Soonish Book Summary - Soonish Book explained in key points
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Soonish summary

Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith

Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything

4.4 (36 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

'Soonish' by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith explores the tantalizing technology on the horizon and the potential problems and benefits they have for society. The book offers an insightful and humorous look into the future of science, from robot swarms to virtual reality.

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    Developments in space exploration are hindered by the cost of getting to space.

    Given that the first moon landing happened way back in 1969, you may feel disappointed that so little progress has since been made when it comes to getting humans further into space.

    But the reality is, building rockets and launching them into space is an expensive business, which is why scientists are looking into cheaper methods of space exploration.

    One such method is sort of like using a really big elevator. Imagine a giant cable stretching from a mobile sea platform on Earth all the way to a giant asteroid in orbit. It could be used to send cargo, passengers and spacecraft back and forth, eliminating the need for all that expensive and explosive rocket fuel.

    Sounds good, right? However, there is currently no material that is both strong enough and light enough to make a space elevator a reality – though scientists are still eagerly looking into this idea.

    Another potentially less expensive method is the spaceplane.

    Spaceplanes would use two different kinds of engines. The first would use a combination of air and fuel to create a high-pressure force powerful enough to propel the plane out of the Earth’s atmosphere. Then, because there isn’t any air in space, the spaceplane would need to switch to a more traditional rocket engine that uses normal propellant. This would be cheaper than the current method where the rocket has to carry enough expensive oxidizer to power the rocket engine all the way into space.

    Another important part of making space travel affordable could be asteroid mining. This has the potential to provide cheap materials that could be sent back to Earth, or used for building the settlements on other planets.

    The US-based company Tethers Unlimited has already proposed a system for capturing asteroids. It essentially works like a space net, and they’ve called it “the Wrangler.”

    It would allow us to trap an asteroid in a net, and then to use that asteroid as a base of operations for a settlement. We could also theoretically drag it elsewhere to create colonies in space or to mine its resources; from what we already know about the main types of asteroids, water, metal and oxygen can be extracted from them.

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    What is Soonish about?

    Soonish (2017) explores transformative technologies that will emerge in the future, from space exploration to brain-to-computer interfaces, and the ongoing real-world efforts undertaken to make them a reality today. For each technology explored, Kelly and Zach Weinersmith consider its current status, the primary concerns and the effect each technology is likely to have on the world as we know it.

    Soonish Review

    Soonish (2017) by Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith takes readers on an enlightening journey into the future, exploring the scientific advancements that will shape our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers fascinating insights into cutting-edge technologies, from space colonization to genetic engineering, drawing readers into a world of possibilities.
    • Examines scientific concepts with humor and wit, making complex topics accessible and captivating.
    • Explores the ethical dilemmas and social implications of future technologies, prompting thought-provoking discussions and raising important questions.

    Best quote from Soonish

    Youre probably better off having robots build your Martian homes radiation shield than doing it yourself.

    —Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith
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    Who should read Soonish?

    • Students of science and technology
    • Science-fiction enthusiasts
    • Readers curious about theoretical science

    About the Author

    Dr. Kelly Weinersmith works in the BioSciences department at Rice University, and is the cohost of Science . . . Sort Of, a top-rated science podcast. Her research has been featured in the Atlantic, National Geographic and BBC World.

    Zach Weinersmith is the creator of the popular webcomic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. His work has also been featured in a variety of publications, including the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, Slate and Forbes.

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    Soonish FAQs 

    What is the main message of Soonish?

    The main message of Soonish is that the future holds endless possibilities for technological advancements and innovation.

    How long does it take to read Soonish?

    The reading time for Soonish varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Soonish a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Soonish is a fascinating read for anyone interested in the future of technology and its potential impact on our lives.

    Who is the author of Soonish?

    The authors of Soonish are Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith.

    What to read after Soonish?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Soonish, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Leading with Light by Jennifer Mulholland
    • Practically Radical by William C. Taylor
    • AI Superpowers by Kai-Fu Lee
    • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    • Rocket by Michael J. Silverstein
    • 2030 by Mauro F. Guillén
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman