Glenn Reynolds | Al Gore Dreams of Electric Jeeps

There have always been two Al Gores. There is techno-enthusiast Al, who, during his 2000 run for president, proposed that an online network ("G-Bay") be used to auction off surplus government property. I found techno-enthusiast Al beguiling when I was researching manned Mars missions for his 1988 presidential campaign. But there is also Savonarola Al, who loudly denounces the excesses of modern capitalist society and demands repentance—though, given Mr. Gore’s lucrative commercial dalliances (most recently, the sale of his Current TV network to the repressive, oil-rich Qatari regime), perhaps Jimmy Swaggart would be a closer clerical model than Savonarola.

Each of the two Als takes a star turn in "The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change." In the end, alas, Savonarola Al comes out on top.

Techno-enthusiast Al has a wide range of interests. He thus provides a survey of all sorts of forward-looking developments, ranging from robotics and nanotechnology to artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. Though the ground he covers will be familiar to readers of futurists like Ray Kurzweil and James Miller, there is value in having so much advanced thinking summarized for the general reader. And many of the problems that Mr. Gore identifies are, in fact, genuine problems.


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