An enjoyable read on emerging technologies from engineer turned tech investor Guy Perelmuter
We often look to the past far more than we look ahead. We gaze longingly at loves lost, days gone by, and decisions we could have made differently.
Choices we make, consciously or otherwise, greatly impact our future – the smallest steps can have the most profound consequences later down the line.
Is the same true for our technological decisions? Yes, argues Guy Perelmuter, founder of deep tech venture capital firm GRIDS. In his new book, Present Future: Business, Science, and the Deep Tech Revolution, Perelmuter details how technology has been shaping the world for thousands of years – and where it could lead.
The title covers a plethora of topics including advances in education, printing, and health, and dives deep into emerging fields like AI, quantum computing, and nanotechnology.
Perelmuter outlines the subjects he covers in prose that's accessible and straightforward – breezing through microprocessors, digital storage, and robotics, while also explaining the historical context and societal impact of these technologies.
The topics outlined in the title are supported by a veritable smorgasbord of graphs, tables, and images.
As far as AI goes, Perelmuter has praise for voice-driven and productivity applications, but suggests that “questions remain” as to whether a machine can master the subtleties of non-technical translation and the interpretation of human emotions.
The chapter on AI includes a fascinated section on ‘doing the right thing’ — defining the best way of using intelligent techniques in products, rather than adding them for the sake of adding them.
For avid gamers, Perelmuter’s chapter on video games is a noteworthy highlight, with the author detailing major advancements in the space – from game development to esports, and beyond.
Another section of the book expertly breaks down the works of Peter Shor, Claude Shannon, and Roman Ingarden, who established the foundations of modern quantum computing.
Perelmuter’s work has already garnered praise – the Brazilian edition was awarded the Best Science Book of 2020 in the annual Jabuti Prize.
Google Ventures and Calico founder Bill Maris described it as “a fascinating, expert look at the history of the key technological advances affecting life today.” MIT associate professor Fadel Adib sid it was a “tour de force of technologies that are defining the present and questions that will shape the future, beautifully interweaved with historical narratives spanning science, fiction, and philosophy.”
While a sizable read, the book flows quite quickly – but can lag around concepts if a reader is already familiar with them; there’s the seldom sprinkling of obvious statements, but these tend to be used to lurch into more detailed topics at intriguing depths.
Present Future: Business, Science, and the Deep Tech Revolution is available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million.