IDEA Collider | Pharma Book Club | Jane Metcalfe

Jane Metcalfe is the founder and CEO of NEO.LIFE. She is probably best known as the cofounder (with Louis Rossetto) of Wired magazine, the legendary media company that wrote the first draft of the history of the digital revolution. Under…


Jane Metcalfe is the founder and CEO of NEO.LIFE. She is probably best known as the cofounder (with Louis Rossetto) of Wired magazine, the legendary media company that wrote the first draft of the history of the digital revolution. Under Jane and Louis’s leadership, the magazine grew to an internationally renowned brand and a diversified media company featuring U.S., U.K., and Japanese editions, a book division, and a television show. In addition, Wired launched HotWired, the first online original content featuring Fortune 500 advertising, inventing the advertising banner along the way. There was also HotBot, which at the time was the fastest search engine in the world. The Webbys recently acknowledged Jane and Louis with a Lifetime Achievement Award for their vision and impact.

After selling the company to Condé Nast and Lycos, Jane served as president of TCHO Chocolate which got her thinking about the effects of theobromine on the brain and heart, sacred plants, nutraceuticals, organic farming, food systems, etc. When family members experienced mental illness and the diseases of aging, she turned her attention to health matters, researching the latest science and technologies that can alter the course of those diseases.

25 Visions for the Future of Our Species
We now have the tools to transform ourselves and our species. Greater health and longevity, enhanced brains, and engineered fertility are in the works. What’s just over the horizon is even more astonishing. We call this the neobiological frontier.

The book is a collection of 25 essays, interviews, and works of fiction and art offering a big-picture perspective on the profound changes made possible by the merging of biology and technology. The book brings together today’s smartest and most creative inventors, thinkers, and scientists to tell us their vision of the future.

This book is a 2020 time capsule for future humans.

Neo.Life: 25 Visions for the Future of Our Species covers these powerful new biotechnologies and ideas in non-technical language, with beautiful full-color images and a fresh design by National Design Award winner Jennifer Morla. This book makes a compelling foundation for the discussions we’ll be having about these technologies for years to come, and as one observer said, it is definitely coffee table worthy, no matter which planet that table is on.

Meet George Church, one of the most prodigious bioengineers of our time, in conversation with Ramez Naam, a computer scientist, clean tech investor, and science fiction author. George maintains a list of genes that could be edited to make humans healthier or more suited to future environmental conditions, including life off-planet. He’s also got an idea to send a single-cell biological probe to faraway worlds that could be programmed to beam information back to Earth.

Consider neuroscientist David Eagleman’s ideas about how embryo selection could change the way we parent our children.

Dive into an imagined future with inventor Danny Hillis as he guides you through the possibilities and pitfalls of designing your child from scratch using gene editing technology. Will you “supersize” them, or give them an extra appendage? If you bestow a color or pattern, keep in mind that it might be trendy today but look dated 10 years from now.

Discover filmmaker and artist Lynn Hershman Leeson’s ideas about identity in her antibody-as-art project that will change how you think about life-science technologies.

Hear from Osh Agabi, the Swiss-Nigerian roboticist-neuroscientist who’s built a brain on a chip, literally blending silicon and neurons. He envisions using his technology to allow us to connect our consciousnesses together in a sort of giant empathy web.

Read Juan Enriquez, who has been thinking and writing about self-directed evolution for a long time. In his creative brief, he imagines a future with a far greater diversity of human species, and considers the implications.

Ponder the risks and ethical implications of this new frontier with CRISPR scientist and film producer Samira Kiani, who outlines the safety checks she’s developing to control gene edits. And hear from biosecurity policy expert Megan Palmer, who shares how her experiences led to social responsibility programs for synthetic biologists.

Designed by Jennifer Morla
Hardcover, 7 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches
160 pages, 25 color illustrations
Smyth sewn, with silver Litho foil-stamped cover

Contributors: Oshiorenoya Agabi, Christina Agapakis, Siranush Babakhanova, Seth Bannon, George Church, Emma Conley, Zoe Cormier, Zack Denfeld, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, David Eagleman, Juan Enriquez, Kristen Fortney, Joel Garreau, Daisy Ginsberg, Danny Hillis, Samira Kiani, Cathrine Kramer, Becky Lyon, Hannu Rajaniemi, Lux Alptraum, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Ramez Naam, Megan Palmer, Nicola Patron, Robert Plomin, Steve Ramirez, Sissel Tolaas, Bowen Zhao, Changle Zhou.

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