Book Review: Where will Man Take Us? by Atul Jalan

Book Review

About the Author: Atul Jalan, a technologist, futurist, and an entrepreneur, is the Founder-CEO of the AI venture, Manthan. His pioneer book is Where Will Man Take Us?, a result of his eternal love for the field of technology. A science storyteller with a vision of the world, Atul captures the confluence of man and science in one frame through his very first book. 

Where Will Man Take Us? traverses the readers through the previously known, ‘sci-fi’ world, which is presently just ‘sci’! Starting from the foundation of evolution, till the merging of technology with biology, Atul, a brilliant storyteller himself, tells the story of science, loading the readers’ minds with a salient list of events – past, present and future. The snippet stories, loaded with facts from history and possibilities of the future is indeed intriguing. The budding interest as a child and considering Alan Turing as his hero, Atul provides an inspiring view of science, for those who dreaded the subject. Another interesting fact about the book is that Atul starts his stories not by mentioning the year it happened but by mentioning how long before it happened, giving an enriching experience to the story lovers. 

The book is a combination of stories and descriptions that finally paves the way for the merging of technology with biology, which the author opines, has endless possibilities. In each of the five sections, Atul cuts down the complex science jargons and events. Though not chronological, each section covers the step-by-step evolution of AI in collaboration with Nanotechnology and genetic engineering. One of the intriguing event, connecting the yesterday and today by Atul, captures how Jobs-Wozniak tributes Turing with their apple logo, the legendary urban tale revolving around the suicide of Turing, leaving a half-bitten apple beside. Like similar events being explained humorously, the book takes one on a magical ride into the world of science.

To gather all in one place, the book carries a simple yet engaging language giving the readers a world view of science. Starting from the earliest evolution evidence, capturing inch by inch progression of it, the book ends with a sceptical note on whether humans will become immortal or see the dark side of extinction. The one thing missing from the framework is examples from the Indian context. As a reader traverses through the writing of an Indian author, the expectation of relating to proximal aspects will be high. Though there are a few, the examples or instances are mostly international.

Here, are some pointers about the book and for why it is a must-read:

  • A comprehensive piece of art from which one can gauge the evolution, history, and future of science.
  • This is for non-science readers: You are going to understand every bit of information provided here. Promise!
  • For those of whom loves story being told the traditional way, hear ye! here ye!
  • A one-source for understanding the effect of confluence of technology with social, economic and political scenarios.
  • Although it covers some deep areas of AI, Nanotechnology and Quantum Computing, the book is a simple read narrated with tons of examples, anecdotes, and stories to relish.  
  • Never the least, to all the sci-fi lovers out there, this is one gem of a book! 

Overall, the book is a dictionary, or more of a ‘tech’ictionary which one can refer to for any significant event that has happened, happening or going to happen in the field of science, technology, and AI. The book very much deserves the title of ‘Good Read’!

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