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How bright is the world's future?

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A new book from the Economist out this week argues strongly that we can look forward to a world that in coming decades will be richer, healthier, more connected, more sustainable, more innovative, better educated, and with less inequality between rich and poor and between men and women.

Daniel Franklin, co-editor of Megachange: The World in 2050 and business affairs editor at the Economist, told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that "the Armageddon industry makes a lot of noise... but underestimates our ability to adapt and be inventive".

He added that we also adapt to any dangers that new technologies may bring.

But Dr Anders Sandberg, James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, said that while "the future looks pretty bright" there are "dark shadows" because technologies to improve the world also bring fears such as security worries over advances in sharing technology and bio-weapons coming out of bio-technology meant to feed us and bring us new sources of energy.

On the world's reliance on oil, Daniel Franklin said that enormous progress had been made in bringing down the cost of solar energy and new forms of gas, adding that we should "look head on at risks" but we also need a corrective to look at the bigger picture.

Dr Sandberg agreed that it was "a great thing" more people have risen to wealth through emerging global economies.

It means we will have "more and brighter minds in the world", he said, "so we are going to be better at solving things".


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