating as the book progresses, however, and occasionally made me chuckle. The highlights of the book are usually the little comic panels interspersed throughout it.

The covered topics include space travel, asteroid mining, fusion power, programmable matter, robotic construction, augmented reality, synthetic biology, precision medicine, bioprinting, and then brain-computer interfaces. The book gives these topics depth, and I did learn some interesting facts from it, but this can't eliminate the feelings of futility present in reading such a book; it's certainly ``pop science'' and the authors regularly admit their ignorance, compared to the experts whom they'd interviewed, and the simplifications taken in the writing. Still, it's not a bad way to spend time.

The chapter which most surprised me was that covering programmable matter. I expected nonsense from it and no more, but learned about interesting research done in building swarms of small robots which are designed to interlock with each other, and about so-called ``origami robots''. From the chapter covering synthetic biology, I learned how the CRISPR-Cas9 mechanism can edit DNA. The chapter about precision medicine has a section on the potential dangers of gene editing, and was rather prescient.

Follows are some of the more amusing quotes:

But now say you've got mammoth DNA. Well, DNA doesn't just spontaneously turn into a full-grown animal. If it did, there'd be a lot more teen fathers.
We express no moral qualms about opening the skulls of Wall Street traders.
But say you don't just want to fix problems--you want to make a healthy brain better. That's easy. Exercise, eat right, lower your stress, and study harder.
Nah, just kidding. Can we improve your lazy-ass brain with computers? The answer is maybe.
You know how as a kid you had this fear that you'd look in the mirror and someone else would be inside it? What if we could have that for real?!

I very easily recommend this book, especially to one who would want a book to review on his website.